Photo: UggBoy (flickr)
The 24 Violons of Versailles often play music that was in five parts. The top line was played on six violins more or less the same size as the modern violin, and six basses de violon that are larger and lower in pitch than the modern cello played the bottom line. Various sizes of viola played the middle three parts, four to a part.
The Centre de Music Baroque de Versailles has a collection of these French-style violons. We hear them in a live recording of Skip Sempé’s Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons made in Utrecht in 2010 for the Paradizo label. The sound of the violons is supplemented by woodwinds, harpsichords and theorbos.