A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a stringed instrument. For hand-held instruments such as guitars and mandolins, the plectrum is called a pick and is a separate tool held in the player's hand. In harpsichords, the plectra are attached to the jack mechanism. A plectrum for electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitars and mandolins is a thin piece of plastic or other material shaped like a pointed teardrop or triangle; the size and width may vary considerably. Banjo and guitar players may wear a metal or plastic thumb pick mounted on a ring, bluegrass banjo players wear metal or plastic fingerpicks on their fingertips. Guitarists use fingerpicks. Guitar picks are made of a variety of materials, including celluloid and other exotic materials such as turtle shell, but today delrin is the most common. For other instruments in the modern day most players use plastic plectra but a variety of other materials, including wood and felt are common. Guitarists in the rock, blues and bluegrass genres tend to use a plectrum because the use of steel strings tends to wear out the fingernails and because a plectrum provides a more "focused" and "aggressive" sound.

Many guitarists use the pick and the remaining right-hand fingers to combine some advantages of flat-picking and finger picking. This technique is called hybrid picking. A plectrum of the guitar type is called a pick; the plectra for the Japanese biwa and shamisen can be quite large, those used for the Arabic oud are longer and narrower, replacing the used eagle feather. Plectra used for Chinese instruments such as the sanxian were made of animal horn, though many players today use plastic plectra. In a harpsichord, there is a separate plectrum for each string; these plectra are small only about 10 millimeters long, about 1.5 millimeters wide, half a millimeter thick. The plectrum is tapered, being narrowest at the plucking end; the top surface of the plectrum is flat and horizontal and is held in the tongue of the jack, which permits it to pluck moving upward and pass silently past the string moving downward. In the historical period of harpsichord construction plectra were made of sturdy feather quills from crows or ravens.

In Italy, some makers used vulture quills. Other Italian harpsichords employed plectra of leather. In late French harpsichords by the great builder Pascal Taskin, peau de buffle, a chamois-like material from the hide of the European bison, was used for plectra to produce a delicate pianissimo. Modern harpsichords employ plectra made with plastic the plastic known as acetal; some plectra are of the homopolymer variety of acetal, sold by DuPont under the name "Delrin", while others are of the copolymer variety, sold by Ticona as "Celcon". Harpsichord technicians and builders use the trade names to refer to these materials. In either of its varieties, acetal is far more durable than quill, which cuts down on the time that must be spent in voicing. Several contemporary builders and players have reasserted the superiority of bird quill for high-level harpsichords. While the difference in sound between acetal and quill is acknowledged to be small, what difference may exist is held to be to the advantage of quill.

In addition, quill plectra are observed to fail giving warning by the diminishing volume, whereas acetal plectra fail and sometimes in the middle of a performance. The plectra of a harpsichord must be cut in a process called "voicing". A properly voiced plectrum will pluck the string in a way that produces a good musical tone and matches well in loudness with all of the other strings; the underside of the plectrum must be appropriately slanted and smooth, so that the jack will not "hang" when, after sounding a note, it is moved back down below the level of the string. Voicing is carried out by inserting the plectrum into the jack placing the jack on a small wooden voicing block, so that the top of the plectrum sits flush with the block; the plectrum is cut and thinned on the underside with a small sharp knife, such as an X-Acto knife. As the plectrum is progressively trimmed, its jack is replaced in the instrument at intervals to test the result for loudness, tone quality, the possibility of hanging.

Voicing is a refined skill, carried out fluently by professional builders, but one that must be learned by harpsichord owners. First attested in English 15th century, the word "plectrum" comes from Latin plectrum, itself derived from Greek πλῆκτρον, "anything to strike with, an instrument for striking the lyre, a spear point"."Plectrum" has both a Latin-based plural, plectra and a native English plural, plectrums. Plectra is used in formal writing in discussing the harpsichord as an instrument of classical music, while plectrums is more common in ordinary speech. Crosspicking Fingerpick Flatpicking Guitar pick Hybrid picking Mezrab String instrument Hubbard, Frank Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Jensen, David P. "A Florentine Harpsichord: Revealing a Transitional Technology" Early Music, February issue, pp. 71–85. Kottick, Edward L; the Harpsichord Owner's Guide. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press; the discovery of delrin as a harpsichord plectrum material.

Harpsichord, vol 4, no. 2, pp. 18–19. On line at

Hayden Scott-Baron

Hayden Scott-Baron, known as Dock, is an English professional self-biographer and graphic designer. In 2001 he joined up with other comic creators Laura Watton, Sam Brown/Subi and Foxy in founding one of the largest UK Manga Studios, Sweatdrop Studios, he is a prominent games developer, established Starfruit Games in 2010. Hayden has written several'how-to' books on the topic of drawing manga, including'Digital Manga Techniques'and'Manga Clip Art', he lives in Cambridge, UK, attends UK anime conventions, representing Sweatdrop Studios. Hayden was awarded second-prize in the'Tokyopop Rising Stars of Manga: UK & Ireland #3' for a comic named'Two for Joy'. In December 2009 Dock became the artist for Minecraft, working alongside the sole developer, Markus Persson. However, he soon left in February, 2010 due to work-related issues. In January 2010 he released. Tumbledrop was nominated as a finalist for'Technical Achievement' award at IGF Mobile 2010. Kinectimals, Frontier Developments Ltd. Tumbledrop iPhone, Starfruit Games Ltd.

Tumbledrop, Starfruit Games Ltd. LostWinds, Frontier Developments Ltd. Thrillville: Off the Rails, LucasArts Thrillville, LucasArts RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked!, Atari Europe S. A. S. U. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild!, Inc. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Atari do Brasil Ltda. RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Time Twister, Inc. Digital Manga Techniques Manga Clip Art Making Anime: Create Mesmerising Manga-Style Animation with Pencils and Pixels Sugardrops Blue is for Boys Cold Sweat & Tears Rising Stars of Manga UK & EIRE #3 – Hayden Scott-Baron's Mobygames listing. – Starfruit Games, the game developer established by Hayden Scott-Baron – Home to Dock's artwork

A War of Gifts: An Ender Story

A War of Gifts: An Ender Story is a 2007 science fiction novel by American writer Orson Scott Card. This book is set in Card's Ender's Game series and takes place during Ender Wiggin's time at Battle School as described in Card's novels Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. Zeck Morgan – the anti-hero protagonist. Reverend Habit Morgan – Zeck's father Unnamed – Zeck's mother Unnamed – Zeck's three younger siblings Ender Wiggin Peter Wiggin – Ender's older brother Valentine Wiggin – Ender's older sister John Paul Wiggin – Ender's father Theresa Wiggin – Ender's mother Dink Meeker – Dutch boy "Rose de Nose" Rosen Filippus "Flip" Rietveld – Dutch boy Bonzo Madrid Ahmed – Pakistani student Captain Brridegan Agnes O'Toole – IF tester Colonel Graff – Battle School commander A War of Gifts was not well received by genre critics; the chief complaint with the story is that although it raises the issues of faith, religious freedom and religious suppression, it does so in a superficial manner. Some critics have commented on the character of Ender Wiggin, described as being too Christ-like to be believable.

A Publishers Weekly review described it as "an amusing and sincere tale". Chapter 2 of the piece, "Ender's Stocking," appeared in electronic form as the first third of the short story "Ender's Stocking," published in the October 2007 issue of Card's webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show; this chapter has been criticized for seeming to be unrelated to the rest of the book and for detracting from the rest of the story. In 2016 the author released an abridged form of the story titled The War of Gifts for inclusion in the anthology Decision Points. In addition to being set during Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, the Islamic counter reaction to the Christmas celebrations in A War of Gifts sows the seeds for the creation of the Muslim Caliphate by Battle School graduates which plays a major role in the Shadow series. Ender's Game List of Ender's Game characters List of works by Orson Scott Card Publication information for A War of Gifts available from Card’s website A War of Gifts: An Ender Story title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database