Multistringed musical instruments developed from the music bow. Our kankles (Lithuanian stringed musical instrument) of proancient origin were developed before the Iron Age. Kankles were mentioned in 1546 accounts by the yard exchequer manager of Duke Zygimantas Augustas. The name kankles is derived from Lihuanian word clapper (wooden clapper). The name kankles and the instrument was widely known long before the metal age. That means that the word kankles goes as far back as the parent language of the Balts. Some scientists associate the name with the Latin word centare, and from Sanscript - konkani (an adornment with the bells).
In ancient times five-stringed, six-stringed and twelve-stringed kankles were usually played. Multispringed kankles are of a later origin. Kankles of 7 strings were considered primary, kankles of 8-12 strings were called ordinary and kankles of 13-25 strings were called complicated. The length of the strings depends upon the length of the body of the instrument. The longest string is 56,5 centimetres, the average string is 42-55 centimetres and the shortest string is 20 centimetres.