Next to the wind instruments (woodwinds and brass), stringed instruments complete the orchestra and bring it all its musical dimension. Violin, cello, double bass or viola, and many others, there are many stringed instruments, in 3 families.
There are 3 types of string instruments:
A bowed string instrument, the violin plays a very important role in symphony orchestras but also in modern music such as pop. It is made up of no less than 71 pieces of wood (maple, oak, ebony...) assembled together. Its 4 strings, tuned in E - A - D - G, are rubbed with a bow. Within its family (composed of the viola, the cello and the double bass), the violin is the smallest (even if it exists in different sizes), with the highest range tessitura. Since it has no frets (unlike the guitar), its sound is more fluid, with a more precise tone. The violin can be played as a solo or as an accompaniment.
Also with bowed strings, the viola, for the uninitiated, looks very similar to the violin: they are carried in the same way (on the shoulder), they have 4 strings bowed and have a similar shape. However, the viola is very different from the violin. First of all, the viola is bigger and thicker. Because of this difference in size, the distance between the strings is greater and this impacts the position of the fingers, requiring a different kind of dexterity. A violin specialist will have a little more difficulty finding the strings and notes on a viola, and vice versa. Then, although they both have 4 strings, the viola's strings are thicker, which requires a little more power from the musician. The tuning is also different: A - D - G - C, which allows it to produce a deeper sound than the violin.
The cello is much larger and more imposing than a violin or viola, it is played sitting down, held between the legs. Originally, it was placed on the calves or on the chest, but today it rests on a retractable spike. The cello also has four strings, tuned like the viola in A - D - G - C, but one octave lower; the cello is one of the instruments with the largest range. It has a higher pitch than the double bass.
The double bass is the largest instrument in its family but also the lowest. Like the cello, it can be played by bowing the strings withis often used in "pizzicato", by plucking the strings with the fingers. Its difference with the 3 other instruments of its family also lies in its tuning in fourths (G- D - A - E) instead of fifths. This tuning brings it closer to the electric bass, but unlike the latter, the double bass does not require an amp. It has such a large soundboard that even the lowest frequencies come out naturally. A hybrid model between the electric bass and the double bass is becoming increasingly popular: the electric double bass. This one does not have a soundboard at all, which allows it to be more compact. It can also be played standing up.