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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.