A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...
. In its most common form, it has a narrow boat-shaped body and 1-5 strings and is played on the arm or under the chin, like a violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....
The rebec dates back to the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
and was particularly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. The instrument is European and derived from the Arabic bowed instrument rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...
and the Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...
. The rebec was first referred to by that name around the beginning of the 14th century, though a similar instrument, usually called a lyra, had been played since around the 9th century.
The introduction of the rebab into Western Europe has possibly coincided with the conquest of Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...
by the Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...
, in the Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...