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String Instruments – Bowed, Plucked and Struck

String Instruments – Bowed, Plucked and Struck

These are music instruments that are usually struck, plucked or bowed to produce sounds. They are also known as chordophones. The most popular instruments in the string category include cello, double bass, banjo, harp, guitar, violin and mandolin among others.

Over the past centuries, music has been incorporated in the day-to-day lives of various peoples of the world’s traditional music whose influences have been brought together by means of technological changes. These have brought along revolutions in the music industry leading to development of new and better music modes, instruments playing techniques and audience participation. Different music genres have emerged with different musical instruments producing different musical sounds hence leading to diversity on people’s interests and musical differences.

The only way that a string instrument produces sound is by vibration of one or more strings and the sound transmitted through the instrument body that amplifies the sound for audience to enjoy. The string instruments are classified based on the mode used to vibrate the strings. The three most familiar modes are striking, bowing and plucking. Striking involves striking the string using a hammer, which are mechanically action-controlled for example with a piano, hammered dulcimer and a clavichord among others. Violins are string instruments that are bowed with a technique referred to as col legno. Plucking is when the use of a plectrum, thumb or finger is employed to play a string instrument such as the guitar, lute, banjo, sitar and mandolin among others. In the earlier days, the harpsichord also used quills (made from feather) to make sounds by plucking the strings and this has now being advanced with use of plastic plectra. String instruments such as viola and cello also produce sound by bowing. The bow has numerous hairs that cause the string to vibrate when rubbed on it. The hardingfele, rebec, kokyu, igil, nyckelharpa and erhu are also some of the commonly known string instruments played by bowing.

A string instrument depending on the shape and materials used to make it will produce different musical sounds. In design of such instrument, attention is mostly paid to specific details. The length of the instrument will determine the mode of play and the sound produced. The length is measured from the bridge to the nut on plucked or bowed instruments and it determines the note difference on the specified instrument. A certain length and tension will only produce a single note also known as monophony therefore, for a string instrument to produce multiple notes either more strings have to be added on the instrument or the string has to be stopped from times to times. An example of a multiple note producing string instrument is the piano, which has numerous strings for each note. A guitar or violin is the other type of string instruments that have stoppable strings, the vibrating strings are stopped by the player using either the fingers or a mechanical device such as the hurdy gurdy, which are placed on the fingerboard that is attached on the instruments neck. On the other hand, kotos’ bridges are manually moved by the player within the course of music piece play.