The gusle (Serbian Cyrillic: гусле; Bulgarian: гусла) or lahuta (Albanian: lahutë) is a single-stringed musical instrument (and musical style) traditionally used in the Dinarides region of Southeastern Europe (in the Balkans). The instrument is always accompanied by singing; musical folklore, specifically epic poetry.
The gusle player holds the instrument vertically between his knees, with the left hand fingers on the strings. The strings are never pressed to the neck, giving a harmonic and unique sound. Singing to the accompaniment of the Gusle as a part of Serbia’s intangible cultural heritage was inscribed in 2018 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
Gusle are also indirectly important to the whole of Western civilization. The Homeric Iliad and the Odyssey are the generally considered foundational works of literature of Western civilization along with the Torah and the Christian Bible. As the verses pertain to a war and events long before the abjad script was known to the Greeks, it was proposed that Homeric hymns were sung, not written, and were passed down through generations of singing epic bards, who were, like Homer, often blind. This was finally proven as probable in the 19th century when the German classicist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the gusle tradition not far from Greece after observing a Serbian bard reciting a lengthy poem in a similar style.
Source: Gusle – Wikipedia