VIHUELA www.lavihuela.com


JOHN GRIFFITHS

RESEARCH ON THE instrument - ITS MUSIC - ITS PLAYERS & ITS history

 

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THE VIHUELA

The vihuela was the principal plucked instrument played in Spain during the sixteenth century. It developed in the fifteenth century, probably as a multi-purpose instrument that could be either plucked or bowed. Around 1500, maybe as much as a decade before, makers developed new models that were designed specifically to be either plucked or bowed, known respectively as the vihuela de mano and the vihuela de arco. From this time the vihuela de mano developed its own repertoire that included arrangements of polyphonic vocal music as well as original music, most notably fantasías and variations, or diferencias as they were known. There is also a substantial number of songs surviving for vihuela and voice. These are the oldest songs to survive in western music to be composed with independent accompaniments, rather than being arranged from other polyphonic music composed originally for vocal ensembles. The authors who published music for the vihuela are Luys Milán (1536), Luys de Narváez (1538), Alonso Mudarra (1546), Enríquez de Valderrábano (1547), Diego Pisador (1552), Miguel de Fuenllana (1554) and Esteban Daza (1576).