Qin Qin

Name: Qin Qin.
Type: Type > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Pa Yin: Silk 絲.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Country: China, Vietnam.
Region: Far East Asia & South East Asia.

Description: The qinqin [秦琴; pinyin: qínqín; Vietnamese: Dan-tru] is a plucked Chinese lute. This instrument is also referred to as meihuaqin [梅花琴, literally “plum blossom instrument”].

Usage: The qinqin is particularly popular in southern China: in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. A similar instrument, the two-stringed đàn sến, has been adapted from the qinqin for use in the traditional music of southern Vietnam. The frets on Chinese lutes are high so that the fingers never touch the actual body. Distinctively different from western fretted instruments. This allows for a greater control over timbre and intonation than their western counterparts, but makes chordal playing more difficult.

Note: On my specimen is a Cantonese qin qin is fretted with 11 diatonically spaced brass frets, from the nut to the bridge. In this case the diatonic frets are there to match up with the tuning. However the fretting does limit the use of chords.

Construction: It was originally manufactured with a wooden body, a slender fretted neck, and three strings. Its body can be round, hexagonal with rounded sides, or octagonal. Often, only two strings were used, as in certain regional silk-and-bamboo ensembles. In its hexagonal form (with rounded sides).