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Kayageum, gayagum

The kayageum is a twelve-string long zither of Korea found in two forms, a larger court version and the smaller sanjo version used as an instrument of virtuosity, to accompany singing, and in small ensembles. The kayagum descended from the ancient Chinese zheng and it still bears a striking resemblance to early zheng. Somewhat shorter than is other Asian relatives, the kayageum has twelve silk string that are plucked and struck with the fingertips, no fingernails or artificial nails are used. The resulting sound is quite muted but well suited to the range of emotional expression common in Korean music. There are now thirty string kayaguem as well that are used in contemporary music and ensembles.

Country: Korea
Region: Asia
Type: zither

kayageum - Korean zither
©  R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002