Darracott New England Bass Viol

Darracott New England Bass Viol

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description (Brief)

This New England Bass Viol was made by William Darracott in Milford, New Hampshire, in 1829. This instrument has a four-piece table of pine, back of American maple in two pieces with faint, irregular horizontal figure, ribs of plain maple cut on 45o, plain maple neck, pegbox and scroll with four plain hardwood pegs, opaque brown varnish overall excepting the re-varnished transparent back, plain maple fingerboard and tailpiece painted black.

This instrument does not have ribs set into channeling of the edges on table and back, they are simply glued flush to the edge surfaces. The f-holes are joined to the table at the wings as is typical with New England bass viols. The fingerboard and tailpiece are original. There is an original printed label inside the instrument:

WILLIAM DARRACOTT
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
MAKER
MILFORD N.H.
1829

The modern term for this instrument is church bass. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this instrument was also known as the American bass viol, New England bass viol, or Yankee bass viol. These church basses were used in churches and meeting houses to provide a bass line for maintaining a consistent key by New England congregational singers. The church bass was also used by popular singing groups such as the Hutchinson Family singers.

Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Viol
maker
Darracott, William
place made
United States: New Hampshire, Milford
Physical Description
wood, pine (overall material)
wood, maple (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 3/4 in x 19 3/4 in x 52 3/4 in; 22.225 cm x 50.165 cm x 133.985 cm
ID Number
MI.73.41
accession number
306497
catalog number
73.41
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Charles G. Abbot
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object