The arpeggione, a six-string, fretted, bowed instrument, was invented in the early 19th century. Often referred to as a “bowed guitar”, the arpeggione was capable of producing pure, lovely and haunting sounds. The only popular work written for this instrument, the Sonata for Arpeggione and Pianoforte, was composed by Franz Schubert, in 1824. Unfortunately, the arpeggione met its demise as an instrument rather quickly, fading into obscurity just a few decades after it was introduced.
By 1827, Schubert himself had passed on, yet his work was quickly discovered by cellists, violists, and even wind instrumentalists. Schubert’s publisher, Anton Diabelli, who himself had written a violin transcription of the work, somehow had never published it, in any form. However, its rich and wistful melodies were a favorite of violists and cellists, and by 1871 the first editions were published in Vienna. It has remained a beloved favorite in the repertoire ever since.
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