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The Evolution of String Instruments

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Sebastian Cevallos

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of The Evolution of String Instruments

The Evolution of String Instruments
History of Stringed Instruments
The oldest of string instruments date back to 2500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, where antique lyres were found.
Modern String Instruments
Today, guitar, violin, and piano are among the most common string instruments used in song composition.
What is a string instrument?
A device for producing musical sound through the use of vibrations on stretched strings,
How are stringed instruments played?
Lute History
Lutes immigrated from the Middle East to Europe sometime in the Middle Ages and with so many appealing qualities, became really popular in the late 15th century.
Picture taken from:
String instruments made up of a body and a neck on which the strings are supported.
The word 'lute' is derived from the Arabic word " "
String instruments in which the strings are contained within a frame.
The word harp comes from the old English word "hearpe."
String instruments in which the strings are mounted on a body.
The word "zither" derives from old German
or , from the latin word cithara.
zitara cithara
A presentation by Sebastian Cevallos
Plucking is using a finger to pull a string to create the vibration. Strumming, similarly, is running your fingers (or a pick) across the strings to create the vibration.
Using a tool known as a bow, made of horsehair, to cause the string to vibrate.
Hitting the strings in some way.
A piano, technically being a keyed zither, produces sound by the little hammers that strike the strings.
Sometimes, violin players are instructed to strike the strings with the bow, a method called
col legno.
In Gustav Holst's, The Planets, the movement "Mars - the Bringer of War," you can see the violin players striking the strings.
Aside from the harp, all the orchestral string instruments are bowed.
Modern bows have the arch supporting the horsehair bending inwards, toward the horsehair.


One of the most widely known plucked/strummed string instruments is the guitar.
Violins and other normally bowed instruments may be instructed to pluck their strings, a method called

One interesting alternative to playing string instruments is through the "E-Bow," an electric bow that causes the strings to vibrate with the use of a small magnetic field.
After lyre-playing became really popular in ancient Greece, lyre playing was depicted on pottery and was even involved in Ancient Greek mythology.
Innovations began to be made in the 16th century, such as adding more strings, extending the instrument's range.
Finally, Lutes began to die off in
the 17th century, when keyboards
began to take off, however lutes continue to live
on as a staple in stringed instrument's
Zither History
The earliest known zither is the guqin, a fretless instrument that originated in China, dating back to 433BC, and has a history that spans thousands of years.
The zither became popular in the US during the early 20th century, up until around the 1920's. This random popularity was again revived in the US in the 50's.
The modern concert zither continues to be used today infrequently.
These instruments have developed their versatility, evolving through history.
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