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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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6 news items

The Star Online
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:41:15 -0700

The Ruan – a Chinese plucked string instrument almost similar to the lute – dates back more than 2,000 years. Chua, the only Malaysian to be selected for the programme which will see him collaborating with 25 talented musicians from 17 countries ...
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 ...
Bellingham Herald
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 23:56:15 -0700

Whoever thinks a certain plucked string instrument from Hawaii is boring should to think again. From the first glimpse of Hawaiian garlands and elegant bowties, it's clear the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra dispels all notions of the ubiquitous ...

India New England (subscription)

India New England (subscription)
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 05:56:15 -0700

BOSTON, MA – World Music/CRASHarts presents Zakir Hussain, Kumaresh Rajagopalan and Jayanthi Kumaresh on Saturday, October 4, 8pm, at the Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, 685 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. Tickets are $35 - $79.


Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:48:45 -0700

... musical instruments reproduced from the Dunhuang frescoes, such as the seven-stringed traditional instrument guqin, the harp-like konghou, the special-shaped lianhuaqin (lotus stringed instrument), and the ruan (Chinese plucked string instrument ...


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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