Not many places are privileged to have a musical instrument with its namesake, such as is the case of Amarante and the ‘viola amarantina’; indeed, the object is deeply linked to the city’s popular musical expression. In its morphology, the viola is similar to the ‘viola braguesa’, measures about 90cm long and can be recognized mainly by its “mouth” shaped as two hearts and by its profusely decorated body.
This singular guitar was widely used in the beginning of the 20th century, accompanying rural daily life and popular and religious parties and festivities. However, on the second half of that century, the usage of the ‘viola amarantina’ gradually declined, especially during the 1980s and 1990s.
Fortunately, the last decade has seen a revival of the ‘viola amarantina’ that saved this important element of local culture from totally disappearing, mainly thanks to initiatives by Amarante’s local associations, such as Propagode, which has promoted and worked for the valorization of practice, teaching and construction technique of this musical instrument.