Gusli - handmade Russian folk psaltery
In the end of the 6th Century the Greeks took Slavonic prisoners and found a musical instrument named gusli. Ancient gusli also mentioned in the Russian chronicles (byliny). In the famous Russian folk epic "The Lay of the Host of Igor" it is played by the eleventh-century court bard Boyan.
In the slavonic publications, you find descriptions of the Russian folk instrument the gusli in the beginning of the 12th - 13th Century. The instrument is described as an easy 5 stringed box made of wood. These strings were tuned like this: A, C, E, G, A.
It was played like this: the strings that were not to be used were muted with the left hand, and a playstick was placed in the right hand. The playstick was used to press the rest of the open strings.
The Gusli was only used as accompaniment to the song and especially to the travelling scalds who used their songs to tell about the antiquity and to praise the princes and their relations.
Original Gusli of the 13th-14th centuries could be seeng in the collection of the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow. New York based Russian folk dance and music ensemble "Barynya" currently uses Gusli on pictures above as a concert instrument.
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