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n. (context music English) An ancient Russian instrument plucked in the style of a zither sometimes played on the lap and sometimes created with table legs so that the musician can play it seated next to the instrument.

For single-stringed instrument see Gusle.

Gusli is the oldest Russian multi-string plucked instrument. Its exact history is unknown. It may have derived from a Byzantine form of the Greek kythare, which in turn derived from the ancient lyre. It has its relatives throughout the world: kantele in Finland, kannel in Estonia, kanklės, or kokle in Lithuania and Latvia. Furthermore, the kanun has been found in Arabic countries, and the autoharp, in the United States. It is also related to such ancient instruments as Chinese gu zheng, which has a thousand-year history, and its Japanese relative koto.

Usage examples of "gusli".

In my youth, I decided to travel the world and look for happiness, so I set out with what little money I had turned into goods to trade, and my gusli to keep me company.

A surprisingly large number of people had given her a wide variety of things, which ranged from a beautiful book of the Gospels from Bishop Fedor, the stringed instrument called a gusli made of carved and polished wood with ivory pegs from Sadko, silks and linens from various merchants, and an assortment of jewels from the boyar families, to a simple piece of embroidered linen for a shift from two market-women who sold eggs, a little wood-carving of a bear stealing honey from a hollow tree from one of the palace doorkeepers, and a tiny icon of the Mother of God in enamel on copper from Brother Isak, the last three having been made by their donors.

Gytha learned to play the gusli Sadko had given her for a wedding present, read and reread all the books in the corner room and bought more to go with them, rode out with Gleb and his household on hunting, hawking and fishing expeditions, and worked at her embroidery.