stringed instrument

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

stringed instrument, any musical instrument whose tone is produced by vibrating strings. Those whose strings are plucked with the finger or a plectrum include the balalaika, banjo, guitar, harp, lute, mandolin, zither, the sitar of India and Pakistan, the koto of Japan, and countless others. Those plucked by means of a keyboard include the harpsichord and spinet. Those played with the bow are principally of the viol and violin families, the kemence of Turkey and Central Asia, the rebab of the Arab world and the many varieties of spike fiddle in Indonesia, Central Asia and elsewhere. Instruments whose strings are struck include the dulcimer of Europe and America, the santur of Iran, Iraq and other countries, and several keyboard instruments, among them the piano and clavichord.

views updated

stringed instrument Musical instrument sounded by the vibration of strings. Instruments fall into different classes, according to the action used to set the strings in motion: bowed, chiefly those of the violin family; plucked, chiefly the harp, lute, and guitar; and plucked and struck, such as the cittern and dulcimer.