Friday, June 9th, 2023

Primary Stringed and Fretted Instruments


primary stringed and fretted instruments - article image

The Chordophones

Primary Stringed and Fretted Instruments

In our article titled Musical Instruments, we discussed the various categories and classifications for musical instruments. Following through on that article we are now beginning this article series on the chordophones, more commonly referred to as the primary stringed and fretted instruments, strings or the string section of an orchestra. There are a variety of stringed and fretted instruments to choose from which includes instruments used in different countries throughout the world. It is difficult as a composer to select what one would call the primary stringed and fretted instruments simply because there are so many to choose from. So, to be more specific as to which instruments will be included in this article series, please reference the chart below. The list will also serve as a quick way to access the individual article or articles about each specific instrument.

Primary Stringed and Fretted Instruments

Listed in Alphabetical Order

Acoustic Guitar




Classical Guitar







Orchestral Instrument Sections

These named instruments are commonly found in typical and atypical orchestral instrument sections. Some are always present while others are only occasionally included in an orchestra. The inclusion of the primary stringed instruments is usually determined by the compositions being performed, available instrumentalists and sadly, by budgetary considerations.

A full orchestra always has the strings, percussion, brass and woodwind instrument sections. The quantity of instruments included in any of the orchestral sections can vary however these sections are always present regardless of the count of instruments actually being used within a section. It is important to find a balance between and with regards to the size of the various orchestra sections. Again, this balance is sometimes difficult depending upon the criteria listed in the previous paragraph.


We are not nor do we have the intention to be an end all, be all, article series about these instruments. Our intention is to simply provide an overview of each of those instruments listed in the chart above for purposes of providing a base foundation about them. Since our main focus is music theory and music composition, these articles will help to provide some of the considerations a composer needs to think about when writing music for them.

Other Articles Within the Series

Within the overall primary stringed and fretted instrument article series, the individual instruments will have a short series of articles about each of them. The intention is to provide first an introductory or lead article, followed by composition considerations, instrument range and other articles which further discusses the instrument or provides applications in one or more articles demonstrating the use of the instrument within a solo, duet, trio, a quartet or in an orchestral arrangement. These articles will include notation examples and mp3 clips demonstrating the points within the presentation and found within the article. Consequently, this article series will be developed and filled in over a period of time.

About This Page

As an article is written and posted we will provide the link to it on this page, you can think of this page as a directory of articles about the primary stringed and fretted musical instruments.

We hope you will find the article series informative and helpful to you as an instrumentalist, a hobbyist or simply as one who is interested in learning about the primary stringed and fretted instruments.


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