This is the letter page K of the Musical Dictionary from Classical and Jazz


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Musical Dictionary: K



K: 1. "Kochel", used instead of opus numbers to designate the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
    2. "Kirkpatrick", used to designate the works of Domenico Scarlatti.

Kalimba: Also called mbira, sansa, sanza and thumb Piano. Having African origins, it is an obsolete, plucked instrument named after the Congolese tribe. It is constructed of a flat wooden box with attached metal plates. The plates are plucked with thumb and forefingers to hit the box producing its liquid, twanging sound.

Kamancha: A type of fiddle seen in Iran and the Islamic world. It is played with a flexible bow over its two to four strings. The strings are stretched over a heart shaped or rounded body and a long unfretted neck.

Kanon: Canon.

Kapellmeister: "Master of the chapel." Director of music for a church or royalty.

Kantele: Originally a trapezoid of five strings, this is a Finnish version of a Zither or Psaltery. The modern version has 12 to 46 metal strings tuned diatonically.

Kayagum: A Korean Zither with 12 strings that run over 12 high moveable bridges. It is usually accompanied by Drums.

Kazoo: The player hums into this short wooden, metal or plastic tube to create buzzing sounds as air moves over a membrane.

Kempul: A Gong 20 inches in diameter used in Japan.

Key: The tonal centre based on the tonic note of the scale.

Keyboards: A set of depressible levers, called keys, that when pressed activate the sound mechanism to which it is attached. It is typically laid our horizontally but can be vertical.

Key signature: Sharps or flats written at the beginning of a staff line to indicate which pitches are to be raised or lowered from their natural state during the composition.

Kithara: The kithara is an ancient Greek instrument that was popular in Rome as well. Some documents site it as the root of both the Guitar and Zither. It is made of a wooden resonator box, seven or more strings tuned by tension. The player held it vertically plucking with one hand and stopping the strings with the other.

Kora: With origins in West Africa it has been described as a harplute. A leather-covered gourd is used as the resonator. A long neck supports 21 strings on two courses to be plucked by its player, called a "jabi", sitting on the ground.

Kortholt: An obsolete woodwind instrument: one piece of cylindrical wood, bored with parallel channels played via windcap which is a wooden cover hiding a double reed.

Koto: The National Japanese instrument plucked with a plectrum or fingers on a low mat or table by its player. It is similar to a long Zither having up to 17 silk strings.

Kreuz: (Gr.) A sharp.

Kyrie: "Lord." In the Mass, the first part of the ordinary.

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