Musical Instruments

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The mandolin first originated in Naples, Italy in the 15th century. It was adapted from the lute. The mandolin is an eight-stringed instrument similar to other instruments such as the balalaika, bouzouki, bandolim and the dambura. Musical instrument companies Martin and Gibson sold mandolins starting around 1890 using traveling salesman.

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  • What is the technique to playing a conch shell?

    Q: What is the technique to playing a conch shell?

    A: Conch shells can be used as horns but the person must make a buzzing sound with their lips in order to have it work. Just blowing into the conch shell won't work. The buzzing sound made from a person's lips gets amplified by the conch shell, much like a bugle horn.
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  • What are piano keys made from?

    Q: What are piano keys made from?

    A: The black and white keys of the piano are made of wood covered with veneer. Most pianos that were made before 1960 have white keys with thin ivory tops. The black keys are traditionally made with ebony.
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  • How many inches is a full size guitar?

    Q: How many inches is a full size guitar?

    A: A grand concert guitar measures 19 3/8 inches long, 4 3/4 inches deep and 8 3/8 inches wide at the waist, according to CB Guitars. An auditorium-size guitar measures the same length, but is 4 1/8 inches deep and 9 3/16 inches wide at the waist.
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  • When was the flute invented?

    Q: When was the flute invented?

    A: While it is not known when the flute was invented, in the Western culture, depictions of the flute date as far as the 10th century, according to FluteHistory.com. Theobald Boehm developed a modern version of the flute.
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  • How do you play the bagpipes?

    Q: How do you play the bagpipes?

    A: To play the bagpipes, a musician blows air into the pipe. The musician needs a lot of lung power to fill the bag with air and maintain it. With bellows-blown bagpipes, the musician plays different notes by using the finger holes and moving the bellows with the arms. With mouth-blown bagpipes, the musician plays a melody by making different fingerings on the chanter.
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  • What are some interesting facts about the violin?

    Q: What are some interesting facts about the violin?

    A: Some interesting facts about violins are that the modern violin contains over 70 separate pieces of wood and the world's smallest violin is 37 millimeters long. Additionally, playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories an hour and most violins are made from maple or spruce.
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  • How do wind instruments make sound?

    Q: How do wind instruments make sound?

    A: Wind instruments produce sound through vibrations created by a user's breath as it travels through the instruments' tubes. A person's breath causes the air molecules within a tube to collide and create sound waves. The notes and pitches produced by wind instruments are determined by how strongly a musician blows into the tubes, and each instrument's unique sound is determined by its characteristic shape.
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  • What are Castilla guitars?

    Q: What are Castilla guitars?

    A: Castilla guitars were economical guitars manufactured in China in the 1970s for C. Bruno & Sons, a musical instrument distribution company owned by KMC Music, Incorporated. Most of the Castilla guitars featured nylon strings and basic, no-frills designs manufactured with inexpensive materials.
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  • How do tuning forks work?

    Q: How do tuning forks work?

    A: Tuning forks are manufactured to vibrate at specific frequencies. According to The Physics Classroom, when a fork’s tines stretch after being struck, they compress air molecules into a small space and then release them as the tines return to their original positions. These areas of compression and refraction form a sound wave that transmits the pitch of the tuning fork through the air or through a solid, such as wood.
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  • How many strings does a guitar have?

    Q: How many strings does a guitar have?

    A: A classical acoustic guitar has six strings. There are variations in guitar configurations for creating different sounds, including the electric four-string bass guitar and the 12-string guitar that is played like a six-string but with two strings per note.
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  • Where did the harp originate?

    Q: Where did the harp originate?

    A: The harp originated with the Egyptians sometime around 3,000 B.C. Believed to be one of the oldest instruments, the earliest harps were formed from hunting bows.
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  • Who invented the first cello?

    Q: Who invented the first cello?

    A: The first cello was produced by Andrea Amati of Cremona, Italy in the middle of the 16th century, according to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amati was a luthier in the violin family, crafting violins, violas and violoncellos, also known as cellos.
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  • Who invented the oboe?

    Q: Who invented the oboe?

    A: Jean Hotteterre and Michel Danican Philidor invented the oboe by modifying the double-reeded shawm in the 17th century. The oboe originated in France, becoming established through its use at the court of Louis XIV. Variations in design developed in different countries during the 1800s and persist to this day.
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  • What is the difference between a ukulele and a guitar?

    Q: What is the difference between a ukulele and a guitar?

    A: Some differences between a ukulele and a guitar are in their number of strings, size, chord setup, different types and origin. Although both are stringed instruments, the number of strings for a guitar is six and a ukulele has four. Guitars can have nylon or steel strings, but ukuleles usually have nylon strings.
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  • How many notes are there on a piano?

    Q: How many notes are there on a piano?

    A: The modern standard-sized piano has 88 keys, which equals 88 notes and covers a range of seven octaves plus a minor third. A few pianos are specially made with an extend bass range, such as the Imperial Bosendorfer, which has 97 keys and covers a range of eight full octaves.
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  • How do you build your own bamboo flute?

    Q: How do you build your own bamboo flute?

    A: Make a bamboo flute by burning holes in a bamboo rod and sealing it with linseed oil. The supplies you need are a bamboo fishing pole, a hacksaw, fine sandpaper, a 1/2-inch diameter steel rod, a butane torch, a permanent marker, an oven mitt, a 1/4-inch drill bit, vise-grip pliers, linseed oil and a clean rag. This project takes about 40 minutes.
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  • What are examples of woodwind instruments?

    Q: What are examples of woodwind instruments?

    A: Examples of woodwind instruments are bassoons, piccolos, flutes, clarinets, oboes, panpipes, recorders, flageolets and shawms. They get their name because they are aerophones, which make music through the vibration of air or wind and because they all used to be made of wood. In modern times, they can be made out of many materials, but they're still referred to as woodwinds.
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  • How big is a full-sized acoustic guitar?

    Q: How big is a full-sized acoustic guitar?

    A: A full-sized acoustic guitar is 40 to 42 inches in length. A full-sized guitar is also referred to as a "4/4," with the smaller sizes being three-quarter, one-half and one-quarter.
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  • How many guitars are sold a year?

    Q: How many guitars are sold a year?

    A: According to The Music Trades website's industry census of the United States guitar market, between 2005 and 2013 anywhere between 1.6 million to 2.5 million guitars were sold each year. In 2013, around 2,472,000 guitars were sold at an average price of $433 each.
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  • What are some instruments traditionally used in Mexico?

    Q: What are some instruments traditionally used in Mexico?

    A: According to the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, instruments traditionally used in Mexico include string instruments that resemble guitars, such as the jarana, huapanguera, vihuela, guitarron, Quinta de golpe, tololoche and guitarra de son. Many of these come in a variety of sizes. Other instruments traditionally used in Mexico include a harp-like instrument called the arpa and percussive instruments, such as the quijada and zapateado.
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  • In what year was the banjo invented?

    Q: In what year was the banjo invented?

    A: No one is exactly sure when the banjo was invented, but its earliest mention was in 1620. Banjos are thought to have been invented by African slaves.
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