Mr. Mizu - Music & Art -Denver Colorado

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How do you tune that crazy thing?

 

Koras have several unique sytems of tuning not found on other instruments.

Fortunately 3 of them are compatible with the more traditional scales most musicians are used to.

 

Silaba / Tomora Ba:

Means “main road”

F-G-A-A#-C-D-E

Matches perfectly with F major, also works with D minor

 

Tomora Mesengo :

Means “lesser road”

F-G-G#-A#-C-D-D#

Similar to C minor/ D# major

 

Sawta:

F-G-A-B-C-D-E

Similar to C major and A minor

 

Isn't it interesting that the 'major" scale is called the "main road" and the "minor" is the "lesser road"?

 

Since the root note of all of these scales is "F", it doesn't take much adjustment to switch between them. It is important to note that the lowest octave is "missing" some notes. If your Kora has 22 strings, with the 2nd string coming over the end of the bridge, that string can be set to one of the "missing" notes.

 

It may be easier to understand this with a "tuning map".  These maps are made as if you are holding the instrument in the playing position looking down on the bridge.





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