Moon Lute (Yueqin)

Moon Lute (Yueqin)



Rosewood, wutong (paulownia) wood, and gut

58.4 x 35.6 cm (23 x 14 in.)

The Charles G. King, Jr. Collection. Gift of Ralph King in memory of Charles G. King, Jr. 1918.382



Its resemblance to the full moon (yue 月) gives the yueqin its name. Found in popular ensembles, the Beijing and folk (jingxi) operas and used to accompany song, the yueqin has only recently been embraced by the modern Chinese orchestra. The player presses the strings between the frets making chord playing difficult but giving increased control over the timbre and intonation. Strings are plucked with fingernails or a pick using up-and-down strokes and tremolo techniques that sustain and provide color to a tone. It is known as gekkin in Japan.

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