de Cocho

Name: Viola de Cocho
Type: Lute > Chordophone.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Region: South America.

Description: The viola de cocho is a singular plucked string instrument from Brazil. It is typical in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul and has been designated a part of Brazil’s intangible national heritage by IPHAN, the Brazilian institution responsible for the preservation of the national cultural heritage. It is unusual in that although it has only three frets at most and is left unvarnished.

Etymology: The Portuguese word cocho, used by farm labourers, refers to a hollowed-out log forming a sort of container. The cocho is widely used, for example, to provide salt for cattle on grassland farms.

Tunings: There are five individual strings on the viola de cocho; Two known tunings are used canotio solto (open) and canotio preso (stopped): bottom-up, D A D A G and D A E C G.

Construction: The viola-de-cocho is a musical instrument of the group of short lutes, produced by master craftsmen. After choosing the wood, the piece is cut the trunk into two flat parts. The wood is carved and a sounding board is applied on the surface. Once the sound board is glued, the bridge, finger board and tuning pegs are placed. Finally the frets and strings.