The pipa is a stringed instrument that originally came from Persia, but has been popular in China for almost 2,000 years. It has a pear-shaped body, a short neck, four strings, and about 30 frets. (Frets are ridges in the neck, and can be found on many stringed instruments. When you press a string against a fret, it causes the string to vibrate differently when plucked and make different sounds.) The tilted top of the pipa is often shaped like a dragon's head. The pipa is played upright, and is plucked with picks that are attached to the fingers.