The Contraguitar or Schrammelgitarre

A 19th century instrument used to accompany dance music


The “Contraguitar” or “Schrammelgitarre” is a two-neck guitar. The first neck has frets and six strings like in a normal guitar. The second neck is fretless and sustains a number – variable from six to nine – of low-tuned strings.

Developed in Vienna around 1850, it was mainly used to accompany Central European dance music (in particular it’s an obbligato instrument in Viennese “Schrammelmusik” ensembles). The  12-string instrument that will be used by Federico Marincola for the performance on next 5 December of the Il Teatro della Memoria classical instruments ensemble is a late 19th century original made by Schiller (see photo above).

In the video, an ensemble with Schrammelgitarre.

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