ukulele the hawaiian guitar

November 4, 2008 by  
Filed under music

The ukulele, or alternatively abbreviated uke, is a chordophone classified as a plucked lute; it is a subset of the guitar family of instruments, generally with four strings or four courses of strings.

The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of small guitar-like instruments brought to the islands by the Portuguese. It gained great popularity elsewhere in the United States during the early 20th century, and from there spread internationally.

Tone and volume of the instrument vary with size and construction. Ukuleles come in four sizes, Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone.

The ukulele is commonly associated with music from Hawaii, where the name roughly translates as “jumping flea”. According to Queen Lili’uokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch, the name means