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|Classification||String instrument (plucked)|
|Hornbostel–Sachs classification|| 321.322 |
The vihuela (Spanish pronunciation: [biˈwela] ) is a 15th-century fretted plucked Spanish string instrument, shaped like a guitar (figure-of-eight form offering strength and portability) but tuned like a lute. It was used in 15th- and 16th-century Spain as the equivalent of the lute in Italy and has a large resultant repertory. There were usually five or six[ citation needed ] doubled strings.
A bowed version, the vihuela de arco (arco meaning bow), was conceived in Spain and made in Italy from 1480. One consequence was the phrase vihuela de mano being thereafter applied to the original plucked instrument. The term vihuela became "viola" in Italian ("viole" in Fr.; "viol" in Eng.), and the bowed vihuela de arco was to serve as a prototype in the hands of the Italian craftsmen for the "da gamba" family of fretted bowed string instruments, as developed starting in 1480. Their vihuela-inherited frets made these easier to play in tune than the rebec family (precursors of the "da braccio" family), and so they became popular for chamber music.
The vihuela, as it was known in Spanish, was called the viola de mà in Catalan, viola da mano in Italian and viola de mão in Portuguese. The two names are functionally synonymous and interchangeable. In its most developed form, the vihuela was a guitar-shaped instrument with six double-strings (paired courses) made of gut. Vihuelas were tuned identically to their contemporary Renaissance lute; 4ths and mid-3rd (44344, almost like a modern guitar tuning, with the exception of the third string, which was tuned a semitone lower).
Plucked vihuelas, being essentially flat-backed lutes, evolved in the mid-15th century, in the Kingdom of Aragón, located in north-eastern Iberia (Spain). In Spain, Portugal, and Italy the vihuela was in common use by the late 15th through to the late 16th centuries. In the second half of the 15th century, some vihuela players began using a bow, leading to the development of the viol.
There were several different types of vihuela (or different playing methods at least):
Tunings for 6 course vihuela de mano (44344):
Although mainstream use of the vihuela has faded away, traces of the complex polyphonic music that was its repertoire in the late 16th century, along with the other primary instrument of the Spanish and Portuguese Renaissance, the cross-strung harp, both of which can be heard in Mexican Mariachi music. The vihuela's descendants that are still played are the violas campaniças of Portugal. Much of the vihuela's place, role, and function was taken up by the subsequent Baroque guitar (also sometimes referred to as vihuela or bigüela). Currently, the vihuela is in widespread use in Mexican Mariachi music, where its distinctive sound is featured in solos. Additionally, the vihuela is used for the performance of early music, using modern replicas of historical instruments. Today, instruments like the tiple are descendants of vihuelas brought to America in the 16th century.
Vihuela bodies were lightly constructed from thin flat slabs or pieces of wood, bent or curved as required. This construction method distinguished them from some earlier types of string instruments whose bodies (if not the entire instrument including the neck) were carved out from a solid single block of wood. The back and sides of common lutes were also made of pieces however, being multiple curved or bent staves joined and glued together to form a bowl, made from cypress with a spruce or cedar top.
Vihuela (and violas da gamba) were built in different sizes, large and small, a family of instruments. Duet music was published for vihuelas tuned one step, a minor third, a fourth, or a fifth apart, as well as unison tuned.
The physical appearance of vihuelas was varied and diverse; there was little standardization and no mass production. Overall and in general, vihuelas looked very similar to modern guitars. The first generation of vihuela, from the mid-15th century on, had sharp cuts to its waist, similar to that of a violin. A second generation of vihuela, beginning sometime around 1490, took on the now-familiar smooth-curved figure-eight shaped body contours. The sharp waist-cut models continued to be built into the early-to-mid-16th century, side by side with the later pattern. Many early vihuelas had extremely long necks, while others had the shorter variety. Top decoration, the number, shape, and placement, of sound holes, ports, pierced rosettes, etc., also varied greatly. More than a few styles of peg-boxes were used as well.
Vihuelas were chromatically fretted in a manner similar to lutes, by means of movable, wrapped-around and tied-on gut frets. Vihuelas, however, usually had ten frets, whereas lutes had only seven. Unlike modern guitars, which often use steel and bronze strings, vihuelas were gut strung, and usually in paired courses. Gut strings produce a sonority far different from metal, generally described as softer and sweeter. A six course vihuela could be strung in either of two ways: with 12 strings in 6 pairs, or 11 strings in total if a single unpaired chanterelle is used on the first (or highest pitched) course. Unpaired chanterelles were common on all lutes, vihuelas, and (other) early guitars (both Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars).
The first person to publish a collection of music for the vihuela was the Spanish composer Luis de Milán, with his volume titled Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro of 1536 dedicated to King John III of Portugal. The notational device used throughout this and other vihuela music books is a numeric tablature (otherwise called "lute tablature"), which is also the model from which modern "guitar tab" was fashioned. The music is easily performed on a modern guitar using either standard guitar tuning (44434), sometimes called "new lute tuning", or by retuning slightly to Classic lute and vihuela tuning (44344). The tablature system used in all these texts is the "Italian" tablature, wherein the stopped frets are indicated by numbers and the lowest line of the staff represents the highest-pitch course (or string), resembling the neck of the instrument in playing position; Milán's book also uses numbers to indicate the stopping of the courses but exceptionally it is the top line of the staff that represents the highest-pitch course, as in "French" tablature.
The printed books of music for the vihuela which have survived are, in chronological order:
There are three surviving historic vihuelas:
Modern versions of the vihuela continue to be made. Performers adept with the vihuela include the Scottish composer Robert MacKillopand the American artist Hopkinson Smith.
^ The words vihuela and viola are etymologically related.
The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the modern acoustic and electric guitars, both of which use metal strings. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth-century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid-nineteenth century.
A lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. It may be either fretted or unfretted.
The viol, viola da gamba, or informally gamba, is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed instruments with hollow wooden bodies and pegboxes where the tension on the strings can be increased or decreased to adjust the pitch of each of the strings. Frets on the viol are usually made of gut, tied on the fingerboard around the instrument's neck, to enable the performer to stop the strings more cleanly. Frets improve consistency of intonation and lend the stopped notes a tone that better matches the open strings. Viols first appeared in Spain in the mid to late 15th century and were most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque (1600–1750) periods. Early ancestors include the Arabic rebab and the medieval European vielle, but later, more direct possible ancestors include the Venetian viole and the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish vihuela, a 6-course plucked instrument tuned like a lute that looked like but was quite distinct from the 4-course guitar.
String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.
The bağlama is a stringed musical instrument.
The baryton is a bowed string instrument similar to the viol, but distinguished by an extra set of plucked strings. It was in regular use in Europe until the end of the 18th century.
A luthier is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box. The word "luthier" is originally French and comes from the French word for lute. The term was originally used for makers of lutes, but it came to be used already in French for makers of most bowed and plucked stringed instruments such as members of the violin family and guitars. Luthiers, however, do not make harps or pianos; these require different skills and construction methods because their strings are secured to a frame.
Bowed string instruments are a subcategory of string instruments that are played by a bow rubbing the strings. The bow rubbing the string causes vibration which the instrument emits as sound.
The music of Central Asia is as vast and unique as the many cultures and peoples who inhabit the region. Principal instrument types are two- or three-stringed lutes, the necks either fretted or fretless; fiddles made of horsehair; flutes, mostly open at both ends and either end-blown or side-blown; and jew harps, mostly metal. Percussion instruments include frame drums, tambourines, and kettledrums. Instrumental polyphony is achieved primarily by lutes and fiddles.
The lirone is the bass member of the lira family of instruments that was popular in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It is a bowed string instrument with between 9 and 16 gut strings and a fretted neck. When played, it is held between the legs in the manner of a cello or viol.
The citole was a string musical instrument, closely associated with the medieval fiddles and commonly used from 1200–1350. It was known by other names in various languages: cedra, cetera, cetola, cetula, cistola, citola, citula, citera, chytara, cistole, cithar, cuitole, cythera, cythol, cytiole, cytolys, gytolle, sitole, sytholle, sytole, and zitol. Like the modern guitar, it was manipulated at the neck to get different notes, and picked or strummed with a plectrum. Although it was largely out of use by the late 14th century, the Italians "re-introduced it in modified form" in the 16th century as the cetra, and it may have influenced the development of the guitar as well. It was also a pioneering instrument in England, introducing the populace to necked, plucked instruments, giving people the concepts needed to quickly switch to the newly arriving lutes and gitterns. Two possible descendant instrument are the Portuguese guitar and the Corsican Cetera, both types of cittern.
The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the 16th century. At the time the name of this family of instruments was viole da braccio which was used to distinguish them from the viol family. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and (possibly) double bass.
The gittern was a relatively small gut strung round-backed instrument that first appears in literature and pictorial representation during the 13th century in Western Europe. It is usually depicted played with a quill plectrum, as we can see clearly beginning in manuscript illuminations from the thirteenth century. It was also called the guiterna in Spain, guiterne or guiterre in France, the chitarra in Italy and Quintern in Germany. A popular instrument with court musicians, minstrels, and amateurs, the gittern is considered an ancestor of the modern guitar and other instruments like the mandore, bandurria and gallichon.
The lyra viol is a small bass viol, used primarily in England in the seventeenth century.
The Baroque guitar is a string instrument with five courses of gut strings and moveable gut frets. The first course sometimes used only a single string.
The evolution of classical guitars began with the influences of the vihuela and gittern in the sixteenth century and ended with the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.
An acoustic guitar is a musical instrument in the guitar family. Its strings vibrate a sound board on a resonant body to project a sound wave through the air. The original, general term for this stringed instrument is guitar, and the retronym 'acoustic guitar' distinguishes it from an electric guitar, which relies on electronic amplification. Typically, a guitar's body is a sound box, of which the top side serves as a sound board that enhances the vibration sounds of the strings. In standard tuning the guitar's six strings are tuned (low to high) E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.
There are many varieties of ten-string guitar, including:
The Guitarrón Chileno is a guitar-shaped plucked string instrument from Chile, with 25 or 24 (rarely) strings. Its primary contemporary use is as the instrumental accompaniment for the traditional Chilean genre of singing poetry known as Canto a lo Poeta, though a few virtuosi have also begun to develop the instrument's solo possibilities.
Lutes are stringed musical instruments that include a body and "a neck which serves both as a handle and as a means of stretching the strings beyond the body".
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