medieval instruments

Dave & Laura McKinstry dalm at
Sun Dec 10 07:29:24 PST 1995

This message didn't say much about where the information on this 
instrument came from - stained glass or otherwise - but while we're on 
the subject...

Subject: Re: Vielle 
    Date:Fri, 08 Dec 1995 16:39:18 -0500 (EST) 
    From:EMARGERUM at
      To:harp at MIT.EDU

>From: Bill McJohn <billmc at>
>Subject: RE: Vielle
>To: harp at MIT.EDU
>The vielle is a member of the violin family.  It often has five strings,
>and may be played either on the arm (like a violin) or on the knee
>(like a viola da gamba).
>Bill McJohn
>billmc at

A vielle is essentially a medieval fiddle, whether played on the knee
or arm. In general, vielles like their descendants the gambas are
fretted.  The term vielle is also used for hurdy-gurdys, an abbreviation 
vielle a roue.

It would be a pedantic quibble to argue with Bill's "member of the
violin family", though I suspect musicologists would likel

Ed Margerum
 emargerum at

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