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On a small consort-based course it is important that everyone taking part is of a similar standard so that the consorts are satisfying for everyone to work in, and we can cover technical aspects of playing that are appropriate to everyone. To help you choose the right course for you here are some guidelines:

Which Course Is For Me?


- Relatively new players

- You do not need to have met all 6 strings of your viol, but could do with being able to

       play simple pieces in first position, rhythmically uncomplicated

- Basic fingering and bow hold in place

- Not required to hold a part on your own although could be encouraged to do so


Lower Intermediate

-      Pieces will be in first position and half position. We will help you shift between the two.

-      Most, if not all, of the consort playing will be one-to-a-part

-      We will send you more pieces in advance, in addition to the set repertoire, so not all

      other sessions will be sight reading



-      Bass players can play on all six strings, in first and half positions, moving between the two

-      Treble and tenor players need to be familiar with notes in first and half positions on the  

       top five strings even if the bottom string is a bit of a mystery...

-      Happy to play in keys of one sharp or flat, willing to try two sharps or flats

-      Has begun to use and is happy to be taught chordal fingering

-      Able to hold a part in homophonic dances, and getting to know madrigals and pieces with

      more independent parts

-      Starting to shape notes with tensioning bow hair


Upper Intermediate

-   Competent across whole range of instrument in first and half position, and up to a tone

   above the top fret

-   Happy in keys of two sharps or flats, willing to try three

-   Can play two sizes of viol, even if one is more familiar than the other

-   Able to hold a part in polyphonic madrigals and friendly fantasias

-   Bass players be happy to sometimes tune 6th string down to C

-   Able to use chordal fingering when sight-reading

-   Able to shape notes with tensioning the bow hair (messa di voce)



-  Able to play challenging notes in the left hand with out losing tone with the bow.

-  Able to play off the frets a third above the top fret, staying in position for crossing to the second string

-  Able to hold a part in complex rhythmical passage work.

-  Able to shift to and from the top fret in fast note values.

-  Able to have sufficient control of the bow to play loud with a slow bow and to shape notes.

-  Know which part of the bow to be in for different requirements, e.g. string crossing, fast notes, long notes with shape etc