Classic music is still played by many of today's musicians. European classical music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century.
Classical and popular music are often distinguished by their choice of instruments. The instruments used in classical music were mostly invented before the middle of the 19th century. Some of them had been designed even earlier, and codified in the 18th and 19th centuries. They consist of the instruments found in an orchestra, together with a few other solo instruments such as the piano, harp, accordion, and organ.
The great majority of classical music gear fall into six major categories - bowed strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, keyboard, and the guitar family. The first four form the basis of the modern symphony orchestra.
The classical guitar was originally a Spanish-derived, six-stringed instrument. It is played using a plectrum or the finger-nails, with frets set into the fingerboard. Popular music tends to use amplification for both the six-stringed instruments and the four-string bass guitar. The guitar family gradually supplanted the lute which had come to prominence during the Renaissance.