The Japanese koto is a large wooden stringed instrument. It looks curved, and very simple. It’s played with picks worn on the fingers, similar to those used in playing the guitar. The pressure of the pics, combined with unique hand movements that press on the other strings make a very unique sound. According to historians, the koto was invented around the fifth to third century B.C. in China.
New age Japanese music saved this romantic traditional of koto music from dying out, as it was becoming unpopular. This revival was intentional, and it was a collaborative effort on the part of new musicians, composers, poets, and academics. Western themes were inserted into koto music, and thus began its revival. Its revival was widespread, and now the koto is known throughout the world.
The richness of Japanese history and tradition that is displayed by koto music is a thing that is precious. The romantic tone of the koto sets the scene for the romantic style it was intended for. Whether the tradition of the koto is brought to life through a concert, or the romantic style is recorded and played for all to hear, the world is better because this wonderful Japanese tradition was kept alive. .
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