Vielle à Roue

François le Jeune French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 684

This guitar-shaped vielle came into use around 1730. A crank turns the wooden wheel which strokes all the strings simultaneously. A keyboard plays the melodies while the three strings on the sides provide a kind of harmonic drone. A fourth drone string on the very left side, called trompette, is calibrated by the tailpiece peg and produces a snarling sound that imitates a trumpet. The trompette-bridge is a later, non-functioning reproduction. In addition, on the right side are four resonance strings that add a sweet touch to the sound.

Vielle à Roue, François le Jeune (French, Paris 1722–1784 Paris), Maple, pear wood, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, French

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