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The string section consists of four main instruments - the violins, violas, cellos and double basses. In an orchestra, the violins are usually divided into 2 or occasionally 3 sections, and the double basses may sometimes share the same score as the cello.
The string instruments all share the same design. Four (or sometimes 5 for the double bass) strings of metal, nylon or gut are stretched across a hollow, wooden body. At one end they are affixed to the tuning-pegs, across the bridge to the other end where they are attached to the tailpiece. More than 200 strands of horsehair are stretched taut across a wooden stick to form the bow.
Sound is produced in three ways - by drawing the bow across the strings (arco), plucking the strings with the player’s fingertips (pizzicato), or tapping the strings with the wood of the bow (col legno). The pitch depends on the length, thickness and tension of the vibrating portion of the string. The player shortens the strings by using his fingers to press them down on the fingerboard, so that only the length from the stopped point to the bridge will vibrate.
When playing in a group, the individual sounds of the string instruments tend to blend together into a harmonious whole.
Violin - Strings tuned to G, D, A, E