This instrument appears several times in he paintings of the “cantiga de Santa María” nº VIII in the codex T.I.1 from the  Library of the Monastery of “El Escorial”, held by the hands of a jongleur, and  in the text of the “cantiga” the instrument is called “vyola”.

This is the most important bowed instrument throughout Middle Ages.

It has five strings arranged in “choirs”.

It is the ancestor of the “lira da braccio”, instruments conceived in origin to make an renaissance recreation of “antiquity”, looking for inspiration in the remainig “vyolas”, still present in small villages but far from courts.

After the instrument hold by elder nº 7 from the Portico of Glory,

Catedral of Santiago de Compostela (S. XII)

Instrument of elder nº 6

Instrument of elder nº 24

Instrument of elder nº 22

Francisco Luengo. Musician & luthier

To know more about it you can consult the following publications:

"El Pórtico de la Gloria, Música, Arte y Pensamiento", 1988 published by Cuadernos de Música en Compostela,

"Los Instrumentos del Pórtico de la Gloria", 1993 published by Fundación Barrié de la Maza,

“Instruments à cordes du Moyen Age”, 1999 CERIMM, Fondation Royaumont, published by Créaphis,

“Instrumentos de Corda Medievais”, Lugo 2000 published by Deputación Provincial de Lugo

Photo: Tony Esparís