How do you play koto?

The koto is played by plucking the strings with the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand, which are fitted with ivory plectrums called tsume. The left hand, in traditions after the 16th century, may alter the pitch or sound of each string by pressing or manipulating the strings to the left of the bridges.

Is the koto still played?

The influence of Western pop music has made the koto less prominent in Japan, although it is still developing as an instrument. The 17-string bass koto (jūshichi-gen) has become more prominent over the years since its development by Michio Miyagi. There are also 20-, 21-, and 25-string koto.

Why do people play the koto?

After Yatsuhashi Kengyo, the koto was accessible not only to blind male professional musicians, but also became of interest to women of well-to-do families. For a time, koto playing was reserved only for blind people. During the Edo period (1603 – 1867) the koto developed into a uniquely Japanese instrument.

Is the koto a real instrument?

The koto, a type of Japanese zither, is the most popular Japanese musical instrument. The character [琴], read as ‘koto’, is used to refer to the Japanese zither. The koto was introduced from China, and as a standard, has 13 strings.

Is koto and guzheng the same?

Unlike Guzheng strings, koto strings are all the same thickness on a typical instrument, ranging in weight classes from 16-19 momme (匁, a measurement for silk fabric.) Every string is set to the same tension; the pitch is controlled by the placement of the bridges. Strings were originally silk, then tetron or nylon.

What is unique about the koto?

The koto, also known as “Japanese harp”, is a Japanese stringed instrument with a rich and detailed history. Unlike western stringed instruments such as violins and guitars, the koto actually consists of 13 strings that are strung over 13 bridges. There is actually one type of koto that has even 20 strings.

Is the koto hard to learn?

The koto is not overly difficult, though it does present a challenge. Those who have played other stringed instruments may find it hard to grow accustomed to the change in picking and pressing the strings. The koto must first be tuned, but it is not tuned like other stringed instruments.

How expensive is the koto?

A koto costs about $1000, which includes koto bridges and a koto cover. They are imported from Japan.

Who invented the koto?

Invented by the Chinese, the koto was brought to Japan during the 7th century. It was a very popular Chinese musical instrument, comprised only of five strings. Later, a couple more strings were added. It came into Japan during the early parts of the Nara Period, which took place from 710-784.