The Gusli – A Great Stringed Instrument from Russia

The Gusli (-> Wikipedia) is an old Russian stringed instrument, a kind of a zither. The gusli is used in folk music, but can also be used for classical music.

The gusli is usually played with the right hand while the left hand mutes to strings that should not sound. This can be used for harp-like arpeggios. It is also possible that the left hand plays accompanying chords while the right hand plays the melody. The right hand can also play the strings with a tremolo.

My first example is a Lullaby played by Olga Shishkina, she has studied in Russia and lives in Helsinki today.

Gusli: Lullaby by Shakhanov

Performance at St. Maria’s Church in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Another professional player of the gusili is Pavel Lukoyanov

Pavel Lukoyanov professional gusli-musician. Pavel was born in 1982 in Moscow. In 2002 has finished the Second Moscow Regional Musical College named S.Prokofiev (professor, merited artist of Russia Fediration Lubov Zhuks class). In 2007 has finished the Gnesins Academy of Music folk instrument department now. (L. Zhuk’s class).

You can find many solo pieces for the gusli in his youtube channel. This is his performance of Legend for gusli:

Legend for gusli

von Aleksei Larin

Playlist Gusli

Addtional information

Youtube channel Olga Shishkina

Olga Shishkina is a prominent Gusli artist (b. Saint Petersburg, Russia) currently living in Helsinki, Finland. In 1992-2000 she studied gusli, piano, balalaika and guitar at the Andreev School of Music in Saint Petersburg and graduated from it with honours. In 2003 she entered Saint Petersburg Rimski-Korsakov State Conservatoire where she studied gusli and piano, at the same time doing her secondary studies in organ. In 2008 she graduated with highest honours from there. Since September 2008 she has been doing her Master’s degree in Finnish concert kantele at Sibelius Academy in the class of Ritva Koistinen.

Youtube chasnnel Pavel Lukoyanov

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