Let's start with one of the largest and most important families of instruments: "The String Family". As already mentioned, there are three major members of the string family: the violin, the viola, and the cello. In a very basic sense, these instruments are simply the same instrument to a larger or smaller scale. On the following pages, we will go into more depth on the differences between these instruments, but first let's talk about the many similarities.
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The members of the string family all share many similarities, which are immediately obvious upon seeing a few of these instruments. Let's discuss the physical attributes which all the stringed instruments share. First of all, these instruments are all made out of wood and usually come out to be a dark brownish or reddish color. The familiar curved shape and f-holes of the stringed instruments are readily apparent to most people and remains constant among the family.
The fingerboard, made out of ebony or rosewood also
appears the same on the stringed instruments with its long black
length. In addition, all of the stringed instruments have 4
strings which are wound around the pegs (located in the scroll) and stretched down to the
tailpiece, while crossing over the bridge. Finally, the string family
instruments require a similar style bow with a long wood shaft holding a length of
Similarities in Usage
In addition to physical similarities, the method of playing for the stringed instruments is also similar. The sound production occurs when the bow is drawn across the strings. As this occurs, the strings vibrate, which in turn makes the bridge and eventually the entire instrument vibrate. This process of sound production occurs in a similar fashion in all of the stringed instruments. Of course the manner of playing does differ from instrument to instrument. For example, violins and violas must be played while held between the shoulder and chin while cellos are placed on the floor between the legs.
Proper care is another area in which all stringed instruments
are treated similarly. To function properly, the stringed
instruments must be stored in a place with constant temperature and
humidity. Improper storage can lead to cracking, warping, or
separation of glue. Also, the bow hair must be loosened when not in
use to prevent unnecessary strain on the wood of the bow.
Now that you know a little bit about the string family in
general, we bet you're dying to learn more about the specific
instruments! Well, by all means, continue forward using the silver
links below and find out all about these instruments.