Published on : 18 June 20203 min reading time

You are a music lover and have decided to buy your musical instrument? Be aware that there are many families of instruments, and the stringed instrument is one of them. Note that there are small sub-categories, such as string tools with keyboard, plucked strings and rubbed strings. Also, in the following lines, discover some details about the different types of stringed instruments and their specific characteristics.

A few words about stringed instruments

Also known as the “cordophone”, the stringed instrument is an instrument designed to produce musical sounds, the sound-producing part of which is composed of one or more strings. In fact, it is the vibration of the strings that makes the musical sound appear. Generally, we distinguish 3 types of string instruments: the struck string instrument (examples: the tympanon, the cymbalum, the piano…), the rubbed string instrument (examples: double bass, cello, viola, violin…) and the plucked string instrument (examples: the oud, the theorbo and lute, harp, guitar, harpsichord, banjo…). For the plucked stringed instrument, the instrumentalist strikes the strings with a bow.

A small remark: the expert who is profusely furnished with the maintenance and the manufacture of this initial family of tools is named luthier.

The harp: a musical instrument with plucked strings

This object made (with plucked strings) to make sounds, is most frequently triangular in shape, with wires stretched in different lengths, the shortest of which produce the sounds at the highest frequencies. It is an asymmetrical stringed instrument for making sounds, unlike the lyre, whose wires are stretched among the double parallel strings. The musician playing the harp is called a harpist.

Originally, there were two kinds of harps: the angular harp and the arched harp. Together with some percussion instruments and the flute, it is one of the oldest musical instruments. It probably originated from an object that can produce a sound verified by an instrumentalist whose string emits and vibrates a musical sound, relaxed and taut.

The Tympanon: a musical instrument with struck strings

The stringed instrument in question, with a keyboard that is the ancestor of the modern piano, is a tympanon where a key mechanism of an instrument manipulates the hammers. One of its immediate predecessors is the Greco-Bactrian king. This sound element is composed of cavities of a musical art amplifying vibrations to sounds. The strings are struck with steel sticks or tangents or hammers.  At the beginning of the 18th century, this dulcimer is at the specific disposal of the scale.

The cordophone named tympanon is a history of old flat-box and pinched-stringed cordophones in which the strings are struck with light hammers rather than being pinched. These European sound elements in question, such as Persian, Romanian tambal, Alpine hackbrett, Turkish santur, Hungarian cymbálum, Greek santouri, and Chinese yangqin, each have double or more steel strings, elongated in a cavity sound, commonly in the shape of a trapezium. These strings pass over one as well as under the other, two long thin pieces of wood which place on the sound element table to support the elongated strings, which descend successively to the left and to the right to facilitate a too agitated playing with plectrums or fingers. It is likely that eardrums arrived in central Europe from ancient Persia in the 15th century.