viol


viol
/vuy"euhl/, n.
a bowed musical instrument, differing from the violin in having deeper ribs, sloping shoulders, a greater number of strings, usually six, and frets: common in the 16th and 17th centuries in various sizes from the treble viol to the bass viol.
[1475-85; < MF viole (akin to OF viel(l)e > earlier E viele) < OPr viola, deriv. of violar to play the VIOLA1 (perh. imit.)]

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Bowed stringed instrument of the 16th–18th centuries.

The viols are distinguished from the violin family particularly by a fretted fingerboard, sloping shoulders, flat back, six strings, and milder tone. They exist in four sizes: treble, tenor, bass, and double bass (violone). They are played vertically, the body of the instrument being held between the legs or rested on the knee. The viol family appeared in the late 15th century and soon became widely popular and acquired a large repertory. Throughout the Baroque era, the bass viol joined the harpsichord in the basso continuo. The contemporaneous violin family, having a more penetrating tone, gradually displaced the viols in the 18th century.

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also called  viola da gamba 

      bowed, stringed musical instrument used principally in chamber music of the 16th to the 18th century. The viol shares with the Renaissance lute the tuning of its six strings (two fourths, a major third, two fourths) and the gut frets on its neck. It was made in three sizes: treble, tenor, and bass, with the bottom string tuned, respectively, to d, G (or A), and D. To these sizes was later added the violone, a double bass viol often tuned an octave below the bass.

      Viols are characterized by sloping shoulders; deep ribs; thin, flat backs; and, above all, a vertical playing position, with the bottom of the instrument resting on the knee or held between the legs—hence viola da gamba (Italian: “leg viol”). The breadth of the bridge, which was arched to give the bow separate access to each string, made forceful playing impossible, and the supine position of the bow hand, palm uppermost, encouraged a smooth playing style. The frets gave to each note the clarity of an open string—a clear, ringing, penetrating tone that was much prized.

      By the second half of the 16th century the viol acquired a significant repertory of music for ensemble, for solo bass, and for the lyra viol, a small bass viol (also called viola bastarda). But as the style of instrumental composition changed during the 17th century, an expressive, vocal sound in the soprano register was emphasized, and the tenor and treble viols declined in favour of the violin, with which they were unable to compete because their deep bodies created a hollow, nasal timbre.

      The bass viol, however, had by the mid-16th century developed a repertory of complex solo divisions, or ornate variations on a melody, often played on a small bass called a division viol. When that fashion died out in the late 1600s, the normal-sized solo bass viol, or viola da gamba (the name became synonymous with the bass viol as the other viols fell into disuse), was used in the instrumental forms of the Baroque period. Solo bass-viol playing continued in Germany and France into the 18th century. Elsewhere the bass viol survived chiefly because its sustained tone lent a pleasing support to the harpsichord. This combination, using the basso continuo, or thorough bass, technique, provided harmonic support for the Baroque instrumental ensemble. When composers in the newer Classical style began to write complete harmonies in the upper instrumental parts, the viol, deprived of its last useful function, dropped out of use altogether. In the 20th century viols were successfully revived for the performance of Renaissance and Baroque music.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • viol — viol …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • VIOL — Le viol est un acte sexuel imposé par une contrainte physique ou psychologique. C est une agression sexuelle impliquant spécifiquement une pénétration sexuelle, vaginale, anale ou orale ou pénétration par la main ou un objet. Le viol constitue un …   Wikipédia en Français

  • VIOL — Le viol est défini par l’article 222 23 du nouveau Code pénal comme «tout acte de pénétration sexuelle, de quelque nature qu’il soit, commis sur la personne d’autrui par violence, contrainte, menace ou surprise». Pour constituer le viol, trois… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • viol — VIÓL, violuri, s.n. Faptă (pedepsită de lege) comisă de bărbatul care constrânge prin forţă fizică o femeie să aibă cu el relaţii sexuale; violare. [pr.: vi ol] – Din fr. viol. Trimis de RACAI, 30.09.2003. Sursa: DEX 98  VIÓL s. v. violare.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Viol — Vi ol, n. [F. viole; cf. Pr. viola, viula, Sp., Pg., & It. viola, LL. vitula; of uncertain origin; perhaps from L. vitulari to celebrate a festival, keep holiday, be joyful, perhaps originally, to sacrifice a calf (vitulus; cf. {Veal}). Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • viol — VIOL. s. m. Violence qu on fait à une femme qu on prend par force. Le rapt & le viol sont punis de mort par les loix. on deffendit le viol & l incendie …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • viol — [vī′əl] n. [MFr viole < OProv viula < Frank * vithula < VL vitula: see FIDDLE] any of an early family of stringed instruments played with a curved bow, characterized generally by six strings, frets, a flat back, and C shaped sound holes …   English World dictionary

  • Viol — Un nom sans doute difficile à porter, et pourtant le viol est un petit chemin (du latin via = voie). Aujourd hui très rare, le nom se rencontrait dans l Est et dans le Dauphiné …   Noms de famille

  • Viöl — Viöl, Dorf im preuß. Regbez. Schleswig, Kreis Husum, an der Arlau, hat eine evang. Kirche, Pferde und Viehmärkte und (1905) 383 (als Gemeinde 2292) Einwohner …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Viol. — Viol.     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Ecclesiastical Abbreviations     ► Abbreviation in general use, chiefly Ecclesiastical     Violaceus ( Violet Breviary) The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • viol — (n.) musical instrument, late 15c., viel, from M.Fr. viole, from O.Fr., from O.Prov. viola (see VIOLA (Cf. viola)) …   Etymology dictionary


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