is a stringed musical instrument
. Mandolas have 8 strings, in 4 pairs. Each pair of strings is tuned in unison, and are a fifth apart from adjacent pairs, giving an identical tuning to a viola
(C-G-D-A low-to-high), a fifth lower than a mandolin
. Unlike a viola, the neck of a mandola is fretted and it is typically played with a plectrum
Like the guitar, the mandola is a poorly sustaining instrument --- a note cannot be maintained for an arbitrary time as with a viola.
Similar instruments are the mandolin, the octave mandolin (an octave below the mandolin), and the mandocello (octave mandola), which is tuned an octave below the mandola (like a cello). All of these have 8 strings tuned in unison.
Mandolas are commonly used in Irish music and folk music.