Ukulele is a 4-string musical instrument that, like the guitar, belongs to the class of string plucked instruments and has its own unique sound. In appearance, the ukulele also resembles a small acoustic guitar, the length of which can vary depending on the type:
Soprano - 53 cm (the first and most common variety);
Concert - 58 cm;
Tenor - 66 cm (appeared in the 20s of the XX century);
Baritone - 76 cm (the largest, appeared in the 40s);
Bass - 76 cm (appeared quite recently).
The first prototypes of the ukulele appeared in Europe in the mid-15th century. At that time, the production of string instruments was well-developed, but more complex guitars and mandolins were quite expensive, especially for wandering musicians. Demand creates supply, and reduced guitars with four strings - cavakinho, which became a prototype of the ukulele, began to appear on the market.
In the 19th century, many people from Europe moved to the "New World." Along with the settlers, their musical instruments appeared in the New World. The name "ukulele" itself originated in Hawaii and translates from Hawaiian as "jumping flea." This is associated with the low skill of the first wandering musicians and the low quality of their guitars - they were dubbed terrible Portuguese guitars by the people. But later, the instrument became popular and even liked by the locals. It began to be made locally from Hawaiian koa acacia, considered a symbol of Hawaii.
Ukulele gained popularity after the performances of Hawaiian musicians at the 1915 Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco. After that, the Hawaiian musical instrument became widely popular in the USA, played by legendary figures such as Jimi Hendrix and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Its popularity among female performers was boosted by the film 'Some Like It Hot,' where Marilyn Monroe herself plays the ukulele.