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Musical instruments

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Guitar

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

 
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Red Special

The Red Special is the electric guitar designed and built by Queen's guitarist Brian May and his father, Harold, when Brian was a teenager in the early 1960s. The Red Special is also sometimes referred to, by May and by others, as the Fireplace or the Old Lady. A guitar that would define May's signature style, it was intentionally designed to feed back after he saw Jeff Beck playing live and making different sounds just by moving the guitar in front of the amplifier. He wanted an instrument that was going to be alive and interact with him and the air around him.

 
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Piano

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings. The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the early 1700s versions of the instrument, which in turn derives from gravicembalo col piano e forte and fortepiano. The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate "soft" and "loud" respectively, in this context referring to the variations in volume produced in response to a pianist's touch or pressure on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the strings, and the louder the sound of the note produced and the stronger the attack. The name was created as a contrast to harpsichord, a musical instrument that doesn't allow variation in volume. The first fortepianos in the 1700s had a quieter sound and smaller dynamic range.

 
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Saxophone

The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. Like the clarinet, saxophones have holes in the instrument which the player closes using a system of key mechanisms. When the player presses a key, a pad either covers a hole or lifts off a hole, lowering or raising the pitch, respectively.

 
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Violin

The violin, also known informally as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments are known, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

 
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Drum kit

A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set, or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell. In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments. Also, both hybrid and entirely electronic kits are used.

 
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Ukulele

The ukulele is a member of the lute family of instruments. It generally employs four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings. Some strings may be paired in courses, giving the instrument a total of six or eight strings.

 
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Theremin

The theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist (performer). It is named after the Westernized name of its Soviet inventor, Léon Theremin (Термéн), who patented the device in 1928.

 
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French horn

The French horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B♭ is the horn most often used by players in professional orchestras and bands. A musician who plays a French horn is known as a horn player or hornist.

 
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Bass guitar

The bass guitar is a stringed instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and four to six strings or courses. The four-string bass is usually tuned the same as the double bass, which corresponds to pitches one octave lower than the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar. The bass guitar is a transposing instrument, as it is notated in bass clef an octave higher than it sounds. It is played primarily with the fingers or thumb, by plucking, slapping, popping, strumming, tapping, thumping, or picking with a plectrum, often known as a pick. The electric bass guitar has pickups and must be connected to an amplifier and speaker, to be loud enough to compete with other instruments.

 
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Stradivarius

A Stradivarius is one of the violins, violas, cellos and other string instruments built by members of the Italian family Stradivari, particularly Antonio Stradivari, during the 17th and 18th centuries. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or equal it, though this belief is disputed. The fame of Stradivarius instruments is widespread, appearing in numerous works of fiction.

 
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Flute

The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.

 
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Trumpet

A trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. The trumpet group contains the instruments with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpet-like instruments have historically been used as signaling devices in battle or hunting, with examples dating back to at least 1500 BC; they began to be used as musical instruments only in the late 14th or early 15th century. Trumpets are used in art music styles, for instance in orchestras, concert bands, and jazz ensembles, as well as in popular music. They are played by blowing air through nearly-closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound that starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the instrument. Since the late 15th century they have primarily been constructed of brass tubing, usually bent twice into a rounded rectangular shape.

 
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Synthesizer

A synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound. Synthesizers may imitate traditional musical instruments such as piano, flute, vocals, or natural sounds such as ocean waves; or generate novel electronic timbres. They are often played with a musical keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other devices, including music sequencers, instrument controllers, fingerboards, guitar synthesizers, wind controllers, and electronic drums. Synthesizers without built-in controllers are often called sound modules, and are controlled via USB, MIDI or CV/gate using a controller device, often a MIDI keyboard or other controller.

 
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Cello

The cello ( CHEL-oh; plural cellos or celli) or violoncello ( VY-ə-lən-CHEL-oh; Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo]) is a string instrument. It is played by bowing or plucking its four strings, which are usually 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 also includes the violin, viola and the double bass. After the double bass, it is the second-largest and second lowest (in pitch) bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. The cello is used as a solo instrument, as well as in chamber music ensembles (e.g., string quartet), string orchestras, as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras, and some types of rock bands.