A sound hole is an opening in the body of a stringed musical instrument the upper sound board. Sound holes have different shapes: Round in traditional bowl-back mandolins. A round or oval hole or a rosette is a single one, under the strings. C-holes, D-holes and F-holes are made in pairs placed symmetrically on both sides of the strings. Most hollowbody and semi-hollow electric guitars have F-holes. Though sound holes help acoustic instruments project sound more efficiently, sound does not emanate from the sound hole. Sound emanates from the surface area of the sounding boards, with sound holes providing an opening into the resonant chamber formed by the body, letting the sounding boards vibrate more and letting vibrating air inside the instrument travel outside the instrument. In 2015, researchers at MIT, in collaboration with violin makers at North Bennet Street School, published an analysis that charted the evolution and improvements in effectiveness of violin F-hole design over time; some Ovation stringed instruments feature a unique soundhole architecture with multiple smaller soundholes that, being combined with a composite composite bowl back body are said to produce a clear and bright sound.
Tacoma Guitars has developed a unique "paisley" soundhole placed on the left side of the upper bout of their "Wing Series" guitars. This is a low-stress area that requires less bracing to support the hole. A few hollowbody or semi-hollow electric guitars, such as the Fender Telecaster Thinline and the Gibson ES-120T, have one f-hole instead of two on the bass side. B&G Guitars, a private build guitar company from Tel Aviv, uses their signature "backwards" sound holes on their guitarsHoles not positioned on the top of an acoustic guitar are called soundports, they are supplementary to a main soundhole, located on an instrument's side facing upward in playing position, allowing players to monitor their own sound. Stringworks U - brief explanation of the effects of sound holes, with a closeup diagram of an F-shaped soundhole
Tuning mechanisms for stringed instruments
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, boxwood or other material; some tuning pegs are ornamented with metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings. A peg has a knob on it to allow it to be turned. A tuning pin is a tuning peg with a detachable grip, called a tuning lever; the socket on the tuning lever allows it to be turned. Tuning pins are used on instruments where there is not space for a knob on each string, such as pianos and harps. Turning the peg tightens or loosens the string, changing the pitch produced when the string is played and thereby tuning it. A pegbox is the part of certain stringed musical instruments. A tapered peg is a smooth peg with a string wound around it; the tension of the string is controlled by turning the peg, the peg is held in place by friction in its hole. A properly working peg will turn and hold reliably, that is, it will neither stick nor slip. Modern pegs for violin and viola have conical shafts, turned to a 1:30 taper, changing in diameter by 1 mm over a distance of 30 mm.
Modern cello pegs have a more aggressive 1:25 taper. 19th century and earlier pegs, for use with stretchier gut strings had an steeper taper of 1:20. The taper allows the peg to turn more when pulled out and to hold when pushed in while being turned. Since the typical wear pattern on a peg shaft interferes with this action, pegs require refitting, a specialized job which amounts to reshaping both pegs and holes to a smooth circular conical taper. Tapered tuning pins are similar, but must be turned with a tuning tool called a tuning key, tuning lever, or tuning wrench. Pins were tapered, but they are now threaded, instead. Tapered pegs are a simple, ancient design, common in many musical traditions. Tapered pegs are common on classical Indian instruments such as the sitar, the Saraswati veena, the sarod, but some like the esraj and Mohan veena use modern tuning machines instead. Tapered pegs are used on older European instruments, such as the Bulgarian gadulka and the hurdy-gurdy, as well as on flamenco guitars.
Among modern western musical instruments, tapered pegs are most used on violin family instruments, though the double bass uses tuning machines. "Peg dope" is a substance used to coat the bearing surfaces of the tapered tuning pegs of string instruments. Manufactured varieties are sold in either a small stick, a block, or as a liquid in a bottle. Used home expedient treatments may include soap, graphite, or talc. Peg dope serves two different purposes, it both lubricates the peg shaft so it turns in the pegbox and provides friction to keep the pegs from slipping with the force of string tension. Tuning pegs that are well fitted and properly doped will both turn smoothly throughout an entire rotation and hold wherever the player wishes. Without the proper amount of friction to hold the peg in place, a tapered tuning peg will tend to "slip", making a tuning setting impossible to maintain. String instruments with pegs that are slipping can be tuned but will be out of tune within minutes as soon as the peg slips again.
With too much friction, adjusting the tuning at all is impossible. If the pegs or their holes are not round, or if the bearing surfaces of the pegs are indented from wear, peg dope will not remedy the resulting problems; some pegs and pins are threaded with a shallow, fine thread. They are not tapered, but straight, they go into straight-sided holes. Like tapered pins, threaded pins must be set in a pin block of hard wood, such as cherry or white oak, or they will not stay in tune well; some pin block woods come from endangered trees. Some specialized plywoods can be used Threaded tuners are durable, will take high string tensions, they do not push outwards on the hole and wedge the wood apart, which can reduce the risk of splitting it. They can be set in blind holes, they can, however be set in holes drilled right through the wood, to look like older pins. Threaded pins can be installed with an arbor press, do not need to be re-set, but should be backed off a few turns when changing a string to keep pin height even.
Tuning pins may be known as wrest pins or zither pins, regardless of the instrument on which they are used. They are used on instruments with many close strings, as they are cheaper. Modern pianos use threaded pins, as do many harps, dulcimers and other instruments. Fine tuners are used on the tailpiece of some stringed instruments, as a supplement to the tapered pegs at the other end. Tapered pegs are harder to use to make small adjustments to pitch. Fine tuners are not geared, they have a screw with a knurled head, whose lower end advances against one end of a lever with a right-angle bend in it. The string is fastened to the other end of the lever, tightening the screw tightens the string. With the screw at the lower limit of its travel, the lever can come close enough to the instrument's top to pose a risk of scarring it. To avoid damage to the top, the screw may be turned out as far as it goes while still engaging the lever, the string re-tuned using the peg. Fine tuners can buzz, may cut strings if not filed smooth before us
Nut (string instrument)
A nut, on a stringed musical instrument, is a small piece of hard material that supports the strings at the end closest to the headstock or scroll. The nut marks one end of the vibrating length of each open string, sets the spacing of the strings across the neck, holds the strings at the proper height from the fingerboard. Along with the bridge, the nut defines the vibrating lengths of the open strings; the nut may be made of ebony, cow bone, Corian or plastic, is notched or grooved for the strings. The grooves are designed to lead the string from the fingerboard to the headstock or pegbox in a smooth curve, to prevent damage to the strings or their windings. Bowed string instruments in particular benefit from an application of soft pencil graphite in the notches of the nut, to preserve the delicate flat windings of their strings; the word may have come from the German Nut, meaning slot. The nut, however, is called a de:Sattel in German, whereas the part of a guitar known as the saddle in English, the surface of the bridge on which the strings rest, is called a de:Stegeinlage or Steg, in German.
In French, the nut is known as a fr:sillet, like German, can translate to mean saddle. The Italian term, capo tasto, is the origin of the capo. Not all string instruments have nuts as described: The nuts on some instruments are notched enough that they are just string spacers; these instruments use a zero fret—a fret at the beginning of the scale where a normal nut would be that provides the correct string clearance. The zero fret is found on less expensive instruments, as it is easier to set up an instrument this way. However, a zero fret makes the sound of the open string similar to fretted notes. A conventional nut can make open strings sound different—and for this reason some high-end instruments use a zero fret. String slots in a nut without a zero fret must be cut to the proper depth to make string height correct. Strings that are too low at the nut can buzz against the frets, too high throws off intonation of fretted notes; some fretted instruments have a compensated nut. This type of nut provides better average theoretical intonation across the instrument, although this improved accuracy may be below the threshold of human ability to hear it and may be below the threshold of uncontrollable note-to-note intonation variability.
The principle: given that strings are different thicknesses and have different tensions, the temperament of each fret is not 100% accurate for an equal temperament instrument. This is evident on the first few frets of an electric guitar. Many guitar players notice. A compensated nut aims to correct this, by staggering the starting position of each string according to thickness. While not a complete solution such as a true temperament fretboard, there is a noticeable difference in tuning within chords. Many guitar companies, such as Music Man, ESP include compensated nuts as standard on most of their instruments, companies such as Earvana provide retrofittable types. Another type is a locking nut; this nut—usually used in conjunction with a locking vibrato system such as a Floyd Rose or Kahler—clamps the strings against the nut. This improves tuning stability. A drawback however, is that the locking nut must be loosened using an Allen wrench to tune outside the range of the fine tuners on the bridge.
The erhu does not use a hard nut to define the vibrating length of the open string, but rather a qiān jin: a loop of string, or, less a metal hook. Some guitars have a rolling nut. In this design, made popular by the Fender company, the strings sit on roller bearings instead of nut slots; the rollers let the string slide or roll through the nut. The roller nut helps keep the guitar in tune by preventing the strings from getting stuck in the nut; the term nut is to refer to bridges on certain keyboard instruments. On harpsichords, it designates the non-sounding bridge located near the tuning pins away from the player. On virginals, the term designates the bridge on the left side, away from the tuning pins; the term is not always applied consistently. Capo Zero fret Bridge
A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar or similar stringed instrument such as a lute, banjo and others of the lute lineage. The main function of a headstock is to house the pegs or mechanism that holds the strings at the "head" of the instrument. At the "tail" of the instrument the strings are held by a tailpiece or bridge. Machine heads on the headstock are used to tune the instrument by adjusting the tension of strings and, the pitch of sound they produce. Two traditional layouts of guitar tuners are called "3+3" and "6 in line" tuners, though many other combinations are known for bass guitars and non-6-string guitars; when there are no machine heads, the guitar headstock may be missing as in Steinberger guitar or some Chapman stick models. The headstock may be glued to the neck using some sort of joint. There are two major trends in headstock construction, based on how the string will go after passing the nut; the advantages and disadvantages of both trends are debatable and subjective, so these two variants are used: Straight headstocks form a single plane with a flat surface of neck.
This makes the headstock easier to manufacture. Fender uses non-angled, straight headstocks; because of the low angle of the string over the nut, string trees may be used to avoid the string coming out of the nut while playing. Angled headstocks form some kind of acute angle with a surface of neck; the value of "magic angle" that gives the best tone and stability is very debatable, but it is in a range from 3° to 25°. For example, various manufacturers and particular guitar models use: Guitars 4°: Guild 11°: Martin 12°: Bigsby, Yamaha SGV 13°: Peavey, Warmoth 14°: Gibson Firebird V and VII, Gibson X-plorer, some vintage Gibson guitars, most budget Epiphone replicas of Gibson models 17°: Gibson ES-335, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Epiphone Casino Bass guitars 10°: all Gibson basses 12°: Yamaha SBV 14°: most Epiphone replicas of Gibson models 24°: KinalLuthiers of both styles cite better sound, longer sustain and strings staying in tune longer as advantages of each style. Fragile construction is cited as a disadvantage of each style too: single-piece necks are more to break on occasional hit and are harder to repair, while glued-in necks can break with time.
Apart from its main function, the headstock is an important decorative detail of a guitar. It is the place; some guitars without machine heads have a headstock for purely decorative reasons. Most major guitar brands have signature headstock designs that make their guitars or guitar series recognizable; as seen in a section below "copied" at the first glance designs retain clear visible changes in dimensions, proportions of elements, etc. so it is always possible to tell a major brand of a guitar by looking at headstock. On some electric guitars and basses the finish used on the body is applied to the face of the headstock. Matched-headstock models carry a price premium over their plain counterparts due to the extra processes involved in the finishing process. Although Fender no longer offers matched headstocks on production models made in the United States or Mexico, certain models from Fender Japan are available with matched headstocks; the definition of a "matched headstock" varies between manufacturers and players - for example, the headstocks of Gibson guitars are nearly always black, it is debatable whether a black-bodied Gibson has a matching headstock.
A guitar is only considered to have a matching headstock if the guitar is produced without matching body and headstock finishes
The viola is a string instrument, bowed or played with varying techniques. It is larger than a violin and has a lower and deeper sound. Since the 18th century, it has been the middle or alto voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello; the strings from low to high are tuned to C3, G3, D4, A4. In the past, the viola varied in style, as did its names; the word viola originates from Italian. The Italians used the term: "viola da braccio" meaning literally:'of the arm'. "Brazzo" was another Italian word for the viola. The French had their own names: cinquiesme was a small viola, haute contre was a large viola, taile was a tenor. Today, the French use the term alto, a reference to its range; the viola was popular in the heyday of five-part harmony, up until the eighteenth century, taking three lines of the harmony and playing the melody line. Music for the viola differs from most other instruments in that it uses the alto clef; when viola music has substantial sections in a higher register, it switches to the treble clef to make it easier to read.
The viola plays the "inner voices" in string quartets and symphonic writing, it is more than the first violin to play accompaniment parts. The viola plays a major, soloistic role in orchestral music. Examples include the symphonic poem Don Quixote by Richard Strauss and the symphony Harold en Italie by Hector Berlioz. In the earlier part of the 20th century, more composers began to write for the viola, encouraged by the emergence of specialized soloists such as Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. English composers Arthur Bliss, York Bowen, Benjamin Dale, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams all wrote substantial chamber and concert works. Many of these pieces were written for Lionel Tertis. William Walton, Bohuslav Martinů, Toru Takemitsu, Tibor Serly, Alfred Schnittke, Béla Bartók have written well-known viola concertos. Paul Hindemith, a violist, wrote a substantial amount of music for viola, including the concerto Der Schwanendreher; the concerti by Paul Hindemith, Béla Bartók, William Walton are considered the "big three" of viola repertoire.
The viola is similar in construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between 25 mm and 100 mm longer than the body of a full-size violin, with an average length of 41 cm. Small violas made for children start at 30 cm, equivalent to a half-size violin. For a child who needs a smaller size, a fractional-sized violin is strung with the strings of a viola. Unlike the violin, the viola does not have a standard full size; the body of a viola would need to measure about 51 cm long to match the acoustics of a violin, making it impractical to play in the same manner as the violin. For centuries, viola makers have experimented with the size and shape of the viola adjusting proportions or shape to make a lighter instrument with shorter string lengths, but with a large enough sound box to retain the viola sound. Prior to the eighteenth century, violas had no uniform size. Large violas were designed to play the lower register viola lines or second viola in five part harmony depending on instrumentation.
A smaller viola, nearer the size of the violin, was called an alto viola. It was more suited to higher register writing, as in the viola 1 parts, as their sound was richer in the upper register, its size was not as conducive to a full tone in the lower register. Several experiments have intended to increase the size of the viola to improve its sound. Hermann Ritter's viola alta, which measured about 48 cm, was intended for use in Wagner's operas; the Tertis model viola, which has wider bouts and deeper ribs to promote a better tone, is another "nonstandard" shape that allows the player to use a larger instrument. Many experiments with the acoustics of a viola increasing the size of the body, have resulted in a much deeper tone, making it resemble the tone of a cello. Since many composers wrote for a traditional-sized viola in orchestral music, changes in the tone of a viola can have unintended consequences upon the balance in ensembles. One of the most notable makers of violas of the twentieth century was Englishman A. E. Smith, whose violas are sought after and valued.
Many of his violas remain in Australia, his country of residence, where during some decades the violists of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra had a dozen of them in their section. More recent innovations have addressed the ergonomic problems associated with playing the viola by making it shorter and lighter, while finding ways to keep the traditional sound; these include the Otto Erdesz "cutaway" viola, which has one shoulder cut out to make shifting easier. Other experiments that deal with the "ergonomics vs. sound" problem have appeared. The American composer Harry Partch fitted a viola with a cello neck to allow the use of his 43-tone scale. Luthiers have created five-stringed violas, which allow a greater playing range. A person who plays the viola is called a violist or a viola
The cello or violoncello is a string instrument. It is played by bowing or plucking its four strings, which are tuned in perfect fifths an octave lower than the viola: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3, it is the bass member of the violin family, which includes the violin and the double bass, which doubles the bass line an octave lower than the cello in much of the orchestral repertoire. After the double bass, it is the second-largest and second lowest bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra; the cello is used as a solo instrument, as well as in chamber music ensembles, string orchestras, as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras, most modern Chinese orchestras, some types of rock bands. Music for the cello is written in the bass clef, but both tenor clef and treble clef are used for higher-range parts, both in orchestral/chamber music parts and in solo cello works. A person who plays the cello is called a violoncellist. In a small classical ensemble, such as a string quartet, the cello plays the bass part, the lowest-pitched musical line of the piece.
In an orchestra of the Baroque era and Classical period, the cello plays the bass part doubled an octave lower by the double basses. In Baroque-era music, the cello is used to play the basso continuo bassline along with a keyboard instrument or a fretted, plucked stringed instrument. In such a Baroque performance, the cello player might be joined or replaced by other bass instruments, playing bassoon, double bass, viol or other low-register instruments; the name cello is derived from the ending of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone". Violone was a large-sized member of the violin family; the term "violone" today refers to the lowest-pitched instrument of the viols, a family of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except England and France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument.
Thus, the name "violoncello" contained both the augmentative "-one" and the diminutive "-cello". By the turn of the 20th century, it had become common to shorten the name to'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the missing stem, it is now customary to use "cello" without apostrophe as the full designation. Viol is derived from the root viola, derived from Medieval Latin vitula, meaning stringed instrument. Cellos are tuned in fifths, starting with C2, followed by G2, D3, A3, it is tuned in the same intervals as the viola. Unlike the violin or viola but similar to the double bass, the cello has an endpin that rests on the floor to support the instrument's weight; the cello is most associated with European classical music, has been described as the closest sounding instrument to the human voice. The instrument is a part of the standard orchestra, as part of the string section, is the bass voice of the string quartet, as well as being part of many other chamber groups. Among the most well-known Baroque works for the cello are Johann Sebastian Bach's six unaccompanied Suites.
The cello figures as a member of the basso continuo group in chamber works by Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi with pieces such as Il primo libro di madrigali, per 2–5 voci e basso continuo, op. 1 and Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre who wrote six sonatas for violin and basso continuo. From the Classical era, the two concertos by Joseph Haydn in C major and D major stand out, as do the five sonatas for cello and pianoforte of Ludwig van Beethoven, which span the important three periods of his compositional evolution. A Divertimento for Piano, Clarinet and Cello is among the surviving works by Duchess Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. A review of compositions for cello in the Romantic era must include the German composer Fanny Mendelssohn who wrote the Fantasy in G minor for cello and piano and a Capriccio in A-flat for cello. Other well-known works of the era include the Robert Schumann Concerto, the Antonín Dvořák Concerto as well as the two sonatas and the Double Concerto by Johannes Brahms.
Compositions from the late-19th and early 20th century include three cello sonatas by Dame Ethel Smyth, Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Claude Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano, unaccompanied cello sonatas by Zoltán Kodály and Paul Hindemith. Pieces including cello were written by American Music Cente founder Marion Bauer and Ruth Crawford Seeger. Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz was writing for cello in the mid 20th century with Concerto No. 1 for Cello and Orchestra, Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra and in 1964 composed her Quartet for four cellos. The cello's versatility made it popular with many male composers in this era as well, such as Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski and Henri Dutilleux. Well-known cellists include Jacqueline du Pre, Raya Garbousova, Zara Nelsova, Hildur Gudna
The viol, viola da gamba, or gamba, is any one of a family of bowed and stringed instruments with hollow wooden bodies and pegboxes where the tension on the strings can be increased or decreased to adjust the pitch of each of the strings. Frets on the viol are made of gut, tied on the fingerboard around the instrument's neck, to enable the performer to stop the strings more cleanly. Frets improve consistency of intonation and lend the stopped notes a tone that better matches the open strings. Viols first appeared in Spain in the mid to late 15th century and were most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Early ancestors include the Arabic rebab and the medieval European vielle, but more direct possible ancestors include the Venetian viole and the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish vihuela, a 6-course plucked instrument tuned like a lute that looked like but was quite distinct from the 4-course guitar. Although bass viols superficially resemble cellos, viols are different in numerous respects from instruments of the violin family: the viol family has flat rather than curved backs, sloped rather than rounded shoulders, c holes rather than f holes, five to seven rather than four strings.
All members of the viol family are played upright. All viol instruments are held between the legs like a modern cello, hence the Italian name viola da gamba was sometimes applied to the instruments of this family; this distinguishes the viol from the viola da braccio. A player of the viol is known as a gambist, violist, or violist da gamba. "Violist" shares the spelling, but not the pronunciation, of the word used since the mid-20th century to refer to a player of the viola. It can therefore cause confusion if used in print where context does not indicate that a viol player is meant, though it is unproblematic, common, in speech. Vihuelists began playing their flat-edged instruments with a bow in the second half of the 15th century. Within two or three decades, this led to the evolution of an new and dedicated bowed string instrument that retained many of the features of the original plucked vihuela: a flat back, sharp waist-cuts, thin ribs, an identical tuning—hence its original name, vihuela de arco.
An influence in the playing posture has been credited to the example of Moorish rabab players. The viol is unrelated to the much older Hebrew stringed instrument called a nevel; this ancient harp-like instrument was similar to nabla. Stefano Pio argues that a re-examination of documents in the light of newly collected data indicates an origin different from the vihuela de arco from Aragon. According to Pio, the viol evolved independently in Venice. Pio asserts that it is implausible that the vihuela de arco underwent such a rapid evolution by Italian instrument makers – not Venetian, nor Mantuan or Ferrarese – so that a ten-year span brought the birth and diffusion in Italy of a new family of instruments; these comprised instruments of different size, some as large as the famous violoni as ‘big as a man’ mentioned by Prospero Bernardino in 1493. Pio notes that both in the manuscript of the early 15th-century music theorist Antonius de Leno and in the treatises of the Venetian Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego and Giovanni Maria Lanfranco, the fifth string of the viola da gamba is uniquely called a bordone, although it is not a drone and is played the same as the other strings.
Pio argues that this inconsistency is justifiable only assuming the invention, during the last part of the fifteenth century, of a larger instrument derived from the medieval violetta, to which were added other strings to allow a greater extension to the low register that resulted from its increased size. The fifth string present in some specimens of these violette as a drone, was incorporated into the neck when they were expanded in size; this was surpassed by a sixth string, named basso, which fixed the lower sound produced by the instrument. In Pio's view, the origin of the viola da gamba is tied to the evolution of the smaller the medieval violetta or vielle, fitted with a fifth string drone, where the name remained unchanged though it ceased to perform this function. Ian Woodfield, in his The Early History of the Viol, points to evidence that the viol does in fact start with the vihuela but that Italian makers of the instrument began to apply their own developed instrument-making traditions to the early version of the instrument when it was introduced into Italy.
The family of viole shared common characteristics but differed in the way they were played. The increase in the dimensions of the "viola" determined the birth of the viol and the definitive change in the manner the instrument was held, as musicians found it easier to play it vertically; the first consort of viols formed by four players was documented at the end of the fifteenth ce