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Encyclopedia > String instrument

A string instrument (or stringed 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. The most common string instruments in Western music are those in the violin, piano, and guitar families. A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... This article is about audible acoustic waves. ... A vibration in a string is a wave. ... Hornbostel-Sachs (or Sachs-Hornbostel) is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Musik in 1914. ... At various times, and in various different cultures, various schemes of musical instrument classification have been used. ... Center For Arabic Culture (CAC) == http://www. ... A chordophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points. ... The Violin family of instruments was developed in Italy in the 17th Century. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Types of string instruments

The double bass is either plucked (pizzicato)or bowed (arco) (or much more rarely, struck with the bow, which is called "col legno") depending on the genre and piece.
The double bass is either plucked (pizzicato)or bowed (arco) (or much more rarely, struck with the bow, which is called "col legno") depending on the genre and piece.
For a full list, see List of string instruments.

All string instruments produce sound from one or more vibrating strings, transferred to the air by the body of the instrument (or by a pickup in the case of electronically-amplified instruments). They are usually categorized by the technique used to make the strings vibrate. The three most common techniques are plucking, bowing and striking. Download high resolution version (1100x1500, 94 KB)Photo of my double bass, front and side. ... Download high resolution version (1100x1500, 94 KB)Photo of my double bass, front and side. ... This is a list of string instruments categorized according to the technique used to produce sound, followed by a list of string instruments grouped by country or region of origin. ...


Plucking

Instruments such as the guitar, oud, sitar, banjo and harp are plucked, either by a finger or thumb, or by some type of plectrum. This category includes the keyboard instrument the harpsichord, which formerly used feather quills (now plastic plectra) to pluck the strings. Guitar and lute This ilustration in a French Psalter from the 9th century (c. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... Front and rear views of an oud. ... Diagram of some sitar parts. ... For other uses, see Banjo (disambiguation) The banjo is a stringed instrument developed by enslaved Africans in the United States, adapted from several African instruments. ... For other uses, see Harp (disambiguation). ... Various guitar picks A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a stringed instrument. ... Harpsichord in the Flemish style A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. ...


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Bowing

Bowed string instruments include the violin, viola, cello (of the violin family) and the double bass (of the viol family). The bow consists of a stick with many hairs stretched between its ends. Bowing the instrument's string causes a stick-slip phenomenon to occur, which makes the string vibrate. For the Anne Rice novel, see Violin (novel). ... The viola (French, alto; German Bratsche) is a bowed string instrument. ... This article is about the stringed musical instrument. ... The Violin family of instruments was developed in Italy in the 17th Century. ... Side and front views of a modern double bass with a French bow. ... Various sizes of viol, from Michael Praetorius Syntagma musicum (1618) Early Italian tenor viola da gamba, detail from the painting , by Raphael Sanzio, c. ... A cello bow In music, a bow is a device pulled across the strings of a string instrument in order to make them vibrate and emit sound. ... Stick slip (or slip stick) is called the phenomenon that sometimes, during the sliding of two bodies over each other, spontaniously a jerking movement appears. ...


Other bowed instruments are the hardingfele, nyckelharpa, kokyū, rebec, erhu, igil, kamanche, and sarangi. The hurdy gurdy is bowed by a wheel. A hardingfele A Hardanger fiddle or hardingfele (Norwegian) is a traditional stringed instrument from Norway. ... A nyckelharpa The nyckelharpa (Swedish for key harp) is traditional in Sweden. ... The rebec in Virgin among Virgins (1509), by Gerard David. ... Side view of an erhu. ... An igil (Tuvan- игил) is a two-stringed Tuvan musical instrument (huur), it is called ikil in western mongolia, played by bowing the strings. ... The kamancheh or kamānche (كَمانچِه) is a Persian instrument similar to a violin. ... Anant Kunte playing the sarangi (2007) The Sarangi (Sarangi [सारंगी] is a bowed string instrument of , Nepal. ... Drawing of a hurdy gurdy A hurdy gurdy (alternately, hurdy-gurdy) is a stringed musical instrument. ... For other uses, see Wheel (disambiguation). ...


Striking

The third common method of sound production in stringed instruments is to strike the string with a hammer. By far the most well-known instrument to use this method is the piano (sometimes considered a percussion instrument) , where the hammers are controlled by a mechanical action; another example is the hammered dulcimer, where the player holds the hammers. A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... A diatonic hammered dulcimer made by Masterworks The hammered dulcimer is a stringed musical instrument with the strings stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board. ...


A variant of the hammering method is found in the clavichord: a brass tangent touches the string and presses it to a hard surface, inducing vibration. This method of sound production yields a soft sound. The maneuver can also be executed with a finger on plucked and bowed instruments; guitarists refer to this technique as "hammering-on". Violon-family string instruments are also occasionally instructed to strike the string with the side of the bow, a technique called col legno. This yields a percussive sound along with the pitch of the note. A well-known use of col legno for orchestral strings is the Gustav Holst's "Mars" movement from The Planets suite. Large five-octave unfretted clavichord by Paul Maurici, after J.A. Haas The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument known from the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. ... Gustav Holst Gustav Holst (September 21, 1874, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire - May 25, 1934, London) [1] [2] was an English composer and was a music teacher for over 20 years. ... This page is about the orchestral suite by Gustav Holst. ...


Other methods

The aeolian harp employs a very unusual method of sound production: the strings are excited by the movement of the air. Aeolian harp in the old castle of Baden Baden, from an article in Scientific American Supplement, No. ...


Some string instruments have keyboards attached which are manipulated by the player, meaning they do not have to pay attention to the strings directly. The most familiar example is the piano, where the keys control the felt hammers by means of a complex mechanical action. Other string instruments with a keyboard include the clavichord (where the strings are struck by tangents), and the harpsichord (where the strings are plucked by tiny plectra). The layout of a typical musical keyboard A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers on a musical instrument which cause the instrument to produce sounds. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... Large five-octave unfretted clavichord by Paul Maurici, after J.A. Haas The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument known from the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. ... Harpsichord in the Flemish style A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. ... Various guitar picks A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a stringed instrument. ...


With these keyboard instruments too, the strings are occasionally plucked or bowed by hand. Composers such as Henry Cowell wrote music which asks for the player to reach inside the piano and pluck the strings directly, or to "bow" them with bow hair wrapped around the strings, or play them by rolling the bell of a brass instrument such as a trombone on the array of strings. Piano, a well-known instance of keyboard instruments A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a musical keyboard. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Henry Cowell (March 11, 1897 – December 10, 1965) was an American composer, musical theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, and impresario. ... Image of a trumpet, foreground, a piccolo trumpet behind, and a flugelhorn in background. ... The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. ...


Other keyed string instruments, small enough to be held by a strolling player, include the plucked autoharp, the bowed nyckelharpa, and the hurdy gurdy, which is played by cranking a rosined wheel. An Autoharp The Autoharp is a musical string instrument having a series of chord bars attached to dampers which, when depressed, mute all the strings other than those that form the desired chord. ... A nyckelharpa The nyckelharpa (Swedish for key harp) is traditional in Sweden. ... Drawing of a hurdy gurdy A hurdy gurdy (alternately, hurdy-gurdy) is a stringed musical instrument. ...


Steel-stringed instruments can be played using a magnetic field. An E-Bow is small hand-held battery-powered device which can be used to excite the strings of an electric guitar. It provides a sustained, singing tone on the string which is magnetically-vibrated. An EBow The EBow or ebow (brand name or E-bow, for Electronic bow or Energy Bow)[1] is a hand-held, battery-powered electronic device for playing the electric guitar. ...


String length or scale length

This is the length of the string from nut to bridge on bowed or plucked instruments and ultimately determines the distance between different notes on the instrument. For example, a double bass with its low range needs a scale length of around 42 inches, whilst a violin scale is only about 13 inches. On the shorter scale of the violin, the left hand may easily reach a range of slightly more than two octaves without shifting position, while on the bass' longer scale, a single octave or a ninth is reachable in lower positions. The nut of a string instrument is a small strip or block of hard material forming a transition between the strings playing length and the tuning machines on the headstock, or the tuning pegs in the pegbox at the upper end of the fingerboard. ... A Violin Bridge blank and finished bridge A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air balls. ...


Contact points along the string

The strings of a piano
The strings of a piano

In bowed instruments, the bow is normally placed perpendicularly to the string, at a point half way between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge. However, different bow placements can be selected to change timbre. Application of the bow close to the bridge (known as sul ponticello) produces an intense, sometimes harsh sound, which acoustically emphasizes the upper harmonics. Bowing above the fingerboard (sul tasto) produces a purer tone with less overtone strength, emphasizing the fundamental, also known as flautando, since it sounds less reedy and more flute-like. Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 429 KB)Digital photograph taken by User:Opus33. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 429 KB)Digital photograph taken by User:Opus33. ... In music, timbre, or sometimes timber, (from Fr. ... This is a list of musical terms that are likely to be encountered in printed scores. ... In acoustics and telecommunication, the harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency. ... This article will be merged with Italian musical terms at some point in the near future. ... Vibration and standing waves in a string, The fundamental and the first 6 overtones The fundamental tone, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated fo, is the lowest frequency in a harmonic series. ...


Similar timbral distinctions are also possible with plucked string instruments by selecting an appropriate plucking point, although the difference is perhaps more subtle.


In keyboard instruments, the contact point along the string (whether this be hammer, tangent, or plectrum) is a choice made by the instrument designer. Builders use a combination of experience and acoustic theory to establish the right set of contact points.


In harpsichords, often there are two sets of strings of equal length. These "choirs" usually differ in their plucking points. One choir has a "normal" plucking point, producing a canonical harpsichord sound; the other has a plucking point close to the bridge, producing a reedier "nasal" sound rich in upper harmonics.


Production of multiple notes

A string at a certain tension will only produce one note, so to obtain multiple notes string instruments employ one of two methods. One is to add enough strings to cover the range of notes desired; the other is to allow the strings to be stopped. The piano is an example of the former method, where each note on the instrument has its own set of strings. On instruments with stoppable strings, such as the violin or guitar, the player can shorten the vibrating length of the string, using their fingers directly (or more rarely through some mechanical device, as in the hurdy gurdy). Such instruments usually have a fingerboard attached to the neck of the instrument, providing a hard flat surface against which the player can stop the strings. On some string instruments, the fingerboard has frets, raised ridges perpendicular to the strings that stop the string at precise intervals, in which case the fingerboard is called a fretboard. Drawing of a hurdy gurdy A hurdy gurdy (alternately, hurdy-gurdy) is a stringed musical instrument. ... The neck of a guitar showing the first four frets. ...


Modern frets are typically specially shaped metal wire set into slots in the fretboard. Early frets were cords tied around the neck, still seen on some instruments as wraps of nylon monofilament. Such frets are tied tightly enough that moving them during performance is impractical. The bridges of a koto, on the other hand, may be moved by the player, occasionally in the course of a single piece of music. Japanese 13-stringed koto The koto (箏 or 琴) is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument derived from Chinese zithers. ...


The middle Eastern string instrument the qanun, though it has many strings to give a selection of notes, is equipped with small levers called mandal that allow each course of multiple strings to be incrementally retuned "on the fly" while the instrument is being played. These levers raise or lower the pitch of the string course by a microtone, less than a half step. Similar mechanisms which change pitch by standard intervals (half-steps) are used on many modern Western harps, either directly moved by fingers (on Celtic harps) or controlled by foot pedals (on orchestral harps). Typical Turkish kanun with 79-tone mandal configuration by Ozan Yarman The qanún or kanun (Arabic qânûn, from Greek κανων measuring rod; rule akin to καννα cane) is a string instrument found in Near Eastern traditional music based on Maqamat. ...


Sound production

Acoustic instruments

See also: Musical acoustics

A vibrating string on its own makes only a very quiet sound, so string instruments are usually constructed in such a way that this sound is coupled to a hollow resonating chamber, a sounding board, or both. On the violin, for example, the taut strings pass over a bridge resting on a hollow box. The strings' vibrations are distributed via the bridge and soundpost to all surfaces of the instrument, and are thus made louder. The correct technical explanation is that they allow a better match to the acoustic impedance of the air. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The sounding board is the largest part of a string musical instruments body. ... The acoustic impedance Z (or sound impedance) is a frequency f dependent parameter and is very useful, for example, for describing the behaviour of musical wind instruments. ...


It is sometimes said that the sounding board or soundbox "amplifies" the sound of the strings. Technically speaking, no amplification occurs, because all of the energy to produce sound comes from the vibrating string. What really happens is that the sounding board of the instrument provides a larger surface area to create sound waves than that of the string. A larger vibrating surface moves more air, hence produces a louder sound. This article is about audible acoustic waves. ... A WAVES Photographer 3rd Class The WAVES were a World War II era division of the U.S. Navy that consisted entirely of women. ...


Achieving a tonal characteristic that is effective and pleasing to the player's and listener's ear is something of an art, and the makers of string instruments often seek very high quality woods to this end, particularly spruce (chosen for its lightness, strength and flexibility) and maple (a very hard wood). Spruce is used for the sounding boards of instruments from the violin to the piano. Species About 35; see text. ... For other uses, see Maple (disambiguation). ...


In the early 20th century, the Stroh violin used a diaphragm-type resonator and a metal horn to project the string sound, much like early mechanical gramophones. Its use declined beginning about 1920, as electronic amplification came into use. A Stroh violin has a metal horn and resonator instead of a sound box. ...


Electronic amplification

Most string instruments can be fitted with piezoelectric or magnetic pickups to convert the string's vibrations into an electrical signal which is amplified and then converted back into sound by loudspeakers. Some players attach a pickup to their traditional string instrument to "electrify" it. Another option is to use a solid-bodied instrument, which reduces unwanted feedback howls or squeals. Amplified string instruments can be much louder than their acoustic counterparts, which allows them to be used in relatively loud rock, blues, and jazz ensembles. Amplified instruments can also have their amplified tone modified by using electronic effects such as distortion, reverb, or wah-wah. Piezoelectricity is the ability of certain crystals to produce a voltage when subjected to mechanical stress. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... Audio feedback (also known as the Larsen effect after the Danish scientist, Søren Larsen, who first discovered its principles) is a special kind of feedback which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input (for example, a microphone or guitar pickup) and an audio output (for example... Seventh release by Manchester indie rock group, James. ...


Bass-register string instruments such as the double bass and the electric bass are amplified with bass instrument amplifiers that are designed to reproduce low-frequency sounds. To modify the tone of amplified bass instruments, a range of electronic bass effects are available, such as distortion and chorus. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Bass instrument amplification. ...


See also

This is a list of string instruments categorized according to the technique used to produce sound, followed by a list of string instruments grouped by country or region of origin. ... Links to pages with Repertoire for Stringed instruments Violin Solo - List of compositions for Violin Solo Violin and Piano - Violin sonata#List of Violin sonatas Violin Concertos - List of compositions for violin and orchestra Viola Solo - Viola and Piano - Viola Concertos - Cello Solo - List of solo cello pieces Cello and... An engravers impression of Antonio Stradivari examining an instrument. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The strings of a harp A string is the vibrating element which is the source of vibration in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. ... A vibration in a string is a wave. ... A string orchestra is an orchestra composed solely of stringed instruments. ... This is a list of tunings for stringed musical instruments . ...

External links

  • The physics of the bowed string
Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
String instrument - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1160 words)
Other string instruments with a keyboard include the clavichord (where the strings are struck by tangents), and the harpsichord (where the strings are plucked by tiny plectra).
Other keyed string instruments, small enough to be held by a strolling player, include the plucked autoharp, the bowed nyckelharpa, and the hurdy gurdy, which is played by cranking a rosined wheel.
This is the length of the string from nut to bridge on bowed or plucked instruments and ultimately determines the distance between different notes on the instrument.
String instrument - definition of String instrument in Encyclopedia (943 words)
Instruments such as the guitar and kora are plucked, either by a finger or thumb, or by some other device such as a plectrum.
However, instruments normally bowed are occasionally plucked (this is known as pizzicato), and instruments normally plucked are sometimes bowed (Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin sometimes played the electric guitar this way, for example).
Some string instruments have keyboards attached which are manipulated by the player, meaning she does not have to pay attention to the strings directly.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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