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Yangqin(扬琴yángqín) is frequently used as a hammered string instrument in China. It is of the essence among Chinese folk bands for it plays an important role no matter in solo, in accompany or in ensemble. The musical quality of yangqin is very various. When it is played slowly, the sound is like spring dropping; in a contrary, it is like the murmur of the little brook.

Yangqin----former Santur

According to the historical texts, there was an instrument named “Santur” which was very popular in the ancient Middle East like Persia before the Middle Ages. With friendly exchanges between West Asia and China by sea, “Santur” was introduced firstly into Guangdong area during the Ming Dynasty (1368~1644) and then everywhere. Later, Chinese folk artists did some reform work and made Santur” into today’s Yangqin. In the late Qing Dynasty, yangqin was joined in some local operas as accompany instrument, such as Yue opera(粤剧), Chao Opera,Min opera, Yue opera (越剧)and Hu opera.

The above is a common opinion about the origin of yangqin. But some experts, like Zhou Qingbao, state that yangqin is spread into China by the Silk Road earlier than by sea and Uygur people are  the heirs of this instrument.

Yangqin performance

Yangqin performance

During yangqin’s four hundred years in China, the creators of Chinese musical instruments have made many new types of yangqin, suh as Electro acoustical, yangqin with both high pitch and low pitch. When playing the trapezoidal yangqin, players will hold lightweight bamboo beaters (also known as hammers) with rubber tips in both hands and strike strings. The famous yangqin music are Lisao, Suwumuyang and Linchongyeben.


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