Throughout the centuries, the modern guitar with six strings has evolved principally from three sources: This last artist was best known for his repertoire of the pavanas, or stately court dances that were ultimately transcribed for the modern guitar by Emilio Pujol, a student of Segovia, at the dawn of the 20th Century.
String length or scale length[ edit ] The length of the string from nut to bridge on bowed or plucked instruments ultimately determines the distance between different notes on the instrument. On the shorter scale of the violin, the left hand may easily reach a range of slightly more than two octaves without shifting positionwhile on the bass' longer scale, a single octave or a ninth is reachable in lower positions.
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Contact points along the string[ edit ] The strings of a piano In bowed instruments, the bow is normally placed perpendicularly to the string, at a point halfway 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 fundamentalalso known as flautando, since it sounds less reedy and more flute-like.
Bowed instruments pose a challenge to instrument builders, as compared with instruments that are only plucked e. As such, a bowed instrument must have a curved bridge that makes the "outer" strings lower in height than the "inner" strings. With such a curved bridge, the player can select one string at a time to play.
On guitars and lutesthe bridge can be flat, because the strings are played by plucking them with the fingers, fingernails or a pick; by moving the fingers or pick to different positions, the player can play different strings.
On bowed instruments, the need to play strings individually with the bow also limits the number of strings to about six or seven strings; with more strings, it would be impossible to select individual strings to bow. Indeed, on the orchestral string section instruments, four strings are the norm, with the exception of five strings used on some double basses.
In contrast, with stringed keyboard instruments, 88 courses are used on a pianoand even though these strings are arranged on a flat bridge, the mechanism can play any of the notes individually.
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[ edit ] A single string at a certain tension and length only produces one note.
To produce multiple notes, string instruments use one of two methods. One is to add enough strings to cover the required range of different notes e. The other is to provide a way to stop the strings along their length to shorten the part that vibrates, which is the method used in guitar and violin family instruments to produce different notes from the same string.
The piano and harp represent the first method, where each note on the instrument has its own string or course of multiple strings tuned to the same note. Many notes on a piano are strung with a "choir" of three strings tuned alike, to increase the volume. A guitar represents the second method—the player's fingers push the string against the fingerboard so that the string is pressed firmly against a metal fret.
Pressing the string against a fret while plucking or strumming it shortens the vibrating part and thus produces a different note. Some zithers combine stoppable melody strings with a greater number of "open" harmony or chord 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 nyckelharpa and the hurdy-gurdy.
Such instruments usually have a fingerboard attached to the neck of the instrument, that provides a hard flat surface the player can stop the strings against. On some string instruments, the fingerboard has fretsraised ridges perpendicular to the strings, that stop the string at precise intervals, in which case the fingerboard is also called a fretboard.
Moving frets during performance is usually impractical.Louisiana's German history is an "open secret." During the years to , Germans were the largest foreign-language speaking group in Louisiana. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.
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Earliest string instruments. Dating to around c. 13, BC, a cave painting in the Trois Frères cave in France depicts what some believe is a musical bow, a hunting bow used as a single-stringed musical instrument. From the musical bow, families of stringed instruments developed; since each string played a single note, adding strings added new notes, creating bow harps, harps and lyres.
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