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The violoncello is played seated, with the instrument upright between the musician’s knees. It might seem, therefore, that the violoncello’s nearest ancestor would be the Renaissance instrument called viola da gamba (“viol for the leg,” meaning that it was held upright when played). But the violoncello, like the violin and viola, is related to the viola da braccio (“viol for the arm”). These instruments share common features in form and construction, depite being held differently for playing. An endpin or spike – an innovation from the late 18th century – allows the violoncello to be comfortably balanced on the floor. In the baroque era, however, players made do without this useful addition.