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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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74 news items

The Daily Star

The Daily Star
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 11:33:45 -0700

The zhongruan is a Chinese plucked string instrument, with a straight neck with 24 frets on the fingerboard and 4 strings. It is usually played with a plectrum, but can also be played with fingers (index finger and thumb with acrylic nails), which is ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 18:28:58 -0700

The concert was opened by a major star of Carnatic music: Jayanthi Kumaresh, a virtuoso on the veena, a plucked-string instrument with a much rounder sound than a sitar or sarod, closer to a guitar's timbre. She achieved her most magical effects when ...
Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:41:45 -0700

Accompanying Gifford will be Jackie Harjula and Ann Little, two members of the Finnish community in this area, who will be playing a few songs on the kentele, a traditional plucked string instrument of the dulcimer and zither family native to Finland.

Carleton College News

Carleton College News
Wed, 20 May 2015 12:41:15 -0700

Woo Jin Lee '18 (Republic of Korea), and Zhilu Zhang '17 (China) on the violin; Sijin Chen '17 (China) on the Zhongruan (Chinese plucked string instrument); Emma Grisanzio '17 (Carol Stream, Ill.) on the cello; and Alida Dice (Northfield High School ...

Boston Classical Review

Boston Classical Review
Sat, 07 Feb 2015 06:37:30 -0800

The short piece opened with Mark Rimple performing a light, trickling melody on the psaltery, a plucked string instrument that resembles an autoharp. As if to blanket the texture in a silvery sheen, Jesse Lepkoff (flute), David Douglass (vielle), and ...
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 ...
Yale Daily News (blog)
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:44:28 -0700

The orchestra featured in the show includes a number of instruments that were used during the 17th century, such as a theorbo, a plucked string instrument with an extended neck. Herreid noted that this production offers a unique opportunity for ...
The Kansas City Kansan
Tue, 09 Jun 2015 20:11:15 -0700

Hong Hong Hui – a professional Pipa musician (traditional Chinese plucked-string instrument). She first learned to play when she was in Hong Kong 22 years ago. The video is of Hong Hong premiering one of her own compositions that she wrote last year as ...

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