SHERIDAN — Director of Strings Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman has brought a new, and rather old, style of music to Sheridan College. A group of students and community members will begin learning music for a group of instruments called viols.

The six-stringed instruments are part a Renaissance and Baroque musical style originally performed for European royalty, Bergman said.

The gut strings resonate differently than steel strings. Viols use the ambiance of smaller rooms and they have a silvery sound, Bergman added.

There are several differences between these instruments and traditional orchestra strings in the violin family. They are played vertically and held by the player’s knees, similar to a modern cello, but without the endpin. They are also differentiated by the use of frets, c-shaped holes in lieu of f-holes, and the underhand grip of the bow. The viols (viola da gambas in Italian) that Sheridan College now owns came from the Charlie Ogle Workshop in Oregon. The five new viols include two trebles, two tenors and one bass.

“I’m excited to get this group started,” Bergman said. “Viols are fun to play and it will be a great way to involve the community in a new music partnership.”

The group will be comprised of college students as well as community members interested in learning this instrument. So far, Bergman has seven or eight interested in playing.

The group will meet in the new Whitney Center for the Arts choir room beginning Thursday at 7 p.m.