Kayagym: description of the instrument, composition, history, use, playing technique

Kayagym: description of the instrument, composition, history, use, playing technique

Gayageum is a musical instrument from Korea. Belongs to the category of strings, plucked, outwardly resembles Russian gusli, has an expressive soft sound.


The Korean instrument consists of the following elements:

  • Frame. The material of manufacture is wood (usually paulownia). The shape is elongated, at one end there are 2 holes. The surface of the case is flat, sometimes decorated with national ornaments and drawings.
  • Strings. Standard models designed for solo performance are equipped with 12 strings. Orchestral kayagyms have 2 times more quantity: 22-24 pieces. The more strings, the richer the range. The traditional material of manufacture is silk.
  • Mobile stands (anjok). Located between the body and the strings. Each string is associated with “its” filly. The purpose of the moving stands is to set up the instrument. The material of manufacture of this part is different – wood, metal, bone.


The Chinese instrument guzheng is considered to be the predecessor of the gayageum: the Korean craftsman Wu Ryk in the XNUMXth century AD. adapted it, modified it slightly, wrote several plays that became popular. The novelty quickly spread throughout the country, becoming one of the most beloved musical instruments by Koreans: melodious sounds came from both palaces and from the houses of commoners.


Kayagym is equally suitable for performing solo works, for playing in a folk orchestra. Often it is used in combination with the sounds of the Chette flute. The well-known contemporary kayagim player Luna Li, known far beyond the borders of her homeland, became famous for her performance of rock hits in the national heritage in an original, Koreanized manner.

Korean kayagimist ensembles perform with particular success, their composition is exclusively female.

Play technique

When playing, the performer sits cross-legged: one edge of the structure is on the knee, the other is on the floor. The Play process involves the active work of both hands. Some musicians use a plectrum to produce sounds.

Common playing techniques: pizzicato, vibrato.

Корейский Каягым

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