Name: The gusli is a Russian multi-string instrument with metal strings.
Classified as: Hornbostel-Sachs classification of 315.2.
Description: The gusli is made up of strings (anywhere from 4 to 36) typically anchored onto a wooden board. It can be used for either chord or melodic playing and uses the diatonic scale. Depending on the type of gusli, the instrument can be played upright, between the knees, or held similar to a guitar.
Variations: Shlemovidnye gusli, Krylovidne gusli, Chlavicord gusli
Origin: The gusli was created in Russia and was first mentioned in 591 AD by the Greek historian Theophylact Simocatta (exact inventor is unknown)
History: The oldest form of the gusli was similar to a flat harp and was played at ceremonies and during festivities. In 1803, F. Baulde, a French composer, recorded the first song for the gusli, Oi pid Vyshneyu. Later, O.U. Smolensky and N.I. Prilav perfected the wing-shaped gusli in 1900, with the keyboard gusli being invented in 1914 by N.P. Fomin.