Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A Japanese musical instrument resembling a lute, having a very long neck and three strings played with a plectrum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A kind of three-stringed Japanese fretless lute

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a Japanese stringed instrument resembling a banjo with a long neck and three strings and a fretted fingerboard and a rectangular soundbox; played with a plectrum

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Japanese shamisen, samisen : san, three (from Middle Chinese sam, also the source of Mandarin sān) + mi, taste, touch; see mirin + sen, string (from Middle Chinese sian`; also the source of Mandarin xiàn).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Japanese 三味線 (shamisen).

Examples

  • Her husband had played the snakeskin shamisen, called the sanshin in Okinawan.

    October 2006

  • Her husband had played the snakeskin shamisen, called the sanshin in Okinawan.

    A Tale of Two Grandmothers

  • I'm posing with a snakeskin shamisen, but it's all for show!

    Take a Break

  • I'm posing with a snakeskin shamisen, but it's all for show!

    May 2006

  • The shamisen is a smaller three-stringed instrument that is played like a viola.

    Geisha, A Life

  • The shamisen is a smaller three-stringed instrument that is played like a viola.

    Geisha, A Life

  • Hahn-Powell says he had no aptitude for the rhythm required of taiko, but the shamisen was another instrument entirely.

    The University of Alabama

  • Men take off their jackets behind a folding screen set up as a partition and step into the room to the accompaniment of a rhythm of '' shamisen '' three-stringed musical instrument played by geisha.

    Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

  • But as Sayuri says in the novel, you have to look at how well they play the shamisen, and how much they know about tea ceremony, before you determine whether they ought properly to call themselves geisha.

    Arthur Golden - An interview with author

  • The shamisen is usually played with a single string, or by plucking an open string for a droning effect while the melody's picked our on one of the other strings, so hearing the fuller chords and harmony notes from these two instruments was a cool experience.

    Gil Asakawa: Monsters of Shamisen Rock in Colorado Concert

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.