The koto (Japanese 筝, or traditional Japanese 琴) is a Musical instrument with cords pinches used in Japanese Musique traditional.
The koto is long a Cithare in form of dragon tapi, measuring approximately 1,80 m length and cash 13 cords. The case is traditionally manufactured out of wood of hollowed out Paulownia, and the rest, in Ivoire.
Originating in China (gŭzhēng), it was introduced with the Japan between the VIIe and the 8th century, and was played mainly imperial court; the use was then democratized some.
The koto produces a sound lyric, comparable with that of a Harpe, which can explain the term often met of “ Japanese Harpe ”.
Among the musicians representative of the koto , one finds initially Kengyo Yatsuhashi (1614 - 1685, dead the year of birth of Jean-Sebastien Bach); then Michio Miyagi (1894 - 1956, marked Miyagui). Miyagi developed the koto at the beginning of the 20th century, important this musical language in Europe. Its work Haru No umi (sea of spring, for koto and Shakuhachi ) is most known in the world among the works played koto . In France, the violonist Renee Chemée much appreciated and played this part, but the koto is represented more there than the shakuhachi .
Nowadays, there is not great number of Masters of koto outside Japan. Among those and those which succeeded in reaching this level, one finds Maître Linda Kako Caplan, representing single in Canada (during more than twenty years) of the school of koto Chikushi.
Today, one also finds koto with more cords:
- jyûsitigen (17 cords);
- nijyûgen (20 cords);
- nijyûgogen (25 cords);
- sanjyûgen (30 cords);
- sanjyûnigen (32 cords).
The jyûsitigen was created by Miyagi: this instrument is now popular. Recently, the nijyûgen also became increasingly known: it was created by mistress of koto Keiko Nosaka and it is used per many type-setters (not only Japanese) of Modern music.
There existed also the hatijyûgen (80 cords) created by Miyagi, but there had never existed that only one specimen of this instrument and anybody does not play it today.
- Chieko Mori Young To compose and Koto virtuosos (English)
- To buy a koto
- Information about the Master of koto Chikushi Katsuko
- Linda Kako Caplan - the world of the koto and the Japanese shamisen: books, CDs, and resources of video online for the koto, as well as useful bonds and general informations about these instruments
- Koto No Koto
- Koto World
- The Koto: With Traditional Instrument in Contemporary Japan, by Henry Johnson (Hotei, 2004).
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