The baryton is a stringed instrument, played with a bow like a cello. It is fitted with six strings which supply the melody, and a series of wire strings at the back, which are either plucked with the left thumb or allowed to vibrate freely as the instrument is played.

This example is dated 1686, and was made by Joachim Tielke (1641-1719) of Hamburg, who made a large number of stringed instruments, highly sought after by royalty and nobility. The most famous baryton composer was Josef Haydn (1732-1809) who wrote a large number of pieces for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy (1714-1790), a Hungarian nobleman and an enthusiastic baryton player.