The viol

The instrument belongs to the viol or viola da gamba group of instruments related to the Spanish vihuela, guitar, rebec and the Arabic rabal.
The viola da gamba was possibly contrived in the 15th century, when guitar players began to bow the strings of the guitar. The instrument possesses many characteristics of the guitar, including frets on the fingerboard. In the beginning, the musicians held the instrument as a guitar, but later it was played in a upright position, either poised in the lap or between the legs like a cello. The name viola da gamba, means ‘viol for the legs’.
Incidentally, no historic documentation suggests that the viola da gamba, not even the bass viol, is a precursor of the cello. The violin group has different origins, and during the Renaissance violins was regarded as less noble instruments than the viols.
The viola da gamba has adjustable frets made of catgut and are usually fitted with five or six strings. The tuning resembles the tuning of the guitar and the 15th Century lute.