The kayakum is a twelve-stringed
zither. It was first used in the sixth
century. It is made of a long rectangular piece of wood. On top
of twisted silk stretch across a series of bridges, much like a
violin or cello, only a lot more. The instrument is played in a
sitting position. Sounds are made by plucking and flicking the strings
with the fingers of the right hand. The left hand presses down on
the strings to the left of the movable bridges.
is said to have been invented by King
of the Kaya Kingdom around 560 AD, and
composed music for it. The materials used are identical as the case
of the Keomungo.
Its length is 164 centimeters, and its width, 26 centimeters, and
it has a dozen strings with different thickness.
The player places it on his right knee, plays on, or plucks with
his right-hand fingers, while pressing the strings with his left-hand
fingers. The Kayakum is divided into two kinds:"Elegance" (Byongchang) type and "Solo"
(Sanjo) type, but the structure is basically
the name, except that their sizes are slightly different.
The sound the Kayakum produces is clear and graceful, and so, it
is used widely for solo, accompaniment or ensemble.