Metallica on a viola da gamba sounds absolutely phenomenal

22 August 2017, 10:52

Robert Smith - 'One' (Metallica)

Metal sounds WAY better on a viola da gamba.


By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Who knew a metal classic could sound so good on an old Renaissance string instrument?

The viola da gamba really is an underrated instrument. Also known simply as the viol, the instrument first appeared in Europe in the late 15th century – before the violin, viola and the cello. ‘Viola da gamba’ literally means ‘viol for the leg’ in Italian, which explains why they are held between the legs like a cello, rather than under the chin like a violin.

Although the viola da gamba was one of the most popular Renaissance and Baroque instruments, we don’t pay it as much attention as other members of the string family.

But this guy might be about to change all of that... Robert Smith’s arrangement of ‘One’ by Metallica has brought the viola da gamba back into the spotlight. 

This classic metal tune sounds rich and meaty on seven strings – could this bring about the return of the old Baroque instrument?



Find Robert Smith on YouTube for more videos, and buy his new recording here!

Speaking of epic classical Metallica covers… remember that time when Rachel Barton Pine played ‘One’ on her 300-year-old violin?

Watch this epic Metallica solo on the violin

See Rachel Barton Pine play Metallica's One on her 300-year-old instrument.


Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Musical abbreviations quiz asset

You won’t get 20/20 on this quiz if you don’t know your musical abbreviations

musician would you rather

This musician edition of Would You Rather is completely excruciating

greatest best man speech

Everyone is saying this pianist gave the greatest best man speech of all time