Antonio Vivaldi worked for many years at the Orphanage of the Pietà in Venice as a teacher of the three low string instruments. He enriched the repertoire of the violoncello like no other composer of his time; he was the only Italian who knew how to write idiomatically for the viola da gamba; he succeeded like no other in bringing out the special charm of the double bass accompanying alone; he paid unusual attention to the instrumentation of the basso continuo. In order to appreciate the uniqueness of this achievement and to fathom the music-historical ground on which this work could flourish, Bettina Hoffmann's study offers a comprehensive overview of the development of low string instruments in Vivaldi's time and environment. It discusses the terminology of violoncello, double bass and viola da gamba, introduces the players and their repertoire as well as instrument construction and playing technique, and addresses questions of performance practice. An overview of Vivaldi's compositions for violoncello, viola all'inglese and double bass rounds off the monograph, which evaluates many little-known sources and is based on the author's extensive knowledge of the repertoire.