Pochette violins arose from the 17th and 18th centuries when dancing masters used them as a teaching aid. It was too hard to carry a violin around everywhere teachers went, so they used a Pochette violin. This would fit into a large jacket pocket when it is not in use. Although Pochette violins do not always have great tonal qualities, they were more often used because of their practicality.
They were often highly decorated. A 1647 Jacques Du Mensil Pochette violin is located in the Victoria and Albert Museum with a body made from ebony and with ebony fittings.
As the Pochette violins are smaller, they are tuned higher than normal everyday violins. It is common for a Pochette violin to be tuned a fourth above a violin, but some were tuned an octave higher.
Pochette violins have 3 or 4 strings and the body of the instrument is quite small. The finger board is relatively long to accommodate the player's hand. Such an instrument is required in Monteverdi's 1607 Orfeo.
The Pochette violin is also known by the following names.