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The Taishōgoto, also known as the Nagoya harp

The taishōgoto (大正琴), or Nagoya harp, is a Japanese stringed musical instrument. The name derives from the Taishō period (1912–1926) when the instrument first appeared. It has also become naturalized in East Africa, often under the name Taishokoto.[1] It is essentially a Keyboard Psalmodikon w/ multiple strings.

There are 4 types available: soprano has 5 or 6 strings, alto has 4 or 5 strings, tenor and bass have 1 or 2 strings.

The melody strings are tuned in G octave and the drone strings to D.[clarification needed]


A shoulder strapped model.

The Taishōgoto was developed in 1912 by the musician Gorō Morita in Nagoya. He came up with the idea of combining the mechanics of a typewriter with an instrument.

The taishōgoto bears a close resemblance to the bulbul tarang from India, and the akkordolia from Germany, all sharing the same principle of using keys to press down on strings to change their pitch. It also bears some resemblance to the Swedish nyckelharpa for the same reason, although the action and the method of playing the strings is very different. The instrument was used by Krautrock band Neu! on its first album in 1972, as well as by Harmonia.[2] The song "Big Ideas" by Arctic Monkeys features a taishōgoto solo.[citation needed]


  1. ^ [1] [dead link]
  2. ^ Albiez, Sean; Pattie, David (January 2011). Kraftwerk: Music Non-Stop. New York: Continuum. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-4411-9136-6.

External links[edit]

Media related to Taishōgoto at Wikimedia Commons