Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Tonight I got to learn to play the koto.
The koto is a traditional instrument in Japan. It has many strings, most traditionally 13 strings. The instrument is large and rests on the ground when you play. You use 3 finger picks strapped to the pads of your finger to play. Under each string is a separate bridge which can be moved for tuning.

One area to the right of the bridge is played in a sort of plucking motion. The other area is used to bend the pitches by pressing the excess strings. The instrument is not tuned in a Do Re Me fashion, which to me actively fights my musical instincts, but in a refreshing and exotic way.

The song Sakura Sakura is probably the most recognizable song on the koto.
Here is a beautiful version played by Kimio Eto

Here is a girl playing the koto watch how she plucks, and bends the strings.

1 comment:

  1. It's a beautiful sounding instrument. From what I've read, it sounds quite challenging with all the different tunings.