The Yangqin originated from Persia and Arabia, where it was called the psaltery.From Persia, the psaltery also spread to Europe. Thus, this instrument can be seen around the world, though under different names. The English Dulcimer, Hungarian Cimbalom, Greek Psallo, French Tympanon, Japanese Yankin, Korean, Yanggum, Thai Kim and Mongolian Yoochin all originated from the psaltery.

The Yangqin was introduced during the Ming Dynasty (1367-1644) and first became in Guangdong province, and was soon spread across the whole of China. Its clear, bright timbre, with a wide range, makes it a popular solo instrument as well as a suitable accompaniment to other instruments, especially the Erhu.

The Yangqin is played by using 2 slender bamboo sticks. Traditionally, the Yangqin has 2 sound bridges and its tones are arranged in pentatonic scales. After 400 years of improvement, the Yangqin has developed to have 5 sound bridges and is tuned with full semitones. Various techniques of playing the Yangqin has been developed over the years, making it a very versatile instrument. The Yangqin plays an important role in the Chinese Orchestra.

Famous compositions for the Yangqin includes The General's Command, Dragon Boats and 'The Yellow River' Yangqin Concerto, which is by Xian Xinghai and arranged by Qu Chunquan for his daughter, Qu Jianqing.

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