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Russian stringed instrument with a triangular body, three strings, and movable frets on its fingerboard. It comes in six sizes, from piccolo to double bass. It developed in the 18th century from the dombra. It has been primarily a solo folk instrument for accompanying song and dance, but is also played in large balalaika orchestras.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on balalaika, visit Britannica.com.