The term violone ([vjoˈloːne]; literally "large viol" in Italian, "-one" being the augmentative suffix) can refer to several distinct large, bowed musical instruments which belong to either the viol or violin family.[1][2] The violone is sometimes a fretted instrument, and may have six, five, four, or even only three strings. The violone is also not always a contrabass instrument. In modern parlance, one usually tries to clarify the 'type' of violone by adding a qualifier based on the tuning (such as "G violone" or "D violone") or on geography (such as "Viennese violone"), or by using other terms that have a more precise connotation (such as "bass violin", "violoncello", or "bass viol"). The term violone may be used correctly to describe many different instruments, yet distinguishing among these types can be difficult, especially for those not familiar with the historical instruments of the viol and violin families and their respective variations in tuning.

Some early double basses were conversions of existing violones. This 1640 painting shows a bass violone being played.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Violone, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.