String Instruments

String instruments may be played with or without a bow. These instruments produce sound when strummed, plucked, struck or slapped. Under the Sachs-Hornbostel system, these instruments are classified as chordophones.

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Men playing banjos
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A banjo is a stringed instrument that is played using different techniques such as the Scruggs-style or the "clawhammer". It also comes in different types and some manufacturers even experimented on other forms by blending the banjo with another instrument.
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The cello is essentially a large violin but its body is thicker. It is played the same way as the violin, by rubbing the bow across the strings. But if you can play the violin standing up, the cello is played sitting down while holding it between your legs.
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This instrument is like a huge cello and is played the same way, by rubbing the bow across the strings. Another way of playing it is by plucking or striking the strings. The double bass may be played while standing up or sitting down. More »
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The origin of guitars may have dated back to 1900-1800 B.C. in Babylonia. Archaeologists found a clay plaque showing nude figures holding musical instruments, some of which resembled the guitar.
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The harp is one of the oldest musical instruments; archaeologists discovered a wall painting in Ancient Egyptian tombs which resembled that of a harp and dates back to 3000 BC.
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The lute is another musical instrument popularly used during the Medieval Period and still very much enjoyed to this day. The lute is quite a beautiful instrument, both aesthetically and tonally. Composers such as Bach and Dowland used this instrument in their compositions.

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The mandolin is a plucked string instrument believed to have evolved from the lute and emerged during the 18th century. It has a pear-shaped body and 4 pairs of strings. The mandolin is another musical instrument that belongs to the string family. One of the most popular brand of mandolins is the Gibson, named after the luthier Orville Gibson.
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The ukulele is one of Hawaii's most popular musical instruments. It became more widely used during the 20th century and popularized by musicians such as Eddie Karnae and Jake Shimabukuro. The ukulele is like a small guitar but its tone is much lighter.

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The viola may look like a violin but it certainly has its own unique tone. It is tuned a fifth lower than the violin and functions as the tenor instrument in a string ensemble. Violas didn't enjoy immediate prominence when it first emerged. But thanks to great composers such as Mozart. Strauss and Bartók, the viola has become an integral part of every string ensemble.

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The violin is believed to have evolved from the Rebec and the Lira da braccio. In Europe, the earliest four stringed violin was used in the first part of the century.

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These instruments can be bowed, plucked or struck with wooden mallets. The earliest types of zithers were called "ground zithers" before it evolved into "board zithers." Zithers have no necks; its strings are stretched from one end of the board to the other.