vielle (vyĕl) [key], bowed string instrument used throughout Europe from the 13th cent. through the 15th cent. The vielle resembles the violin, of which it is a direct precursor, but it has a longer body and five strings, one of which was used as a drone. In the 15th cent. the word vielle referred to the hurdy-gurdy ( vielle à rue ).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on vielle from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments