Uses: A short overview of the history of the viola and the viola d’amore. Emphasis on the evolution of the size and construction of the viola throughout its history.
Coverage: Covers the history of the viola from the first stringed instruments (c. 870) to contemporary instruments. Focus is European.
Organization: Main body is organized into four sections: the origins of the viola, the viola from the renaissance through the baroque era, the viola d’amore, and the evolution of the modern viola. Also includes a list of prominent violists in history, and repertoire lists for viola and viola d’amore.
Pros: Useful for historical information regarding construction of the viola. Includes some nice illustrations.
Cons: Repertoire list is clearly limited.
Uses: This annotated bibliography focuses on sources for the viola teacher. It is especially useful as a guide to helpful existing sources as well as identifying weaker areas of research and scholarship.
Coverage: 1911-1993. Includes 138 articles and books published in English pertaining to viola pedagogy. Historical articles are included only if they address violists as teachers.
Organization: Article is divided in two installments in the “Journal of the American Viola Society.” The first section is the commentary which discusses the criteria governing the project, research methodologies employed, and specific works included. The second section is the annotated bibliography itself.
Pros: Excellent compilation of source materials for viola pedagogues or players.
Cons: Not all entries are annotated.
Uses: An annotated bibliography of major source materials relating to the viola organized into seven categories. Useful for obtaining brief descriptions of included works as well as suggestions for further research.
Coverage: Includes approximately 500 sources from earliest extant works through 1988. Source material includes books, sections of books, encyclopedia articles, periodical articles, serials, dissertations, theses, treatises, and unpublished works. Contains mostly English sources, but also includes many foreign works as well.
Organization: Main body consists of the annotated bibliography divided into seven categories: Literature and History, Bibliographies of Compositions, Analyses of Compositions, Pedagogy, Notable Violists, Construction and Acoustics, and Miscellaneous. Includes an introduction discussing the needs, limitations, scope, annotations and research methods pertaining to this dissertation. Also contains references for further research.
Pros: Format is easy to understand and clearly explained. Includes cross references to works relating to more than one category.
Cons: Lack of index weakens this source as a reference tool.
Uses: An overview of the origin and activities of the American Viola Society. Useful for research on the Viola Congresses. Provides information on world premiers of significant new works for the viola.
Coverage: Covers the history of the American Viola Society (AVS) from its beginning (1971) through 1993, the year this volume was published. Includes information about the parent organization, Die Internationale Viola-Gesellschaft (The International Viola Society), its origins and influence/partnership with the AVS.
Organization: Main body is divided into two parts: Part one is concerned with the International Viola Society, including the AVS; part two details the proceedings of the International Viola Congresses, focusing on the North American Congresses held biannually. Several indexes are devoted to specific topics, such as Newsletters, the International Yearbook (“Die Viola”), indexes to the congresses by function, performer, composer, title and programmed literature. Also included are appendices regarding correspondence, premiers and AVS officers and award recipients.
Pros: The only printed resource devoted solely to this topic. Narrow in scope, but intentionally so. Several indexes make it a useful tool for researching articles printed in the “Journal of the American Viola Society” or for determining what repertoire was performed at any given Congress.
Note: There is also a second edition, published in 1995.
Uses: A pioneering chronicle of the viola. Useful for almost any topic related to the viola.
Coverage: Covers the history of the viola from the earliest examples to 1990 (vol. 2). Scope is international.
Organization: Volume one is organized chronologically, with the greatest emphasis on the 20th century. The text follows major developments throughout history of viola players, composers and luthiers. Volume two includes information discovered in the decade 1980-1990, and as such overlaps volume one chronologically at times. Parts two and three of volume two are devoted to recent research and history in the mentioned decade. Also included are brief biographies of prominent violists as well as a bibliography and index.
Pros: One of the most comprehensive sources on the viola, its history, literature, players and composers.
Cons: This work admittedly lacks continuity, but this is owing more to the historical facts (or lack thereof) than a lack of scholarship.