A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...
s was developed in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...
in the sixteenth century. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...
, and double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...
Instrument names in the violin family are all derived from the root viola, which is a derivative of the Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...
word vitula (meaning "stringed instrument"). A violin is a "little viola", a violone is a "big viola" or a bass violin
Bass violin is the generic modern term used to denote various 16th- and 17th-century forms of bass instruments of the violin family. They were the direct ancestor of the modern cello. Bass violins were usually somewhat larger than the modern cello, but tuned the same or sometimes just one step...
, and a violoncello (often abbreviated cello) is a "small violone" (or, literally, a "small big viola").