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The String Instruments

The String Instruments

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FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY

Nicanor Reyes St., Sampaloc Manila Institute of Arts and Science Humanities: Arts Appreciation HUM

The String Instruments

Submitted By: Francesca Lim Sahara Chic Samaniego Jobelle Pamittan Liu Xing Ye (Tony) Jamela Eunice Lucero Mario Dauz, Jr. Julius Adriano Franz Ignacio Felena Marie Baclagon

Block & Schedule: MC0928 / TF 3:00 – 4:30 PM Submitted To: Prof. Christian Lemuel Afundar Date: September 3, 2010

The String Instruments
A string instrument (or stringed instrument) is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in orgology, they are called chordophones. The most common string instruments in the string family are guitar, violin, viola, cello, double bass, banjo, mandolin,ukulele, and harp. Types of Playing Techniques
• •

PLUCKING – used as the sole method of playing on instruments such as guitar and hard, either by finger or thumb, or by some type of plectrum. BOWING – a method used in some string instruments, including violin, viola, cello and less commonly the bass. The bow consists of a stick with many hairs stretched between its ends. Bowing the instrument's string causes a stick-slip phenomenon to occur, which makes the string vibrate. STRIKING – this method yields a soft sound. The maneuver can also be executed with a finger on plucked and bowed instruments; guitarists refer to such technique as a 'hammer-on.'

Contact points along the string In bowed instruments, the bow is normally placed perpendicularly to the string, at a point half way 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 upperharmonics. Bowing above the fingerboard (sul tasto) produces a purer tone with less overtone strength, emphasizing thefundamental, also known as flautando, since it sounds less reedy and more flutelike. 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 A string at a certain tension and length will only produce one note (monophony), so to obtain multiple notes (polyphony), string instruments employ one of two methods. One is to add enough strings to cover the range of notes desired; the other is to allow the strings to be stopped. The piano is an example of the former method, where each note on the instrument has its own set of 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 hurdy gurdy). Such instruments usually have a fingerboard attached to the neck of the instrument, providing a hard flat surface against which the player can stop the strings. On some string instruments, the fingerboard has frets, raised ridges perpendicular to the strings that stop the string at precise intervals, in which case the fingerboard is called a fretboard.

Modern frets are typically specially shaped metal wire set into slots in the fretboard. Early frets were cords tied around the neck, still seen on some instruments as wraps of nylon monofilament. Such frets are tied tightly enough that moving them during performance is impractical. The bridges of a koto, on the other hand, may be moved by the player, occasionally in the course of a single piece of music. The middle Eastern string instrument the qanun, though it has many strings to give a selection of notes, is equipped with small levers called mandal that allow each course of multiple strings to be incrementally retuned "on the fly" while the instrument is being played. These levers raise or lower the pitch of the string course by a microtone, less than a half step. Similar mechanisms which change pitch by standard intervals (half-steps) are used on many modern Western harps, either directly moved by fingers (on Celtic harps) or controlled by foot pedals (on orchestral harps).

The Instruments

The Violin
The violin, the most commonly used member of the modern string family, is the highestsounding instrument of that group. Its four strings are stretched over a high arched bridge that permits the playing of one or two strings at a time, as well as the nearly simultaneous sounding of three or four as chords. The overall length of the violin averages about 60 cm (23.5 in), whereas the sounding length of the strings, from bridge to the nut at the end of the fingerboard, is about 32 cm (12.75 in). The instrument is held on the left side of the body, while the right hand holds the bow. The wider end of the instrument is placed between the player's left shoulder and chin, while the left hand encircles its neck, the fingers stopping the strings to produce the various pitches. Sound is produced by drawing the bow across the strings to make them vibrate, or by plucking the strings (PIZZICATO). The range of the violin extends from G, the lowest open string, upward nearly four octaves. The strings are tuned a fifth apart at G3(196 Hz), D4, A4, E5(659.3 Hz). Many consider that violin making reached its pinnacle in the work of Antonio Stradivari and Guiseppe Guarneri in the 18th century. Although the basic construction of the violin has been long established, the subtle variations which make an outstanding violin are the stuff of legend.

The sound quality can be changed considerably by the place where the string is bowed. If bowed close to the bridge (sul ponticello) then the sound is brighter with more harmonic content. If bowed further from the bridge (sul tasto) then the sound is darker, more mellow with less harmonic content.

The Viola

The four major instruments in the string family, the violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass, are built the same way. The instruments are made of many pieces of wood which are glued never nailed - together. The body of the instrument is hollow, thus becoming a resonating box for the sound. Four strings (sometimes five on the double-bass) made of animal gut, nylon, or steel are wrapped around pegs at one end of the instrument and attached to a tailpiece at the other. They are stretched tightly across a bridge to produce their assigned pitches. The viola is the alto voice in the string family. Like the violin, it is held under the chin, resting on the shoulder. Unlike the violin, the viola is slightly larger and is tuned five notes lower. It has a darker and warmer tone quality than the violin, but is not as brilliant.

The Cello
The cello, or violoncello, is the second largest member of theVIOLIN family of musical instruments. It is tuned an octave below the VIOLA and serves both as a melodic and bass instrument in chamber and orchestral music. The body of the cello is approximately 76 cm (30 in) long and is much deeper than those of the violin and viola. The cellist is seated and supports the instrument between his calves, with its lower end raised off the floor by an endpin. The strings are tuned a fifth apart at C2(65.4 Hz), G2(98 Hz), D3(146.8 Hz), A3(220 Hz) if tuned in equal temperament to the A4(440 Hz) standard. The top plate of the cello is made of spruce or pine because of their good sound radiating qualities. The sides and back plate are made of maple. The neck, pegbox and scroll are made of maple. A thin piece of ebony is glued to the top side of the neck to form the fingerboard. At the end of the neck where the pegboard is attached, a small grooved piece of ebony is attached for holding the strings in position. It is called the "nut". The strings pass over a bridge made of maple which transmits the vibrational energy from the strings to the body of the instrument. The top of the bridge is curved to match the contour of the top plate and to allow one string at a time to be bowed. String instruments characteristically produce a fundamental resonance plus all the string harmonics.

The Double Bass

The four major instruments in the string family, the violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass, are built the same way. The instruments are made of many pieces of wood which are glued - never nailed - together. The body of the instrument is hollow, thus becoming a resonating box for the sound. Four strings (sometimes five on the double-bass) made of animal gut, silk, nylon, palm fiber or steel are wrapped around pegs at one end of the instrument and attached to a tailpiece at the other. They are stretched tightly across a bridge to produce their assigned pitches. The double bass, or string bass is the largest and lowest instrument of the string family. The double bass has rounded shoulders instead of square shoulders like the other string instruments. Because of its size, the player stands or sits on a high stool to play it.

Acoustic Guitar
"Acoustic guitar" refers to hollow-bodied guitars without electric amplification. They may have nylon or steel strings. The strings of a six-string guitar are tuned to E, A, D, G, B, E, a fourth apart except for the major third interval between B and G. Frets are placed by the fret

rule "one-eighteenth the remaining length of the string". This makes them a semitone apart. Top plate made of spruce or cedar. Spruce more prevalent in steel string "folk" acoustics while cedars are more prevalent in classical guitars. Williams, Jim, A Guitar Makers Manual. Brazilian rosewood is favored for making the backs and sides of a guitar because it is very hard and tends to contribute to a brighter sound. A round hole 3 1/4" to 3 1/2" in diameter in the top plate creates a cavity resonance which strengthens the sound produced.

The Harp

The harp is not like any other member of the string family. It has about 45 strings stretched across its tall triangular frame. The strings are plucked by hand while seven pedals at the bottom of the harp adjust the length of the strings to produce additional notes.

From The Samples
(Title and Short Description Of the Four Major String Instruments)

VIOLIN
1. Nicolo Paganini's Caprice No. 24 - the final caprice of Niccolò Paganini's 24 Caprices, and a famous work for solo violin. The work, in the key of A minor, consists of a theme, 11 variations, and a finale. It is widely considered one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the solo violin. It requires many highly advanced techniques such as parallel octaves and rapid shifting covering many intervals, extremely fast scales and arpeggios including minor scales in thirds and tenths, left hand pizzicato, high positions, and quick string crossing. As a result, most violinists even after studying for many years still lack the technique required for such a demanding piece. 2. Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto No. 11 in C minor - from Vivaldi's Opus 9; 1st Movement. Dedicated to Emperor Charles VI in 1728. Opus 9 is Vivaldi's last great set of published concertos.

VIOLA
1. Bach's 2nd Suite (Prelude mov't) performed by Joel Kennedy - this Prelude consists of two parts, the first of which has a strong recurring theme that is immediately introduced in the beginning. The second part is a scale-based cedenza movement that leads to the final, powerful chords. 2. An excerpt from Passacaglia Duo for Violin & Cello (or Viola by Johan Halvorsen after Handel's Suite no. 7 - Passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used by contemporary composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre.

CELLO
1. Johann Sebastian Bach's Sarabande - the sarabande is from J.S Bach's fifth suite, the second and third beats are often tied, giving it a distinctive rhythym in alteration. 2. Johann Sebastian Bach's Courante - the Courante is from one of J.S Bach's six movements. His cello suites are the most consistent in order of their movements to achieve a symmetrical design and go beyond the traditional layout.

DOUBLE BASS
1. Sergei Koussevitzky 's Concerto for doublebass - orchestra, 1st movement. Performed by François Péloquin of Ensemble Sinfonia. 2. Domenico Dragonetti's Double Bass Concert II - performed by Juan Gregorio Baquero and the Bogota's Philharmonic Orchestra. Dragonetti was known for his formidable strength and stamina. It was particularly important at a time when the role of the double bass in the orchestra was to assist the concertmaster.

REFERENCES:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/music/violin.html#c1 http://www.dsokids.com/listen/instrumentdetail.aspx?instrumentid=5 http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/music/cello.html#c1 http://www.dsokids.com/listen/InstrumentDetail.aspx?instrumentID=7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_instrument

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