When plucking a string once on a string instrument (a guitar for example), I can understand that this creates a disturbance in the form of a (actually two) pulses that travels along the string. It makes sense to visualize this. Let's for simplicitys sake say that the string is 1 meter long parallell to the x-axis and the y-axis is perpendicular to it. The left end is x=0 and one plucks it at x = 10 cm. Then I would see that there is one disturbance travelling to the right of this point and one to the left. The disturbance travelling left will hit the left end (x=0) of the string first, and then it will move to the right but it will look like it's turned upside down in the y-direction. Later the disturbance travelling to the right will hit the right end of the string (x = 1 m) and when it does it will also be turned upside down in the y-direction. Then soon after that the two disturbances will meet and create an interference. Then they will continue along the string in the x-directions they were going before, switching y-direction at the end points and causing interference whenever they meet, but essentially keep going back and forth the same way until damping causes the string to be still again. That's how I visualize it. If I were to describe the motion, I would say that the disturbances are TRAVELLING along the string. However, it seems some descriptions of this phenomenon say that rather than a travelling disturbance, this would cause a STANDING wave? This I don't understand. I know what standing waves are and I can see how standing waves occur in a rope which is fixed in one end and you move the other end CONTINUOUSLY upside down, but not for a string being plucked once. I can't see (visualize) why it would happen. So my question is - when plucking a string, does this actually cause a STANDING wave, and if so, how can that happen? Can someone explain - intuitively/visually - (not mathematically) why this happens? Secondly, if this actually happens, does that mean the description of the phenomenon I gave above is incorrect, since I describe it as a travelling disturbance, rather than standing?