Other String Instruments

Cimbolai (cimbalom)

Cimbolai is a Lithuanian string percussion musical instruments mostuly played in Dzūkija and Eastern Lithuania where the tradition of playing kanklės was not as strong as in the other regions. Cimbolai was an important instrument helping create a harmonious melody, mainly played during various festivities and such celebrations as weddings, Christmas Eves, Easter etc.

According to musicologist’s Juozas Žilevičius description “cimbolai is a wooden rectangular frame with strings. The sound is being produced by striking two beaters against the strings. The amount of strings can vary from 13 to 48, 72, 100, 102 and more” (1827 article on Lithuanian folk musical instruments).


Violin (Baltic name – griežynė) is one of the most common folk musical instruments in Lithuania. Wide variety of forms and means of holding and playing the violin shows that the local tradition is much older than the one that came to Lithuania from Western Europe. Eastern European historical sources mention similar violin-like instruments in neighboring countries (Russian skomorokhs played variations of violins and kanklės). It is also believed that violin-like instruments were played by princess’s Aldona (daughter of the great duke Algirdas) court musicians.

In Lithuania violins were played solo or to accompany songs, also there are mentions of it being played to Express grief during wakes.

Basetlė (basolia)

Basetlė (also known as bosas, boselis, basedla) – string Lithuanian folk musical instrument performing bass parts. Basetlė is similar to cello and bass-violin. The strings of this instrument were made out of calf intestines and its bow of mane hair.


Pūslinė is a string folk musical instrument played in ensembles of various compositions. It’s a simple easily made bass instrument which consists of a wooden stick, air-filled pig’s bladder and intestines or small cords. Pūslinė can have from 1 to 3 strings all of which are tied to the base called kumelė. The strings re tuned using special wooden pegs.