It is fascinating how non-musical events determine the musical history. After expelling the Arabs of Spain in the 15th Century, the Spanish royalty was determined to ban several Arabian habits, such as playing the lute. The lute was the most loved instrument at the time. What should lutenists do?
They ended up creating a new instrument with lute strings, lute tuning, lute possibilites, lute sound, lute technique, everything put together on a guitar body.
This new instrument, the vihuela, allowed the former lutenists to keep making music as they were used in an instrument that doesn’t look like the lute.
The photos show a vihuela replica by Hugues Boivin based on the vihuela printed on the first book for the vihuela, El Milan’s El Maestro (1536, Seville).