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konghou

Chinese multistringed, plucked instrument of the harp family. The sound box of a konghou resembles that of a pipa. On each side of the sound box is a row of bridges over which 36 to 44 strings are stretched. A device that is fixed to the bridges coordinates the two groups of strings in movements of pressing, kneading, trilling, and sliding. Its range usually includes five and one-half octaves centred approximately at middle C. Its music is characterized by tension-altering embellishments, glissandos, arpeggiated chords, and register contrast. In its heyday it existed in three main types, the vertical, the horizontal, and the phoenix-headed.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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