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Mandolin is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is normally plucked including a plectrum. It generally has four courses of doubled metal strings harmonised in unison (8 strings), although five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) course variants also exist. The courses are typically harmonised in a sequence of perfect fifths, with the similarly tuning as a violin. It is the soprano member of a family that combines the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.
There are various forms of mandolin, but three are popular, the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. There has further been a twelve-string type and an instrument with sixteen-strings.
A variety of many tunings are utilised. Normally, courses of 2 adjacent strings are tuned in unison. The common tuning is similarly as violin tuning, in scientific pitch notation G3–D4–A4–E5, or in Helmholtz pitch notation: g–d′–a′–e″.
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