The modern name for a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. It has been played since ancient times and has traditionally been favored by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement. Traditionally the instrument was called simply qin, but by the 20th century the term had come to be applied to many other musical instruments as well (including the hammer dulcimer and the piano), so the prefix "gu" (meaning "ancient") was added for clarification. The qin is a very quiet instrument, with a range of about four octaves. Sounds are produced by plucking open strings, stopped strings, and harmonics. The use of glissando (sliding tones) gives it a sound reminiscent of a pizzicato cello or fretless bass guitar. Though early versions had five or more strings, the modern form has been standardized for about two millennia. (from Wikipedia).
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