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A tritare [lower-alpha 1] is an experimental guitar invented in 2003 by mathematicians Samuel Gaudet and Claude Gauthier of the Université de Moncton of a family of stringed instruments which use Y-shaped strings, instead of the usual linear strings.


Instrument sound and reactions

Y-shaped strings can produce sounds which are harmonic integer multiples, but also non-harmonic sounds more akin to those produced by percussion instruments. [1] [2] [3]

The model uses 6 strings and was commercially available for a short period. The sound effects achieved with the instrument are similar to the sounds that can be achieved with the 3rd bridge playing technique. When tuned correctly, the Y-shaped strings create Chladni patterns.

Depending on how each note is played, Gaudet explains that non-harmonic ingredients can be included and offer a richer sound than a classical stringed instrument. [1] [2] However the value of this greater possibility has been questioned by physicist and acoustics specialist Bernard Richardson of Cardiff University, who considers the branched string as just a simple analogue of complex structures with curved shells such as bars, cymbals, bells, and gongs. Richardson also claims that the tritare sounds bad. [1] [2]


  1. Pronounced to rhyme with guitar. The prefix tri indicates that each string has 3 branches. The final e is by analogy with the French spelling guitare.

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  1. 1 2 3 Weiss, Peter (3 June 2006). "String Trio: Novel instrument strums like guitar, rings like bell". Science News . Vol. 169, no. 22. p. 342.
  2. 1 2 3 Sohn, Emily (7 June 2006). "Extra strings for new sounds". Student Science.
  3. Gaudet, S.; Léger, S. (6 June 2006). A new family of stringed musical instruments. Acoustical Society of America. Archived from the original on 2006-06-13.