E815 - 大正琴 Taisho Koto (Taishogoto) Kimura 梓 (NgYL)
Date Listed 26/09/2016
大正琴 Taisho Koto (Taishogoto) Kimura 梓.
Taisho koto is a kind of Japanese harp invented and put on sale on September 9, 1912, by Mr. Nisaburo Kawaguchi who commonly called himself "Goro Morita".
●He was raised as the second son of "Morita-ya", an inn, located near Ohsu-Kannon temple in Ohsu town, Nagoya. It is said Goro lived in Ohsu town and
●He went to the United States and Europe.
There are several views when he went abroad and returned. It is said that he got the idea to invent the taishokoto with reference to the key-mechanism of the typewriter that he might have seen in foreign countries and the two stringed Japanese harp called Azuma-ryu (Azuma school) Nigen-kin (Two strings Japanese harp) which was popular at the time in Japan. The new musical instrument invention with two strings was named "Kiku koto" (Kiku means chrysanthemum in English) at the beginning. So after the first sales the name was changed to "Taishokoto" because the date of sales was soon after the Imperial era named "Taisho". Thus, the beginning of the taishokoto musical instrument in general.
Current (standard) 6 stringed taishokoto has 3 steel strings of equal gauge and one wound string above the fret-board. This wound string is one octave below than steel string. Picking these 4 strings at once with plectrum makes a milder sound than that of 3 steel strings. Adding 4 strings on fret-board standard model has 2 wound strings which are drone strings and set on this side of the fret-board. The 1st string is one octave below than steel one and the 2nd string is one octave below more than the 1st one. Models of Kinshuukai do not have these two drone strings as it is not necessary for playing. Two drone strings are for solo play without accompaniment, but Kinshuukai uses electronic sequencer to the accompaniment, generally playing in unison with soprano taishokoto or ensemble with soprano and alto taishokoto. To push the key (button) of taishokoto is the same reason as you push your finger on fret-board of guitar. It makes the musical scale. Commonly "Soprano taishokoto" is simply called taishokoto and there are other models for ensemble performance. "Alto taishokoto" is one octave below than soprano one with two wound strings and "Tenor taishokoto" is one octave below than alto one with one wound string only and "Bass taishokoto" is one octave below than tenor one with one wound string only. The number of strings depends on schools. Taishokoto has more than 2 octave ranges. It has 26 or 27 keys (bottons). The standard tuning for soprano taishokoto is g’g’g’ with g and G as drones.
Figure is printed on each key of taishokoto like that of typewriter. Music sheets are written by figures. Meaning of figures on music sheet and that of figures on keys of taishokoto are the same. The Key 1 is "Do" and the key 2 is "Re" and 3 is "Mi" and so on. Beautiful sounds echo by pushing the key with the left designated finger looking at figure on the music sheet and the same figure on key and picking strings with the right hand. Everybody can enjoy playing taishokoto easily without special knowledge of music. This is why taishokoto is "easy to play".