The Ruan is a very ancient four-stringed moon-shaped lute with a long and straight neck and various number of frets. Ruan used to be called "p'i-p'a" (pipa) or qin-pipa. Mellow in tone quality, it is often seen in ensembles or in accompaniments, and also as a solo instrument.
It is a short necked Chinese foiled lute with four strings, played by plectrum. It is used by orchestras as well as for accompanying operatic performances. The Ruan consists of three parts: resonator, neck and head. Four strings, tuned to fifths (like a mandolin), provide a wide range of notes.