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The ukulele, or uke, is a fretted string instrument which is essentially a smaller, four-stringed version of the guitar. In the early 20th century the instrument's name was sometimes spelled as "ukelele".

It is commonly associated with music from Hawaii, but was actually developed in Portugal and is known there as the braguinha.

The ukulele comes in four sizes (from smallest to largest): soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.

In the USA, soprano and concert ukes are usually tuned in the key of C: G-C-E-A from low to high, but with the G-string actually tuned an octave up, so it's pitched between the E- and A-strings. The baritone is usually tuned in G like the top four strings of a guitar, D-G-B-E. The tenor can be tuned either way, and in C tuning is sometimes tuned with the G-string an octave lower, so it's pitched below the C-string, where you might expect it.

In the past, the soprano was tuned in the key of D: A-D-F#-B, with the lowest note being D (the A is a whole step below the B), and this tuning may still be popular outside the USA. An alternative tuning is Bb-Eb-G-C (raised a semitone to the key of E flat). Either of these tunings may be referred to jocularly as "My dog has fleas", because the strings sounded in order seem to sound this phrase.

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