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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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76 news items

The Straits Times

The Straits Times
Sun, 15 Nov 2015 13:02:17 -0800

Twin sisters Chandrakala Kunaseelan, holding a double-headed drum called mridangam, and Shashikala Samugan Nathan, holding a long-necked plucked string instrument called tambura. The former is a housewife and the latter, an administrator.
Carleton College News
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 10:16:59 -0800

... Candy Hui Ching Tong on the flute; Yang Chen '17 (Denton, Texas) and Sijin Chen '17 (China) on the zhongruan (Chinese plucked string instrument); Vianne Gao '18 (China) on the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) ; and Mina Lor '18 (St. Paul, Minn.) ...

The Daily Star

The Daily Star
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:28:27 -0800

Surbahar, (meaning 'Spring Melody' in Hindi), is a plucked string instrument used in the Hindustani classical music of North India. It is closely related to the sitar, but has a lower tone, and is sometimes known as bass sitar. Depending on the ...

Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 23:58:52 -0700

When a sitar player performs live, there are also other accompanying instruments, including table and tanpura (or tambura), which is a long-necked plucked string instrument that provides a harmonic drone sound while accompanying a melody of another ...

Daily Record

Daily Record
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 14:10:11 -0700

Both will play the sitar, a plucked string instrument common in classical Indian music. Local resident, luthier and musician Josh Humphrey will perform on the tabla, accompanying the duo. Humphrey, a Central alumnus, has spent more than a decade ...

South China Morning Post (subscription)

South China Morning Post (subscription)
Tue, 13 Oct 2015 21:36:22 -0700

“Almost every ancient musical tradition has a plucked-string instrument – in Japan it's the koto, in Iran it's the tar, in India it's the sita, the balalaika in Russia and the bouzouki in Greece.” Avi Avital, Cologne Academy, Hong Kong City Hall ...


Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:56:15 -0700

Electronic experimenter Matthew Herbert will soon wiggle out his new album The Shakes. Before we get the release in full, he's shared another taste with "Strong." The song's a percussive track built on snapping drums and a plucked string instrument ...
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:56:15 -0700

#The First Thursday concert this month features J.J. Gregg, formerly of the Whitman faculty, on the classical Indian sitar, a plucked-string instrument with a haunting, hypnotic quality — the sound that Beatle George Harrison sought as a source of ...

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