Tremoloa Documents Archive

An archive devoted to propagating a better understanding and appreciation of the tremoloa.

Edouard Brooks

Original Documents

Terms and Conditions

Please realize I, Edouard Brooks, am scanning these in the hopes of allowing others to enjoy the tremoloa's original documents, future research, and methods. My goal is to expand the repertoire and reputation of the instrument; I do not mean to infringe on any Copyrights. If I have violated any, please contact me immediately and I will take them down as soon as possible. Thank you!


  1. tremoloa (plural tremoloas) IPA: /ˈtreɪmoʊloʊwə/
  2. tremolist (performer) IPA: /ˈtreɪmoʊlɪst/
A minor issue that I've encountered is how exactly to pronounce the instrument's name. Acknowledging the fact it was made to emulate the Hawaiian steel guitar sounds, I turn towards its Italian root "tremolo" and Hawaiian phonology: [ˈtreːmolo] and Hawaiian "oa" [owə] (as in Loa). (Note: as this is in English, I will use [oʊ] instead of [o]. Similarly, [eː] becomes [eɪ]) Hence, tremoloa would be pronounced as [ˈtreɪmoʊloʊwə] with plural [ˈtreɪmoʊloʊwəs] (tremoloas). Further, I propose adopting the conventions of violist and cellist: a tremoloa performer would be a tremolist [ˈtreɪmoʊlɪst].


As I continue to practice the instrument, I will be expanding my repertoire and posting PDF copies of pieces I either played on or arranged for the tremoloa. Current repertoire:
  1. Camille Saint-Saëns's "The Swan", arranged for tremoloa.
  2. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier's "Rondeau Gracieusement" (1st voice), for épinette des vosges.
Please pardon errors in my copies or arrangements of scores; I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions!



Fig. 1 - Hand position for playing.


Tuning chart (inside to outside instrument)
Melody String C4 0.013
C major 1 C3 0.066 wound
1. G3 0.038 wound
C4 0.029 wound
E4 0.018
G major 2 G2 0.082 wound
2. G3 0.038 wound
B4 0.031 wound
D4 0.018
F major 3 F2 0.088 wound
3. A3 0.036 wound
C4 0.029 wound
F4 0.018
D major 4 D3 0.064 wound
4. A3 0.036 wound
D4 0.024 wound
#F4 0.018


As the tremoloa is not in production anymore, the best option to buy a tremoloa is online or at your local antique store (surprisingly may have one hidden in its depths). Personally, I've bought all three of my tremoloas on eBay; simply search "tremoloa". Additionally, Goodwill's auction site is another fantastic resource (and often cheaper).

That said, I would be careful of both the pricing and what they offer. First, be suspicious of any tremoloa over $100; even though I see them as worth a lot, you can easily find one for $10-$50 in good state (even with original documents and, if you're lucky, an original case). Second, check it for missing parts or cracks. If it's missing strings, tuning pins, or nails, then it's a quick fix. However, if the bridges, arm, arm rests, or arm guard are missing do not buy it. At this point, the tremoloa is useless unless you want to buy a second to retrieve an arm. (Note: I saw one listed at ~$150 for months, missing almost every essential part, notably the arm.) On the other hand, if there's a crack, I'd look at the pictures closely; sometimes the cracks are small, thus not a problem (tremoloas are sturdy, just tune it properly).


Jon Natchez for a correction on the archive tuning chart. The University of Chicago for providing hosting for this page.

Edouard B Brooks, last edited on 2015-08-05.
University of Chicago
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