The second half of the 16th century was the time of a very prominent maker of string instruments in Padova, Italy. Wendelin Tieffenbrucker was only one of the members of a well known family of lute makers in and around Venice of the 16th century. Their instruments were regarded as more modern and advanced than the ones from the Füssen area in Germany. Most of his remaining instruments are lutes of various sizes, but the "Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna" has an interesting lira da gamba or lirone in its collection.
Having had the chance to examine and measure the
instrument in the Vienna collection, I decided to make a copy of the
lirone. The head on the Viennese instrument is very simple and
not as ornate as the rest of the instrument, which is why I chose to use the
head of a lirone depicted in a 16th century Italian painting.
Along one of the ancient trade routes between the North and the South of Europe lies a small town called Brescia. Before Cremona, only 20 miles south of Brescia, became the capital of violin making, Brescia was made famous by the Bertolotti dal Salo family. Gasparo, regarded by some as the inventor of the violin, and his son had a thriving business making instruments. One of the surviving instruments of Francesco, the son of Gasparo, can still be seen in the Instrument Collection of the Leipzig Museum in Germany. As the head of the instrument has not survived I chose to use iconographic evidence of a lirone head again.
Josef Haydn not only wrote a great deal of music for the Prince Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, Austria, he also played the bayrtone himself. The instrument he was supposed to have played belongs to the Gesellschaft der Wiener Musikfreunde, and is displayed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The instrument is still in playing condition and provides a solid foundation for copies.