American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of a family of stringed instruments, chiefly of the 16th and 17th centuries, having a fretted fingerboard, usually six strings, and a flat back and played with a curved bow.
- n. See viola da gamba.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A musical instrument with strings, essentially not greatly different from the lute and the guitar, except that the strings are sounded by means of a bow drawn across them, not by plucking them with the fingers. The viol is the typical representative of a very large, varied, and widely distributed class of instruments, of which in modern music the violin is the chief member. The type includes the following characteristics: a hollow resonance-box or body, made up of a front or belly (which is pierced with one or two sound-holes of varying shape), a back (both front and back being flat or only slightly arched), and sides of various contour according to the particular variety and the period; within the body an internal system of braces, including a soundpost, to withstand the strain of the strings and to give the tone greater sonority; a more or less elongated neck, often with a special finger-board in front, and surmounted by a head, part of which serves as a peg-box; several strings, mostly of gut, fastened at the bottom either to the body directly or to a tail-piece, stretched thence over a bridge and over the finger-board and neck, and fastened at the top to pegs by which their tension and tune can be adjusted; and a bow for sounding the striugs, consisting of a stick or back of wood and a large number of horse-hairs whose friction is augmented by the application of rosin. The differences between different instruments of the family in shape, size, number and tuning of strings, and method of manipulation are very numerous and apparently important; but the essential similarity between all the varieties is greater than is commonly thought. The historic genesis of the typical idea of the viol is disputed. By some its origin is asserted to be found in the gradual development, with the addition of sounding by means of a bow, of the ancient lyre into the monochord and the vielle, with various incidental modifications in shape and adjustment. By some its precursor is thought to be the Oriental rebab, or some similar instrument, transplanted into southern Europe, and modified by contact with the traditions of the lyre and monochord. By others great historic importance is attached to the Celtic crowd of western Europe. The problem is greatly complicated by the confusing use of terms in the middle ages, the same name being given to quite distinct instruments, and the same instrument being known by two or three different names. Apparently, also, somewhat distinct lines of development went on simultaneously in Italy, in Germany, and in western Europe. Probably the medieval viol, which reached its most distinctive development in the fifteenth century, was the joint result of several more or less distinct tendencies. It was characterized by a flat back, from five to seven strings tuned in fourths and thirds, a broad, thin neck, and a close amalgamation of the neck with the body. This viol was made in several sizes. The smallest (treble or descant viol) passed over later into the modern violin; the next larger (tenor), into the viola da braccio and viola d'amore and the modern viola; the next (bass), into the viola da gamba and the modern violoncello; and the largest (double-bass), into the violone and the modern double-bass viol.
- n. A large rope formerly used in purchasing an anchor: same as messenger It was made to lead through one or more blocks before it was brought to the capstan, thus giving additional power.
- n. An obsolete form of vial.
- n. A viola da gamba, a family of musical instruments that preceded the violin and viola and similar string instruments
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mus.) A stringed musical instrument formerly in use, of the same form as the violin, but larger, and having six strings, to be struck with a bow, and the neck furnished with frets for stopping the strings.
- n. (Naut.) A large rope sometimes used in weighing anchor.
- n. any of a family of bowed stringed instruments that preceded the violin family
- Alteration of Middle English viel, from Old French viole, vielle, from Old Provençal viola; see viola1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The tastefulness of his treble viol playing and the more resonant, lower lyra viol is fetching, and his rhythmic liveliness is always in evidence, but 28 dances are slightly too much of a very good thing.”
“The ensembles and the label are each the responsibility of Mr. Savall, a trained cellist, who has turned a youthful curiosity about the viola da gamba — an antique stringed instrument combining aspects of the cello and guitar, alternatively known as the viol — into a pan-musical enterprise.”
“Anyway, on that song he played something called a viol, which has a mandolin-type sound.”
“In my opinion, the haunting, ethereal, and rather 'open' sound of the viol is the perfect medium to convey the true character of Bach's final masterpiece.”
“The Hebrew word nebhel, so rendered, is translated "viol" in Isa.”
“To the first class belong the harp, the psaltery (also rendered "viol", "dulcimer", etc.), the sackbut (Lat.”
“Although both musicians played with virtuosic speed and accuracy, Marais's "Plainte" was the highlight of this one-hour recital, a whispering thread of melody from the viol accompanied by gentle arpeggiated chords on the theorbo, making the lament an intense, personal cry of anguish.”
“Marais's "Musette" rocked back and forth over two repeated chords, with the drone of the viol's low strings evoking the eponymous medieval bagpipe.”
“With over 150 concert dates and five or six record releases a year, Mr. Savall actively combines a solo career as a viol player with that of conductor and early music theoretician.”
“It's a very special instrument," Mr. Savall says of the viol.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘viol’.
A list of pipe- and pedal-organ stops. These have variously and perhaps at times capriciously been named and labelled by organ builders in Latin, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, a...
A list of words that WWF recognizes as valid - most are unusual words; some are simply high-scoring.
I marvel at the amazing variety of four-letter words in the English language. And that's not even counting really common (to me) words like fuck.
From the novel by Stella Gibbons
Words taken from Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow.
Organ stops, that is.
Looking for tweets for viol.