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Vihuela

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Vihuelaplayer.jpg
A minstrel playing a vihuela. Most vihuelas are much smaller than the engraving suggests.

Vihuela is the name of two string instruments, one from Spain and one from Mexico.

Contents

The Spanish vihuela

The Spanish vihuela looks like a small, delicate 12-string guitar with gut or nylon strings. It was invented during the Renaissance, but today is in use only for the performance of early music, usually with modern replicas of historical instruments. In Italy and Portugal it was known as a viola, though that term is only used for an unrelated instrument today.1 The vihuela was in common use in the 15th and 16th centuries, but was replaced by the guitar shortly thereafter.

The Spanish vihuela's twelve stings are paired to form six courses. The courses are usually tuned like a 6-course lute, with intervals fourth – fourth – major third – fourth – fourth. Smaller vihuelas were sometimes tuned to sound notes of a triad instead, e.g. G-B-d-g-b-d'.

The first composer to publish a collection of music for the vihuela was the Spanish composer Luis de Milán, with his big book Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro of 1536. The notation of the music in this book is tablature, and all the music is easily performed on the guitar.

The Mexican vihuela

The Mexican vihuela looks like a small 5-string guitar. It was also invented in the Renaissance, and survives today as an instrument used in mariachi bands. It is tuned to a-d'-g'-b-e.

Notes

Note 1: The words vihuela and viola appear to be etymologically related.

References

  • Blattman, Erica et al. (2002). "Mariachi Embraced in Our World (http://parentseyes.arizona.edu/msw/mariachi/mariachi.html)". Retrieved April 23, 2005.

External links

Discography

  • Delphin (http://www.gyremusic.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=30) (with Vihuela sound samples)
  • Fuenllana: Vihuela Music (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000JP9U)
  • Milán, Narváez (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000149L)

de:Vihuela fr:Vihuela it:Vihuela fi:Vihuela

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