koto

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koto. 13-stringed Japanese psaltery, strs. being of waxed silk, tuned by movable bridges. 6′ in length, 3″ high and 9″ wide. Rests on floor, the right end being raised by 2 small legs. Player sits on his heels, plucking the strs. with right hand and using plectra on thumb and first 2 fingers, modifying pitch with left hand. Used in ritualistic mus. and regarded since 17th cent. as Japanese nat. instr.