Fretless Zither > Cordophones.
Latvia > Baltic > North Eastern Europe.
Acquisition Source: Randy
Kokle is a fretless plucked zither or psaltery it is a member of the
chordophone family. Kokle are from Latvia although they do have some
very close relatives being the Estonian Kannel, Lithuanian Kankles,
Russian gusli and Finish Kantele. Is is thought the tradition of playing
and making the kokle dates back to 2000 years. Although an archeological
discovery revealed a specimen of a kokle to date back to the 13th
century. Written record of the Kokle can be traced back to the 17th
century. In the 21st century the Kokle is one of the most admired
musical instruments in Latvia.
Types of Kokle:
Kokle differ in their design from region to
region. For example my variety of Kokle is from the Kurzemes region,
where the capitol city of Riga resides. Kurzeme kokle's are usually very
ornate their hand patterns are hand carved. In contrast Latgalian
kokle's are often plain in appearance and do have a different profile of
wing and over all body shape, both types of kokle usually have 11
strings, and share the same beautiful sound when played. Developed in
the 20th century Chromatic kokle appeared mainly in use for large
ensembles, orchestral accompaniment and symphonic arrangements.
length can range from 50 to 70 centimetres depending on the specimen of
the instrument. Kokle are typically constructed from birch, pine, willow
or oak. Older kokle feature dowel construction to keep the instrument
together they are carved by hand and assembled with animal hide glue.
Wooden friction tuning pegs which are still used to this day and a metal
rod are used to keep the strings in tune.