The gayageum or kayagum (in Korean 가야금) is a traditional Korean plucked zither similar to other Asian instruments like the Chinese guzheng, Japanese koto, Mongolian yatga, Vietnamese đàn tranh, Sundanese kacapi and Kazakh jetigen. Traditionally found with 12 strings, modern varients have been found to have 18, 21 or even 25 strings with our example having 18.
The gayageum is traditionally played when sitting on the floor with crossed legs, the head of the instrument resting on the right knee and the tail resting on the floor. When played whilst seated on a chair or stool, the tail end is usually placed on a special fold-out stand, similar to a camp-stool, or another chair/stool. For modern gayageum, they may be placed on a special stand with the player seated on a chair behind the instrument. The North Koreans usually play whilst seated on a chair, but they do not use a stand of the tail end. Instead, the gayageum has detachable legs that are fixed into the end to raise the tail high enough.
The gayageum is played with both right and left hands. The right hand plucks and flicks the strings close to the bridge of the gayageum, whilst the left hand pushes the strings on the left side of the bridges to raise the pitch and adds vibrato and other ornamentation.
18 String Gayageum
Strung with Metal Strings
Latched Wooden Hardcase for Transportation with Floral Pattern Interior
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