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date: 14 November 2019


  • Henry Johnson


Zither of Japan. The term refers to its origin and type: shiragi (Silla, an ancient Korean kingdom, 356–935 ce); goto (or koto; long zither). It is an early form of the Korean kayagum as transmitted to Japan. The shiragigoto has 12 silk strings crossing a soundboard made of paulownia, carved out inside to form a sound chamber, the top of which is slightly curved longitudinally and more sharply curved from side to side. The strings are attached to a curved string holder at the end to the player’s left; the holder is a piece of wood glued to the body and positioned to leave a gap between it and the end of the soundboard. 12 pieces of braid are tied around the holder, and the strings are joined to the braid. At the right-hand end the strings pass into the body and are secured beneath the soundboard. There are two fixed bridges, one towards each end, and movable bridges under each of the strings, which are sounded by a plectrum. Three ancient ...

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