Bowed string instrument


Bowed string instruments are a subcategory of string instruments that are played by a bow rubbing the strings. The bow rubbing the string causes vibration which the instrument emits as sound.

The Arabic rabāb is the earliest known bowed instrument,[1] and the ancestor of all European bowed instruments, including the rebec, lyra and violin.[2]

List of bowed string instrumentsEdit

Violin familyEdit

Niccolò Paganini playing the violin, by Georg Friedrich Kersting (1785–1847)

Viol family (Viola da Gamba family)Edit

Karl Friedrich Abel playing the bass Viola da Gamba, by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788)
Variants on the standard four members of the viol family include:

Lyra and rebec typeEdit

Chinese bowed instrumentsEdit

Two performers playing the Erhu, sometimes known as the Chinese fiddle.

Rosined wheel instrumentsEdit

A performer playing the Morin Khuur, the Mongolian Horse Fiddle

The following instruments are sounded by means of a turning wheel that acts as the bow.

Other bowed instrumentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "rabab (musical instrument) - Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (2009), lira, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, retrieved 2009-02-20