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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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75 news items

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 ...
Natchez Democrat
Sat, 02 May 2015 22:06:57 -0700

Thus the flutes played by Bull are made of wood and have only a single key; and the keyboard-instrument played by Pyle is a harpsichord — a plucked-string instrument — rather than a piano, which is a member of the percussion family. The viola d'amore ...

Herald Sun

Herald Sun
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 07:01:46 -0700

He is passionate about building kanklės, a Lithuanian plucked string instrument. “I am a handyman and was a band leader,” he said. “It is a good life.” Professor Meredith said Mr Eimutis was in remarkably good health for his age and had coped well with ...

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 ...
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 ...


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 ...

Bangkok Post

Bangkok Post
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:48:45 -0700

Captivating vocals are accompanied by melodies from the salor (a bowed string instrument) and pin (a plucked string instrument), with the resulting music resonating at merit-making ceremonies, such as when moving into a new home and for those entering ...
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:58:43 -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 ...

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