We’re all familiar with the grand piano, the cello, the clarinet, the flute — all those modern instruments that grace stages throughout Charleston year-round, and especially during the three weeks of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto. But what about the viola da gamba or the theorbo? Piccolo Spoleto is giving these predecessors to today’s instruments the attention they deserve with the Early Music Series, which will showcase music from the Baroque period and before at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church. These are just a few of the instruments you might see on stage at one of the performances. Concerts take place May 29-June 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $21.


The bad-boy instrument of the Renaissance, the lute was associated with naughty poets and secularism.


The predecessor to the piano, a harpsichord’s strings are plucked rather than struck with hammers.

Viola da Gamba

This string instrument originated in the 15th century, probably in Venice.


The extended neck of this lute-like instrument allows for a broad bass range.

Baroque Harp

This instrument has three sets of strings, instead of one like the modern harp.

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