Qin Qin

Name: Qin Qin.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Payin: SÍ 絲 Silk,
Specimen: Cantonese style, 1 in collection.
Country: China, Vietnam.
Region: Far East Asia & South East Asia.

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

In China there are varieties of Qin Qin; the Cantonese type of Qin Qin lacks raised frets. Where as the mainland Chinese variety has raised frets. The qinqin is particularly popular in southern China: in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

A similar instrument as played in Vietnam; the two-stringed đàn sến was adapted from the qinqin for use in the traditional music of southern Vietnam. The frets on Chinese lutes as played in Mainland China.

Their frets are high so that the fingers never touch the actual body. This allows for a greater control over timbre and intonation than their western counterparts, but makes chordal playing more difficult.

Note: On my specimen the qin qin is fretted with brass frets as seen on western instruments. The difference is the fretting is done in a diatonic manner. In China variety of Qin Qin lacking the raised frets is favoured in Cantonese music.

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 having rounded sides.

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