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Chinese String Instrument - Yueqin

http://www.chinese.cn 14:02, January 21, 2010 People's Music Publishing House

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The yueqin (pinyin: yuèqín; also spelled yue qin, or yueh-ch'in; and also called moon guitar, moon-zither, gekkin, la ch'in, or laqin) is a traditional Chinese string instrument. It is a lute with a round, hollow wooden body which gives it the nickname moon guitar. It has a short fretted neck and four strings tuned in courses of two (each pair of strings is tuned to a single pitch), generally tuned to the interval of a perfect fifth. Occasionally, the body of the yueqin may be octagonal in shape.

According to legend, the instrument was invented in China during the Qin Dynasty.It is an important instrument in the Beijing opera orchestra, often taking the role of main melodic instrument in lieu of the bowed string section.

A similar Japanese instrument, called the gekkin, was formerly used in Japan, particularly around the turn of the 20th century. Another very similar instrument, is occasionally used in Vietnam.

The name Yueqin once applied to all instruments with a moon-shaped soundboard, including the Ruan; however, yueqin now applies to a separate category than the ruan family.

Note that the frets on all Chinese lutes are high so that the fingers never touch the actual body—distinctively different from western fretted instruments. This allows for a greater control over timbre and intonation than their western counterparts, but makes chordal playing more difficult.

Source:People's Music Publishing House


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