Name: Sanxian.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The sanxian [in Chinese: 三弦, literally “three strings”] is a Chinese lute—a three-stringed fretless plucked musical instrument.

Sanxian Tunings
Size Cm / In Tuning
Small 95 cm / 37 in A D a
Large 122 cm / 48 in G D g

Construction: It has a long fingerboard, and the body is traditionally made from snake skin stretched over a rounded rectangular resonator. It is made in several sizes for different purposes and in the late 20th century a four-stringed version was also developed.

The northern sanxian is generally larger, at about 122 cm [48 in] in length. While southern versions of the instrument are usually about 95 cm [37 in] in length.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

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