• WordNet 3.6
    • n viol any of a family of bowed stringed instruments that preceded the violin family
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Viol (Naut) A large rope sometimes used in weighing anchor.
    • Viol (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. "Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
      Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n viol 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 viol 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 viol An obsolete form of vial.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Viol vī′ol a musical instrument which was the immediate precursor of the violin, having from three to six strings, and played by means of a bow
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. viole,; cf. Pr. viola, viula, Sp., Pg., & It. viola, LL. vitula,; of uncertain origin; perhaps from L. vitulari, to celebrate a festival, keep holiday, be joyful, perhaps originally, to sacrifice a calf (vitulus,; cf. Veal). Cf. Fiddle Vielle, 2d Viola Violin
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. viole—Low L. vidula, from L. vitulāri, to skip like a calf, to make merry—L. vitulus, a calf.


In literature:

Organs were scarce, but beyond the viols of the village choirs it needed no instrumental accessories.
"The Story of the Hymns and Tunes" by Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth
Signora Loreta, standing at his bed's head, took up her viol and began playing a tender air.
"The Well of Saint Clare" by Anatole France
No longer could the harpsichord charm or the strings of the viol allure.
"A Dream of Empire" by William Henry Venable
In his spare moments he would play some old music on the flute or practise on the viol.
"The Red Book of Heroes" by Leonora Blanche Lang
Also the frontispiece, where the treble viol and viol-da-gamba have carved heads, both human, but of different types.
"Shakespeare and Music" by Edward W. Naylor
Significant then, that he worshipped "the viol, the violet, and the vine" of Poe.
"Adventures in the Arts" by Marsden Hartley
I only go from door to door to amuse people with my viol and my flute.
"Architects of Fate" by Orison Swett Marden
Should I not grieve, my Lawes, when every lute, Viol, and voice is by thy loss struck mute?
"The Hesperides & Noble Numbers: Vol. 1 and 2" by Robert Herrick
I can yet manage a song to the viol, I dare affirm.
"Chivalry" by James Branch Cabell
Mr. Simpson's Division Viol, in folio, price 8s.
"The Book-Hunter at Home" by P. B. M. Allan

In poetry:

The minstrel’s mouth is closed to-day;
No flutes or viols ring;
His heart is burning without fire.
Where art thou coming, Spring?
"New Spring" by Hovhannes Hovhannessian
('If love were all–if love were all,'
The viols sobbed and cried,
'Then love were best whate'er befall!'
Low, low the flutes replied.)
"At the Comedy" by Arthur John Arbuthnott Stringer
Prepare thy lyre, thy viol bring —
Prepare thy hymns and sacred lays,
That thou above may'st boldly sing
A strain, to thy Redeemer's praise.
"A Comfortable Conference Between A Pious Sick Man And His Soul, Against The Fear Of Death" by Rees Prichard
Ah, poor Louise! the livelong day
She roams from cot to castle gay;
And still her voice and viol say,
Ah, maids, beware the woodland way,
Think on Louise.
"The Lay of Poor Louise" by Sir Walter Scott
Pipe and viol call the dances,
Torch-light through the high hall glances;
Waves a mighty shadow in;
With manner bland
Doth ask the maiden's hand,
Doth with her the dance begin;
"The Black Knight. (From The German Of Uhland)" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
'T was an evening of beauty; the air was perfume,
The earth was all greenness, the trees were all bloom;
And softly the delicate viol was heard,
Like the murmur of love or the notes of a bird.
"The Cities Of The Plain" by John Greenleaf Whittier

In news:

( Phoenix, AZ ) Tina Chancey plays Jean-Marie Leclair's violin sonatas on the pardessus de viole in a new recording from Hesperus/Golden Apple Recordings.
In Nomine for consort of viols – Fretwork.
Spend a night banging out a book review, spend a day or two going back and forth with edits and violà.–a check (or even a wire transfer) for $1,200.
A couple of bin Laden kids are complaining that killing unarmed people is a viol.
Asked how she became interested in playing the viol...

In science:

Gamn ˜Gamn where q is the final value taking into account the electroweak CP viol ation and Gamn is the field strength of gluon.
A review on axions and the strong CP problem
At zero temperature, these gauge field vacuum changes are strongly suppressed by a tunneling factor and baryon number violation is vanishingly small (ΓB+L viol. ∼ exp − 4π/αW , with αW = α/ sin2 θW ∼ 1/30).
Summary Talk at the 3rd KEK Topical Conference on CP Violation
This second condition requires that ΓB+L viol. (T ∗ ) < H (T ∗), which will obtain provided Esph (T ∗)/T ∗ is sufficiently big.
Summary Talk at the 3rd KEK Topical Conference on CP Violation
Second, he believes that for this dynamical problem it does not suffice to compute hφ(T ∗ )i/T ∗ via an effective potential, but one must really compute directly ΓB+L viol. (T ∗ ).
Summary Talk at the 3rd KEK Topical Conference on CP Violation
Our result is consistent with those of Dubois-Viol`ette & Henneaux .
$q$-Analog Singular Homology of Convex Spaces