from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A guitar-like string instrument of 15th- and 16th-century Spain, usually with twelve paired strings.
  • n. A guitar-like string instrument of 19th-century Mexico with five strings, typically played in mariachi bands.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An early and simplo form of the Spanish guitar.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • One is strumming a fat, round-backed guitar known as a vihuela, another, the deep-sounding guitarron, while two young singers gamely try to be heard: "De colores, de colores, se visten los campos en la primavera."

  • Her brother, Nicholas, is in the performing group and plays the vihuela, which is smaller than the guitar but similar to it, she says. Latest news

  • Humberto Flores strummed a vihuela, or five-string guitar.

    It's Mariachi Time

  • Among the plucked string instruments we should mention the vihuela, the baroque guitar, the renaissance guitar and the theorbo, instruments that can be heard and seen fairly frequently in concerts of early music.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Tapping on their own creative juices, native craftsmen began producing crude versions of the foreign instruments, eventually creating the vihuela, a small guitar akin to the laud, and a huge bass guitar known as the guitarrón, both of which remain as distinctive elements of modern day mariachi troupes.

    Viva Mexico! Viva El Mariachi!

  • But a survey of customers reveals that it's the appearance of local Mexican music sensations and an appreciation of the sounds of four or more violins, at least two guitars, a deep-voiced guitarron, a vihuela, and, yes, trumpets.

    A new generation embraces centuries-old music of Mexico

  • The two stringed instruments unique to this music, the crisp, clear vihuela and the bass guitarrón, provide a sound unlike any other.

    Death on the River Walk

  • Nicholas has played the vihuela for about a year though he started out playing the guitar, something he picked up as a kindergartener. Latest news

  • To flesh out his tunes, he enlisted a cast of a dozen versatile musicians who add a folk and neo-classical flare with violin, cello, sax and jaw harp as well as traditional Mexican mariachi instruments like guitarrón, vihuela, trumpet and tuba.

    World Music Central

  • He plays in a mariachi band at school and is proficient at the guitar, trumpet, violin and vihuela, a traditional Mexican instrument.

    Fore, right!


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  • "At the same time the Spanish preferred a different instrument, called a vihuela, which was guitarlike but not a guitar and was played solely in Spain. The guitar proper didn't become widespread there until late in the eighteenth century. It doesn't matter. Symbol layers upon symbol. Then as now, Spanish served as a code word for the exotic, the racy, the anxiety and allure of otherness. The 'Spanish guitar' conveyed the emotional music of these things..."

    —Glenn Kurtz, Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music (New York: Vintage Books, 2007), 115

    November 4, 2008

  • The name given to two different guitar-like stringed instruments, one from 16th-century Spain, which usually had 12 paired strings, and the other from 20th-century Mexico, with five strings. The Mexican vihuela is typically used in mariachi bands.

    March 20, 2008