|Instrument Title||Koto 1 |
|Instrument ID||18.00 |
|Hornbostel-Sachs class||312.22-6 |
|Keyword||Sokyoku; Sankyoku; Jiuta; Kumiuta; Danmono; Kyomono; Utamono; Shin Sokyoku |
|Description||The koto is a heterochord partial tube zither with an arched top and hollowed body with back. There are two small oval soundholes bound with rosewood. The koto is usually made of kiri (paulownia) wood. It has thirteen silk strings, although today strings are usually made of tetron. The strings are of equal length and thickness, and are stretched with equal tension over fixed bridges placed about ten centimeters from the right (player's) side, and about twenty centimeters from the left side. Ornate silk cloth (orange brocade on this instrument) covers the left end and protects the wood from friction with the strings. Strings pass through metal grommets on both sides of the instrument. |
There is a detachable brocade cover (orange on this instrument) on the right end. A detachable, moveable bridge is placed under each string and can be moved to adjust the tuning. These bridges are always removed when the instrument is not being played to prevent stretching of the strings.
The instrument is placed on the floor; the player sits near the right end of the instrument and plucks the strings just to the left of the fixed bridge with three ivory plectra attached to the thumb, index and middle fingers of the right hand with animal skin rings. The left hand is used to alter the pitch of the strings by pressing down on the strings to the left of the moveable bridges.
The koto is played solo and in the sankyoku ensemble. The performer often sings while playing. Koto players almost always learn the shamisen as well (both are instruments of the sankyoku ensemble).
Accessories for the four kotos in our collection include the following: 1 set of 13 wood and ivory bridges; 1 set of 14 ivory bridges; 2 sets of 13 and 15 plastic bridges; 13 sets of tome (string stoppers); 5 sets of strings (nylon and tetron); 3 pair ashi (detachable legs); string repair kit; 2 complete tsume; 15 wa (plectrum rings); performance stand (middle piece missing). All bridge sets in boxes. All these accessories in closet on right in room 58.
This koto is wrapped in a red cover. This instrument has several gouges on the top of the soundboard.
|Dimensions||total length 181.8 cm|
width of wide end 26.0 cm
width of narrow end 23.0 cm
height of narrow end
height of middle 13.0 cm
height of wide end
|Accessories||See notes |
|Condition||Several gouges in top (up to 3 mm deep) from bridges falling over. |
|Digital Collection||Ethnomusicology Musical Instrument Archive |
|Image No.||xac_018a.jpg |
|Contact Info||For further information contact: Archivist, University of
Washington Ethnomusicology Division, School of Music Box
353450, Seattle, WA 98195; (206) 543-0974 |
|Copyright||This Musical Instrument database is intended for educational and instructional use; if you cite or download images or text, please acknowledge the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives; downloading of audio and video examples is prohibited. |
|Repository||University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives |
|Digital reproduction field||Photographed with digital camera (JPG image); processed
using Photoshop (resized to 550 pixels, quality level 5,
label added) |