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This illustration in a French Psalter from the 9th century (c. 830) shows an unspecified plucked string instrument.
Stringed instruments hanging on a wall. Shown here are 4 Lookoeos, 2 mandolins, a banjo, a guitar, a violin, a Guraitar and a bass guitar.

Plucked string instruments are a subcategory of string instruments that are played by plucking the strings. Plucking is a way of pulling and releasing the string in such a way as to give it an impulse that causes the string to vibrate. Plucking can be done with either a finger or a plectrum.

Most plucked string instruments belong to the lute family (such as guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, balalaika, sitar, pipa, etc.), which generally consist of a resonating body, and a neck; the strings run along the neck and can be stopped at different pitches. The zither family (including the autoharp, kantele, gusli, kannel, kankles, kokle, koto, guqin, gu zheng and many others) does not have a neck, and the strings are stretched across the soundboard. In the harp family (including the lyre), the strings are perpendicular to the soundboard and do not run across it. The harpsichord does not fit any of these categories but is also a plucked string instrument, as its strings are struck with a plectrum when the keys are depressed.

Bowed string instruments, such as the violin, can also be plucked in the technique known as pizzicato; however, as they are usually played with a bow, they are not included in this category. Struck string instruments (such as the piano) can be similarly plucked as an extended technique.

Plucked string instruments are not a category in the Sachs-Hornbostel classification, as some of them are simple chordophones and others are composite (depending on whether the resonator is a removable part of the instrument).

List of plucked string instruments[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plucked_string_instrument — Please support Wikipedia.
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Middle ages and Renaissance music / Plucked string instruments (XIII-XVII centuries)

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A retired professor talked about his experience and feels on playing the seven-stringed plucked instrument.

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6 news items


Wed, 15 Oct 2014 03:52:30 -0700

For tuning, Guitar Toolkit is very flexible: You set your preferred pitch between 392Hz to 528Hz, and you can even use presets to tune any plucked string instrument. There are dozens of alternate tunings, and you could use it with, say, a violin or ...
The Saratogian
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 02:00:00 -0700

... review of the cultural and educational aspects of traditional Chinese music and musical instruments. Ms. Li was born and raised in China until the age of 10. She plays a traditional Chinese instrument called the Guzheng, which is a plucked string ...

Capsule Computers

Capsule Computers
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:15:00 -0700

Using existing licenses is risky business. Most gamers can count on one hand how many successful video games are made using an existing IP. Almost all of those games probably include either children's brick toys or a dark-caped super hero.
Times of India
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:45:00 -0700

This 34-year-old Sanpada resident became the first woman to play this rare and difficult plucked string instrument used in Hindustani classical music, which does not have frets and is played with a slide. Born in Gwalior to a family of musicians ...
BU Today
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Jayanthi Kumaresh is recognized as one of the world's top performers on the veena, a plucked string instrument considered by many to be a celestial instrument with ties to ancient times. Tickets range from $35-79 and are sold exclusively through World ...


Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:41:15 -0700

"Neither of us speaks each other's language," he says of the player of the ruan, a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument. "But when we played together, it was magic. We jammed the whole night in a little bar, which is located in a Beijing ...

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