Viola da Terra – Micaelense
The Viola da Terra, or Viola de Arame Micaelense, from the Azores island of São Miguel, was brought from the continent when the islands were first settled. The Viola da Terra thus acquired, with time, great social and cultural relevance in the lives of the inhabitants of the Azores, where it accompanies songs in several traditional festivities, and holds a privileged place in popular poetry. The soundhole usually comes in the shape of two hearts, pointing in opposite directions, that, according to a popular legend, represent the love between two people who are physically separated, yet connected by the same feeling of saudade, a word denoting melancholic yearning. As with baroque guitars, the fingerboard is flush with the top. The decorative bridge extensions depict two birds, while beneath the bridge is an inlay of either a floral or harp motif. As with nearly all violas, the bridge is in two parts: the strings run first over a thin piece of wood which acts as a floating saddle sitting directly on the soundboard, then pass through holes in the glued-on bridge, and are finally turned back and looped around pins or screws on top of the bridge. The number of screws is not necessarily the number of strings, but is usually six. It has five courses of strings in which the highest three are double and tuned in unison, while the two lowest courses are triple and tuned in octaves: A3A3A2 D4D4D3 G3 B3 D4 from low to high.