A mandolin is a musical instrument in the lute family (plucked, or strummed). It is descended from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. It has a body with a teardrop-shaped soundboard, or one which is essentially oval in shape, with a soundhole, or soundholes, of varying shapes which are open and are not decorated with an intricately carved grille like the Baroque era mandolins.
Originally mandolins had six double courses of gut strings tuned similarly to lutes, and plucked with the fingertips, while the design common today has eight metal strings in four pairs (courses) which are plucked with a plectrum. The latter originated in Naples, Italy during the 3rd quarter of the 18th century.
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