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Most commonly associated with folk, country and bluegrass music, the Mandolin is known for its percussive strummed and plucked tone with a minimal amount of sustain. A member of the lute family of instruments, the mandolin features four strings, but with two strings tuned in unison for each of the four pitches. With a fretted construction, it’s easy to see the similarity between other types of strummed instrument such as the guitar. However, because of the unique tone and timbre of the mandolin it requires a unique musical approach.
Originally based around country and bluegrass music, the mandolin has now found a home in crossover environments such as jazz, classical and even pop music. The instrument itself has remained relatively unchanged since the early 1920’s. Initially made popular in the United States by Bill Monroe (called the father of Bluegrass Music), the mandolin quickly found its way into other groups and ensembles and is now a staple sound within any bluegrass, country, and folk group. Even rock and other types of world music are home to the mandolin with players finding additional unique applications for the warm, percussion voice of the mandolin.