String instruments are those who’s sound is produced by a vibrating string. The strings themselves are typically made out of sheet gut, metal, or plastic, and can be played in a variety of ways. String instruments play an important roll in music of virtually every culture and are the most prominent family of instruments in the orchestra. String instruments are extremely versatile. They have a large dynamic range, an even tone throughout their range, and powerful expressive capabilities.
String instruments themselves can be grouped according to how the string is set into vibration. As the name suggests, plucked string instruments such as the lute and guitar use the fingers or a plectrum (small piece of plastic or quill) to pluck the string, thus setting it into vibration and producing a sound. Bowed string instruments use a stick strung usually with horse hair pulled across the string to set the string into vibration. Unlike plucked string instruments who’s sound begins to fade as soon as the string has been plucked, bowed string instruments can sustain the sound as long as the bow is being pulled across the string. The violin family are all considered bowed sting instruments even though their strings are occasionally plucked also. Keyboard instruments like the harpsichord and piano are also string instruments however keyboard instruments are generally considered their own instrument family.
Read about specific string instruments by following the links below.