from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A six-stringed musical instrument of the nineteenth century, fretted and tuned like a guitar but bowed like a cello.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small six-stringed violoncello, invented by Staufer of Vienna in 1823, having a body shaped somewhat like that of a guitar: hence also called guitar-violoncello.
Director/violinist/violist Julian Rachlin played the role of the solo arpeggione (a long-obsolete cello-guitar hybrid) on the viola with warmth and the sort of lyricism so intrinsic to Schubert's music.
The chance to hear Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata played on an actual arpeggione, which it virtually never is, is an instant enticement here, but listener beware: this recording is very out of tune.
As heard here, the arpeggione is more pungent in tone than the cello (which more often than not replaces it in this work), higher in pitch, wider ranged, and less homogeneous in sound from one string to the next.