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String Instruments

The Stringed instruments normally form the largest section in an orchestra. It is made up from two families of instruments the Violin family and the Guitar family. They both tend to be made out of wood unless an electric version is bought. The Violin family contains the Violins, Violas, Cellos and Double Bass whereas the guitar family consists of the Acoustic guitar, Bass Guitar and Electric Guitar.

The Violin family displays curved wooden features, has four strings stretched over a wooden bridge and can either be played with a bow consisting of many strands of horsehair or plucked using your fingers.

The Guitar Family is again generally made from wood (unless it is electric) and played with 6 or 12 strings, 6 being the most common.They are either plucked using a plectrum or fingers or strummed using your fingers.

The ViolinThe Violin

The Violin is the smallest of the stringed instruments and as a result of its smaller strings has the highest sound. In an orchestra there are more violins than any other instrument and they fall into two groups, the first violins have the highest sound the second violins have the second highest sound. They are played with part of the body being held under the chin and the neck of the instrument being held by the left hand which is used to select the notes by placing fingers on the strings. The bow is held in between the fingers on the right hand. A lot of practice is required to make them sound good as there can be a great deal of screeching to start off with.

The Viola

The Viola is the next in size and looks very similar to the violin and because it has longer strings it therefore produces a lower sound . It is played in a similar way to a violin.

The CelloThe Cello

The Cello or Violincello, It's proper name comes in a range of sizes. This instrument is larger than the violin and viola and therefore the player has to sit down to play it with it being held between the player's knees. A bow again constructed using horsehair can then be drawn across the strings to provide a very mellow sound. The strings can also be plucked using your fingers. For a younger child the cello can be rather large to carry around.


The Double Bass



The Double Bass

The Double bass is the largest of all the stringed instruments and therefore plays the lowest notes. A player will tend to play this instrument by plucking the strings whilst standing up.



The Guitar


The Guitar

The Guitar is a popular instrument for beginners and is in made standard, junior and left handed versions (the strings are the opposite way around for left handed players).The Acoustic Guitar has a curved wooden body with six strings, which are played by plucking or strumming them. A Bass Guitar is similar but only has four strings. Although the Acoustic Guitar is ideal for younger children to learn on, as they grow older, some will carry on to play classical, spanish or folk music on them whereas other children may prefer the Electric Guitar to play rock and pop music on.

To find out more about learning how to play these instruments visit the Starting to Learn section of our site.

Information on maintenance or repairs is available in the Maintenance and Tuning section of our site.


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