Name: Kanklės is a chordophone from Lithuania that is played by plucking its strings.
Classified as: Hornbostel-Sachs number of 314.122
Description: The instrument is constructed from a trapezoidal piece of wood (ash tree, maple, linde, or alder wood). There is a metal bar on one end to anchor the strings and wooden pegs on the other to tune them. It is played by plucking the strings (ranging from 5 to 12) on one’s lap using fingers or a pick.
Variations: Northeastern Aukštaitians Kanklės, Western Aukštaitians and Samogitians Kanklės, Northwestern Samogitians and Suvalkians Kanklės
Origin: The kanklės was invented in Lithuania as the country’s oldest string instrument (exact date and inventor unknown)
History: Kanklės was traditionally played with the belief that it would protect the musician from death or harm. It was constructed out of a tree cut the day a family member died in order to acquire more depth to its sound and meaning. Ancient kanklės had five strings, but modern folk kanklės have nine to twelve strings.