Corda Music Publications – The Viol Rules ISBN 978-0-9528220-4-2


A Notebook by Alison Crum

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It is now twenty five years since Alison Crum wrote her first seminal book Play the Viol. The Viol Rules is a detailed analysis drawn from many years of teaching the viol in colleges seminars, courses and festivals around the world, updating and expanding on many of the topics first discussed in Play the Viol. The Viol Rules is not intended as a complete tutor for the viol, but rather a reflection and enlargement based on many years of teaching experience. There are multiple music examples, with explanatory text on a facing page so that technique and interpretation can be instantly cross referenced to the music. There are a number of full colour illustrations, including details taken from historical works of art, as well as humorous sketches to enliven the matters dealt with in the text.

The principal chapters are:

Basics – Holding the viol, Left hand position, Holding the bow, Moving the bow.

Bowing – Bow speed, Pressure and weight, Distance from the bridge, Starting a note, Bow changes, Bow direction, Bow distribution, Dotted notes, String crossing, Articulation, Phrasing.

Fingering – Resonance, Fingering choices, Playing in higher positions.

Music Examples – from works by Byrd, Tye, Purcell, Lawes, Jenkins, Ward, Gibbons, Holborne, Mundy, Locke, Ferabosco, Ravenscroft, Buxtehude, Marais,Telemann.

Preparing to Play - Equipment, Practising, The well-tempered consort, Solo playing

There is a list of treatises and sources, a selection of web pages to visit, a glossary of terms used and an index. 148 pages. Price £16.00 plus postage. We can give you a quote for postage when we know where to send it.


Alison Crum is internationally acknowledged as the doyenne of British viol teachers. Professor of the viol at Trinity College of Music in London for more than twenty years, and also teacher and advisor to West Dean College, she is also a visiting teacher at a number of universities and institutions worldwide. After reading music at university she went on to advanced studies on the viol with Wieland Kuijken and Jordi Savall. Well known as a concert artiste, she has made more than ninety recordings with many specialist early music groups, many of them with the Rose Consort of Viols. Corda Music publish her books of First Solos and Intermediate Solos for each size of viol, as well as her collection of Pièces de Résistance – a selection of 'naughty bits' for the bass viol drawn from the master composers of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1997, as acknowledgement for her masterly contribution to the world of the viol, she has been the invited President of the Viola da Gamba Society of Great Britain.

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Last updated 1st March 2013.