Taishōgoto

Name: Taishōgoto.
Type: Zither > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122.4
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.
Inventor: Gorō Morita, Nagoya Japan 1912.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Acquisition Source: Ghandara Volka, Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.

Description: The taishōgoto [大正琴] or Nagoya harp, is a Japanese stringed musical instrument. The name derives from the Taishō period [1912–1926] when the instrument first appeared. It has also become naturalized in East Africa, often under the name Taishokoto. It also appears in the island of Lombok Indonesia under the name “mandilu”.

History: The Taishōgoto was developed in 1912 by the musician Gorō Morita in Nagoya. He had received a scholarship from the first prime minister of Japan to study music instruments in Europe and the United States for two years. He subsequently came up with the idea of combining the mechanics of a typewriter with an instrument.

Construction: The taisho-goto it a rectangular box-shaped being a box zither. The body of the instrument is built of Paulownia wood. A sound whole is cut into the right side of the musical instrument. The playing keys are fitted underneath top cover which is mounted on the back by two chromed angular steel braces. The playing keys are fitted into a piece of softwood screwed in to the bottom of cover. Among the melody strings there are two wound strings and three plain strings. The thickest wound string serves as a drone. The strings are tuned in a unison although the plain strings and wound strings are tuned an octave apart. A decorative piece of plastic is is mounted over where the tuners are installed.

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