Koto Sound Dictionary


The koto has 13 strings, each of which can be tuned to nearly any pitch. The tunings hirajoshi and kumoijoshi are two traditional tunings for solo koto repertoire which were developed in the 17th century. In the 19th century, the tunings gakujoshi and nogijoshi were introduced into solo koto performance practice for accompanying folksongs and other popular songs.

Here is list of standard koto tunings:

    string:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    Hira-choshi   D4 G3 A3 Bb3 D4 Eb4 G4 A4 Bb4 D5 Eb5 G5 A5
    Kumoi-choshi   D4 G3 Ab3 C4 D4 Eb4 G4 Ab4 C5 D5 Eb5 G5 A5
    Hon-kumoi-choshi (original kumoi-choshi)   D4 G3 Ab3 C4 D4 Eb4 G4 Ab4 C5 D5 Eb5 G5 Ab5
    Nogi-choshi   D4 G3 A3 B3 D4 E4 G4 A4 B4 D5 E5 G5 A5
    Gaku-choshi   D4 G3 A3 C4 D4 E4 G4 A4 C5 D5 E5 G5 A5
    Kokin-choshi   D4 G4 A3 C4 D4 Eb4 G4 A4 C5 D5 Eb5 G5 A5
    Iwato-choshi (Ikuta school)   D4 G3 Ab3 C4 Db4 F4 G4 Ab4 C5 Db5 F5 G5 Ab5
    Nakazora-choshi (Ikuta school)   D4 G3 A3 Bb3 D4 E4 F4 A4 Bb4 D5 E5 F5 A5