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Vihuela De Mano

Name: Vihuela De Mano.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Guitars > Types.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.5
Scale Length:
Strings: 5
Course: 10 Strings Paired.
Era: 15-16th centuries.
Country: Italy, Spain & Portugal.
Region: Continental Europe.

Description: The vihuela de mano [in Spanish and Italian Vihuela De Mano; in Catalan: viola de mà; In Portuguese; viola de mão]. The two names are functionally synonymous and interchangeable. It is a plucked chordophone of the lute family. Whose strings, were originally made of gut. The order of strings for this instrument was arranged in six or seven courses each likely paired in unison.

Closely related to the lute, the vihuela flourished mainly in Spain and in areas under Spanish influence in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was also known in Italy and Portugal under the name viola. Originally the word was applied to various string instruments distinguished according to the method of playing them.

Medieval sources mention the vihuela de pendola [or peñola: played with a quill] and vihuela de arco [played with a bow]; vihuela de pendola also appears in Renaissance sources, which also mention the vihuela de mano [plucked with the fingers]. By the 16th century, however, the unqualified term ‘vihuela’ usually referred to the finger-plucked instrument.

Tunings: In its most developed form, the vihuela was a guitar-shaped instrument with six double-strings [paired courses] made of gut. Vihuelas were tuned identically to their to contemporary Renaissance lutes as both instruments utilize renterant tunings. The accession of the third string [G] is tuned a semitone lower to [F#]. This gives rise to the concept of the alternate tuning E A D F# B E Lute Tuning as played on guitar.

Vihuela De Mano
Name Pitch Tunings
B B E A C# F# B
D / G D G C E A D
E E A D F# B E









Note: The tunings were originally from Juan Bermudo’s Declaration of Musical Instruments 2nd ed published in 1555. Which included diagrams of tuning notation and tablature written for the vihuela-de-mano. The orthography of letters as used in “Old Spanish” contains letters that are no longer in use today.

Note: The tunings listed on this page are gathered from the pages of Juan Bermudo – Declaration of Musical Instruments, Instruments 1555 p. Libra Quarto [fourth book] De Tañer Vihuela, Fol cvit.

Citations: Bibliography: Juan Bermudo – Declaration of Musical Instruments 2nd ed published in 1555, Ronald C. Purcell: Classic Guitar, Lute and Vihuela Discography, Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp., Melville, NY, 1976, 116 p., LC: 75-42912 [no ISBN] ; Ian Woodfield: The Early History of the Viol, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984 includes much early vihuela history; viols are bowed vihuelas ; Websites: Grove Music Online / Vihuela ; Websites:


Name: Baryton.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lyres > Viol
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.71
Tunings: D G C E A D
Era: 1700s.
Country: Many.
Region: Western Europe.

Baryton @ Photographed by Graeme Gibson, Royal Albert Museum, London UK 2019

Description: The baryton is a bowed stringed instrument in the same family as the viols. It is distinguished from the viol family such as the viola da gamba in that it has extra plucked strings. The baryton can be seen as a sort of augmented bass viol. It is similar in size to the latter instrument and likewise has six or seven strings of gut.

Origins: There are only about 50 historical baryons in existence for which we have evidence. Either in the form of documents or the instrument its self. Many of the latter have been modified from their original form. Thus, tracing the history of the baryton is a difficult task. Concerning the origin of the baryton; Pamplin suggests that the instrument probably originated in England in the early 17th century when the characteristics of two instruments, the viola da gamba and the bandora, were combined into one hybrid instrument.

Playing Techniques: The baryton differs from the bass viol in having an additional set of wire strings. These perform two functions. They may vibrate symmetrically with the bowed strings, enriching the tone. They can also be plucked with the left thumb by the performer, creating contrasting tonal quality. The bowed strings are placed on the right, where they can be easily fingered by the player’s left hand. The plucked strings are on the left side. They can be reached by the players thumb from the rear. While, the back of the instrument’s neck is left open.

Tuning: Typically D G C E A D’ although scordatura were used, arranged over a fretted fingerboard and played with a bow. The instrument is held vertically and is supported by the player’s legs rather than with an end-pin as in the modern cello.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:


Name: Cavaquinho.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.222.5/6
Scale Length:
Courses: 4
Strings: 4 Single Strings.
Country: Portugal.
Region: Western Europe & Iberian Peninsula.

Cavaquinho @ Horniman Museum, London UK 2019

Description: The cavaquinho [pronounced [kɐvɐˈkiɲu] in Portuguese] is a small Portuguese string instrument in the European guitar family, with four wire or gut strings.

More broadly, cavaquinho is the name of a four-stringed subdivision of the lute family of instruments. A cavaquinho player is called a cavaquista.

Varieties: This instrument although is Portuguese in origin it is played through out the diaspora from Brazil, Capo Verde, Madeira and in Portugal the instrument is played in Braga [Braguinha] Minho [minhoto] and Lisbon. Other forms are the braguinha, ‘cavacolele’, cavaco, machete and ukulele.

Cavaquinho Tunings
Name Nomenclature Tunings
Tradicional D G B D
Natural D G B E
3rd G G B E
Barcelos A A C E
Malhao e Vira G C E A
Acordes Básicos G D E A

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:


Name: Charango.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Guitarillos >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.222.6
Scale Length:
Courses: 5
Strings: 10
Specimen: 1 in collection, made in Peru.
Country: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador.
Region: South America.


Charango Tunings
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Standard Am7 C G E A E
AmBb7 B F# E A E
A Major G C# E A E
E Minor C G E G E
False Natural E G C A E
2nd º Kimsa E G# E A E
Runa G D E A E
Jalq’a F# A C# B E
In F G C F A F

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: