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date: 19 November 2019


  • Andrew C. McGraw


A modern keyed zither of Bali, Indonesia. It resembles the Japanese taisho-goto. Four to six guitar strings are stretched across the resonator, a shallow wooden box approximately 55 cm long and 20 cm wide, often elaborately carved, painted, and gilt in the manner of many Balinese gamelan instruments. The instrument is placed on the ground before a musician sitting cross-legged. The strings are hitched at the right end of the box and cross a metal bridge over which a wooden guard is placed where the player rests his right hand, strumming all of the strings together with a guitar pick. A small soundhole pierces the soundtable to the left of the bridge. The strings then pass under a keyboard of seven to 12 metal levers with small circular touches resembling typewriter keys, which, when depressed by the fingers of the left hand, each bring a metal bar down upon all of the strings, stopping them against a narrow wooden board (equivalent to a fingerboard) glued to the top of the box. The strings then pass over a metal nut (the same shape as the bridge) and are tuned with small guitar tuners at the left end. Tuning is not standard but most players tune the first two strings to the same pitch, two more an octave above. Some players tune one or two of the strings to the fifth....

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