This page gives you some historical background on the Chinese dulcimer called yangchin.

This is what a yangchin looks like.


The yangchin is a type of dulcimer and originated in Persia. By the 14th century, the yangchin was found in Eastern European countries, and it was also introduced in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AC).

There are several variations of the dulcimer. These include the Persian Santir, the Russian Chang and the Indian Santoor, all of which have movable bridges. The Korean Yangum and the Swiss Backbrett have long bridges shaped to allow the strings to pass over and under the bridges. The Yugoslavian dulcimer has two sets of bridges. Of all the dulcimers, the Persian Santir is the dulcimer most like the yangchin.


The yangchin is the Chinese variation of the hammer dulcimer. It is a resonant fan-shaped, wooden box. On the box, there are steel strings and twined strings drawn tightly into tune.

The yangchin has four or five bridges to divide its strings into different vibrating lengths. Padded hammers - usually two bamboo sticks - are used to play the yangchin. The yangchin has a box resonator of varying depth below the metal strings; the box resonator has at least nine three-inch diameter holes in the bottom to give voice to the sound. To the right of the performer, there is a large number of tuning pegs, usually more than 100, which are used in combination with metal slides to tune the instrument.

To play the yangchin, the musician sits before it and uses two bamboo hammers to produce the sound.

The Sound

The yangchin is categorized as a plucking, or percussion, instrument - just like a piano or harpsichord. The yangchin timbre has the following characteristics:

  • Clear and crisp in the high-pitched sounds,

  • Modulating and melodious in the middle-pitched sounds, and

  • Vigorous in the low-pitched sounds.

The range of the yangchin extends from the first F below middle C to the fourth A above middle C. In Chinese music, the yangchin appears in solo, duet, union, ensemble and accompaniment roles.

If you'd like to hear a yangchin in action, visit my Music page.

Rent or Buy a Yangchin!

I rent and sell yangchin instruments. My instruments are all top-quality instruments. made in China by craftsmen committed to producing the highest-quality instruments. I think you will find the rental charges on a yangchin to be quite affordable.   If you would like to get in touch with me to discuss renting or buying an instrument, send me an Email or visit the Contact page.

Want to Read More About Yangchins?

Try these special links:

For more information on Chinese musical instruments, click here.

For some cute dulcimer limericks, click here.

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© 2009 YanMusic.com. All rights reserved. Site by Media One Pro.

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© 2009 YanMusic.com. All rights reserved. Site by Media One Pro.