Kotos are string instruments consisting of 13 to 20 silk or nylon strings stretched over wooden planks. They are about six feet long and made of paulownia, a native Chinese wood. They are played by plucking the strings with three picks on the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Their base pitch can be adjusted by moving a set of bridges along the body.
Types of Kotos
Kinds of Kotos include the following:
These kotos have 13 string that play mid-range to high notes.
They can be used alone or accompanied by percussion or lower-pitched instruments.
These kotos play deeper notes on the lower octaves. They are also called bass kotos.
They can be used as accompaniment, although there are also solo pieces written for their pitch range.
These kotos can play high, low, and mid-range notes.
They are commonly used in solo and ensemble concerts.
Choosing Kotos (Buying tips)
String material: Choose a koto with durable nylon strings for longer wear and more consistent sound. Silk strings have an earthier tone, but tend to thin out quickly and require more maintenance. Tension: Make sure the strings are stretched tightly across the board and will not sag with regular use. Look for a koto with adjustment screws or knobs so that you can adjust your strings when necessary.
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