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A guitarlike instrument of the Spanish Renaissance having ten to twelve strings, tuned like a lute.

[Spanish, from Old Spanish, viol, vihuela, ultimately from Old Provençal viola, viol; see viola1.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Spanish biˈwela)
(Instruments) an obsolete plucked stringed instrument of Spain, related to the guitar
[from Spanish]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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References in periodicals archive ?
Tuning instructions in Bermudo's Declaracion and other vihuela collections and may specify a different succession of strings in order to obtain this tuning, but they are no more specific in respect to exact pitch levels.
Complete with a bewildering array of instruments such as hurdygurdy, rauschpfeife and vihuela, the dynamic and hugely entertaining show uses tunes, songs and humour to take you on a musical journey.
When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela (a small guitar-like instrument) she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it.
Perhaps this reflects, at least in part, the folk-like spirit of the songs, where troubadours would accompany themselves by some kind of string instrument, such as the lute, the vihuela, or the guitar.
(Don Quijote 2.44:395) Contemplative and mindful of his duty and devotion to Dulcinea, Don Quixote writes a song in praise of his lady, which he sings as he plays the guitar-like vihuela. The unreal has a special force and a special glow in his lyrics:
Para se ter uma percepcao da grande variedade vocabular, vejamos algumas designacoes: alaude, barbitus, cedra, citara, chelys, chitara, cithara, citola, descante, fides, fidicula, guararapeuva, guitarra, guitarra mourisca, guitarra latina, lira, lyra, sestro, testudo, vihuela, vihuela de penola.
Trompettes, violons, saxophone, guitarron (guitare basse mexicaine a six cordes) et une vihuela (petite guitare), les membres du groupe ont impressionne le public par une performance musicale dite mariachi, rythmee par des mouvements de Zapateo (taper des pieds), une danse mexicaine traditionnelle.