kanteles

Our 10 string Kanteles are also know as Baltic Psalteries, Scandanavian Zithers and Nordic Lyres.

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What is a Kantele?

 

A kantele is a traditional plucked string instrument of the zither family native to Finland and Karelia. Its relatives can be found throughout the world, including Estonian kannel, Russian gusli, Latvian kokle, and Lithuanian kanklės. Together these instruments make up the family known as Baltic psalteries. Kantele is also related to the ancient Asian instruments such as Chinese gu zheng and Japanese koto.

Modern instruments with 15 or fewer strings are generally more closely modeled on traditional shapes, and form a category of instrument known as small kantele, in contrast to the modern concert kantele. Modern concert kantele can have up to 40 strings. The playing positions of concert kantele and small kantele are reversed: to the player of a small kantele the widest low pitched strings are farthest away from his body, whilst to a concert kantele this side of the instrument is nearest, and the short high pitched strings farthest away.

 Players hold the kantele in their laps or on a small table. There are two main techniques to play, either plucking the strings with their fingers or strumming unstopped strings.