noun (plural theorbos)
A large lute with the neck extended to carry several long bass strings, used for accompaniment in 17th and early 18th century music.
- The instrumental accompaniment is improvisatory, earthy and ingenious: lute, theorbo, guitar and harp continuo, plus up to a trio of violins, viola da gamba, a cornet and a gentle sprinkling of percussion.
- Rather than a mere continuo accompaniment, the soprano Karolina Gorgol was here supported by a luscious ensemble of three strings (no viola), theorbo and guitar, harpsichord and an obligato viola da gamba, played by Ibi Aziz.
- The theorbo, lute, and guitar are particularly prominent.
Early 17th century: from Italian tiorba, of unknown origin.
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