|—n , pl -bos|
|music an obsolete form of the lute, having two necks, one above the other, the second neck carrying a set of unstopped sympathetic bass strings|
|[C17: from Italian teorba, probably from Venetian, variant of tuorba travelling bag, ultimately from Turkish torba bag]|
large bass lute, or archlute, used from the 16th to the 18th century for song accompaniments and for basso continuo parts. It had six to eight single strings running along the fingerboard and, alongside them, eight off-the-fingerboard bass strings, or diapasons. Both sets of strings had separate pegboxes connected by an S curve in the instrument's neck. On 18th-century theorbos all but the two top courses of strings were double.
Learn more about theorbo with a free trial on Britannica.com.