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Musical InstrumentsHistory, Technology, and Performance of Instruments of Western Music$
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Murray Campbell, Clive Greated, and Arnold Myers

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198165040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198165040.001.0001

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Plucked and Hammered Stringed Instruments

Plucked and Hammered Stringed Instruments

Chapter:
(p.278) 9 Plucked and Hammered Stringed Instruments
Source:
Musical Instruments
Author(s):

Murray Campbell

Clive Greated

Arnold Myers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198165040.003.0009

This chapter discusses the acoustical principles underlying the behaviour of plucked and hammered stringed instruments, including the effects of the point of attack and the nature of the plectrum or hammer on the frequency spectrum and timbre of the sound. The significance of the feel of a string and the technique of pitch bending are explained. A survey of the historical development of plucked and hammered stringed instruments includes descriptions of lyre, psaltery, cittern, dulcimer, and cimbalom; and discussions of the evolution of harps, lute, and guitars. The construction and functioning of the modern lute and guitar are described, and current methods of performance on harp, lute, and classical guitar are outlined.

Keywords:   string, pluck, plectrum, hammer, pitch bend, harp, lute, guitar

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