One of the numerous descendants of the lute, mandolin appeared in Italy in the seventeenth century, and in the following century became the most widespread, the most beloved and popular tool. Gradually it became popular in other countries.
The mandolin is a solo and accompanying instrument, and ensemble instrument.
Ludwig van Beethoven. Sonatina for piano and mandolin in C minor
There are mandolin orchestras of various sizes. Orchestras these, which are sometimes included guitars, are called Neapolitan. There are cases when the mandolin is included even in Opera and Symphony orchestras.
The shape of the mandolin is very similar to the lute. On her eight strings tuned in pairs, play the mediator.