The String Family
The string family is comprised of the violin, viola, cello, and bass. These instruments all share a few common characteristics. Every instrument in the string family, in general, has four strings that are tuned in fifths and made from nylon, steel, or sometimes gut. The strings are most commonly played by dragging a bow across them. The hair on the bow is made from the hair of horses’ tails. The player may also play the strings by plucking them in a technique known as pizzicato. The left hand holds the neck of the instrument and presses the strings against the fingerboard in order to change the pitch, while the right hand is used to bow the instrument. All classical string instruments are made from wood and have a hollow body to allow the sound to resonate inside of them. String instruments are an integral part of the orchestra and play more than any other instrument group.