The ajaeng is a Koreanstring instrument. It is a wide zither with strings made of twisted silk, played by means of a slender stick made of forsythia wood, which is scraped against the strings in the manner of a bow. The original version of the instrument, and that used in court music (called the jeongak ajaeng), has seven strings, while the ajaeng used for sanjo and sinawi (called the sanjo ajaeng) has eight strings; some instruments may have up to nine strings.
The ajaeng is generally played while seated on the floor. It has a deep tone similar to that of a cello, but more raspy. Some contemporary players prefer to use an actual horsehair bow rather than a stick, believing the sound to be smoother. The instrument is used in court, aristocratic, and folk music, as well as in contemporary classical music and film scores.
The ajaeng is derived from the Chinese yazheng (simplified: 轧筝; traditional: 軋箏).