The mandolin is a string instrument, which normally features four courses of doubled strings tuned in successive fifths (with the two strings in each curse in unison). It is a member of the lute family of instruments, and it is usually played with a plectrum. There are multiple modern versions of the mandolin, some employing up to six courses of strings. The mandolin is firmly rooted in Italian tradition, with its sound sometimes being associated with Italian music and a good part of its repertoire coming from it.