Skip to main content
Select Source:

viol

viol, family of bowed stringed instruments, the most important ensemble instruments from the 15th to the 17th cent. The viol's early history is indefinite, but it is recognizable in depictions from as early as the 11th cent. During the second half of the 17th cent. it lost its dominant position to the violin family and became practically extinct until the general revival of interest in early music and instruments in the 20th cent. The viol differs from the violin in the manner of playing, in its shape, and in having frets and typically six strings, tuned in fourths with one third, rather than in fifths. Most viols are properly played upright, resting on or between the knees, with the bow held with the palm upward. The viol usually has sloping shoulders, a flat back, and deeper ribs than the violin. It is a chamber instrument with a soft, sweet tone, incapable of the dynamic extremes and brilliance of the violin; this helps to account for its decline. The viol was built in four principal sizes—treble, alto, tenor, and bass—which were used in ensemble, or "consort." The double-bass viol, or violone, survived all the others, becoming, with some modification, the present double bass. The bass viol was the principal solo instrument of the family, possessing a large literature from the 16th to the 18th cent. It later became known as viola da gamba [Ital.,=leg viol]—originally the name of the whole family, to distinguish them from those of the viola da bracchio (arm viol) family, the forerunners of the violin. The viola d'amore, a member of the viol family, originated in the 17th cent. and was especially popular in the 18th cent. It has from five to seven strings, tuned in thirds and fourths, and an equal number of sympathetic strings running through the bridge and under the fingerboard. Unlike most viols, it is held, like the violin, under the chin. It was and is principally a solo instrument, possessing a modest literature from all periods, including the 20th cent.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"viol." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"viol." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viol

"viol." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viol

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

viol

viol. Type of bowed str. instr., made in various sizes. Developed in Renaissance period, then superseded by vn. family, now revived for perf. of early mus. Origins obscure, but probably developed from efforts to apply bow to plucked instr. during 2nd half of 15th cent. in Spain. Term ‘viol’ was used generically, like vihuela in Sp. Consort of viols mentioned in Eng. records of King's Musick for 1540. Shape of viol varied much during first century of existence. Documentation of 1556 says that Fr. viols had 5 str. tuned in 4ths, whereas It. viols had 6. All viols were played held downwards, larger sizes between the legs, smaller resting on knees. Eng. composers from Byrd to Purcell wrote superb series of works for viols, a consort (or chest) normally comprising 2 trebles, 2 tenors, and 2 basses. Viol had flat back, frets, and C-shaped sound-holes. Bow held in underhand grip with fingers controlling tension of horse-hair. Prin. types of viol. are: division viol: smaller version of bass viol suitable for agile playing of divisions (variations); lyra-viol: instr. specially built for virtuoso viol players who practised double- and triple-stopping, pizzicato, etc.; mus. written in tablature. Tobias Hume's First Part of Ayres, 1605, is lyra-viol mus. See also baryton, viola d'amore, viola da braccio, viola da gamba.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"viol." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"viol." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol

"viol." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

viol

viol Fretted stringed instrument, played with a bow. It is held on or between the knees and, in its most usual shape, has sloping shoulders and a flat back. The six strings are tuned in fourths, in the same manner as the lute. A possible derivative, the modern double bass, is perhaps the only type of viol to survive; it shows its ancestry by being tuned in fourths (unlike members of the violin family, which are tuned in fifths).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"viol." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"viol." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viol

"viol." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viol

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

viol

vi·ol / ˈvīəl/ • n. a musical instrument of the Renaissance and baroque periods, typically six-stringed, held vertically and played with a bow.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"viol." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"viol." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol-0

"viol." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

viol

violdenial, dial, espial, Lyall, mistrial, myall, Niall, phial, trial, vial, viol •sundial •knawel, withdrawal •avowal, Baden-Powell, bowel, disembowel, dowel, Howell, Powell, rowel, towel, trowel, vowel •semivowel •bestowal, koel, Lowell, Noel •loyal, royal, viceroyal •accrual, construal, crewel, cruel, dual, duel, fuel, gruel, jewel, newel, renewal, reviewal •eschewal •artefactual (US artifactual), contractual, factual, tactual •perpetual •aspectual, effectual, intellectual •conceptual, perceptual •contextual, textual •habitual, ritual •conflictual • instinctual • spiritual •mutual • punctual • virtual • casual •audio-visual, televisual, visual •usual • gradual • individual •menstrual • actual •asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, psychosexual, sexual, transsexual, unisexual •accentual, conventual, eventual •Samuel •annual, biannual, Emanuel, Emmanuel, manual •Lemuel •consensual, sensual •continual

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"viol." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"viol." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol

"viol." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viol

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.