Balalaika - Encyclopedia

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BALALAIKA, a stringed instrument said to have retained its primitive form unchanged, very popular in Russia among the peasants, more especially in Ukraine. The instrument has a triangular soundboard to which is glued a vaulted back, forming a body having a triangular base, enabling it to stand upright. To the body is added a fretted neck strung with two, three or four strings, generally so tuned as to produce a minor chord when sounded together. The strings are generally plucked with the fingers, but the peasants obtain charming "glissando" effects by sweeping the strings lightly one after the other with the fingers or side of the hand. The Balalaika is common to the Slav races, who use it to accompany their folk-songs and dances. It is also to be seen in the hands of gipsies at rural festivities and fairs.

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