String instruments produce sound from vibrating strings, this will occur when the strings are bowed or plucked. The vibrations produced cause vibrations in the body and the air inside as well to make a sound. Strings instruments include the Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass and Silent Strings.

Violins

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This instrument is also known as a Fiddle, the Violin has 4 strings. The sound is produced by drawing a bow across one or more strings; you can also press your fingers onto the strings or pluck the strings to produce different notes.

The Violin is the smallest string instrument with the highest pitch. This is usually tuned in perfect fifths.

 

 

Violas

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The Viola is slightly bigger than the Violin and plays a much deeper sound. Because of this it is often used for solos. The Viola is more popular than many people think with Viola music writing being just as demanding as that for other stringed instruments.

When music is written for the Viola it’s written in alto clef which is rarely used for other stringed instruments.

 

 

Cellos

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The cello is one of the bigger string instruments and often used for solo performances. The cellist will sit down to play this instrument mainly due to its size. They would sit with their legs at a ‘V’ with feet flat on the floor and the cello leant against their thighs.

It also has an endpin that you can pull out at the bottom of the Cello and position to the length that is suitable for you. The endpin rests on the floor to help support the instruments weight.

The Cello is tuned in the same intervals as the Viola but an octave lower.

 

Double Basses

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This instrument is the largest member of the string instrument family and the lowest pitched. It’s the only modern stringed instrument that is tuned in fourths rather than fifths.

The Double Bass is extremely versatile and can be heard in many different types of music. Styles range from classical to blues and jazz to rock. The bassist will use a mixture of bowing and plucking techniques when playing this instrument.

Because of the size of the Double Bass it is played standing up or the bassist can sit on a tool stool and have the instrument leant against them.

 

Silent Strings

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Electric instruments rely on an electronic amp to produce sound. You can get an electric Violin, Cello and Double Bass. Many designers of these types of instruments change the design so you may not recognise it. They look very lightweight with not much body unlike a normal Violin, Cello or Double Bass.

You may recognise the electric instruments from the popular group eScala who featured on Britain’s Got Talent in 2008.

 

I hope this list has been helpful and you now have a better understanding of all the instruments in the string family. If you have any questions please contact our sales team and they will be happy to answer any questions email: sales@normans.co.uk or call: 01283 535333.

About the author

Georgia was with Normans on a years placement from Nottingham Trent University where she was studying Information Systems.

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