Hildegard von Bingen wrote:
The yew is a symbol of happiness — but only for those who believe in resurrection.
Even today, yew is very popular on graveyards, probably for decorative reasons.
All parts of the plant (except the red seed covering) contain the poisoneous alcaloid taxane. Because of its elasticity yew was considered the best wood for archery bows in medieval times.
Yew is the softest wood that we use. Instruments made from yew sound accordingly soft and should be oiled from time to time.