MUSIC INSTRUMENTS – Plucked Instruments

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.


The Ruan comes in varying sizes in order to produce different ranges of sounds. The smallest Ruan, known as the Xiao Ruan, is used to produce the alto range of sounds, while the larger ones would produce deeper and lower sounds. The Ruan is known for its mellow tone, is mostly used in Beijing opera performances.

This entry was posted in Chinese Opera 101. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s