The shamisen is a stringed
instrument from Japan. It is a type of lute with three strings and a long thin
neck. The player plucks the strings, and the first string rattles against the
wood as it vibrates.
The shamisen has no frets as we have on modern
so the player must stop the strings with the left hand, using his or her own
sense of pitch to determine exactly where to place the fingers. This is
what violinists and
have always had to do.