A plucked stringed instrument, as its name suggests, is played by plucking the strings of the instrument with one’s fingernails or a pick. The sounds produced by such instruments are lively and energetic. There are many types of plucked stringed instruments, especially in China where its music employ the sounds of these instruments very frequently. This led to an extensive development of this family of instruments. Plucked stringed instruments include the Yueqin, Guzheng, Yangqin, Sanxian, among many others. The Ruan and Pipa, mentioned below, are examples of the more common plucked stringed instruments.
The Pipa plays an important role in many opera performances because of its magnificent tone and ability to produce a large range of music. It can be used for gentle rhythms as well as loud, dramatic music such as the sound of horses galloping.