A true multi-cultural instrument

The Ko-ta-mo is a mix of three different instruments: koto, tambura and monochord. The monochord goes back to Pythagoras and is thus of European origin, the tambura is an Indian accompanying instrument and the koto is a Japanese melody instrument. So it’s a real multi-cultural instrument.

The way of playing is relatively simple. From the first moment you can lure very beautiful sounds from the instrument.

Of course, the kotamo can also be combined with classical instruments such as guitar or violin, which often creates completely new sound spaces and ideas.

Kotamo - Manufactory Meerklang


The monochord is on one side of the instrument, the koto and tambura on the other. When you run your fingers over the monochord side, where all the strings are tuned to one note, a sound develops which is at the same time very wide open and full of overtones and yet surprisingly deep. It’s fascinating to experience that although all the strings are tuned to one note, a whole spectrum of other notes (overtones) can be heard. On the acoustic level  through the monochord you experience that all tones are contained within one tone.

On the other side of the instrument there are 18 strings, four of which are the tambura and 14 the koto.
The tambura is tuned to the same note as the monochord and has one additional string tuned to the interval of a fifth. The four strings are strung across a bridge which creates the typical buzzing, mystical sound similar to that of the Indian sitar.
The 14 strings of the koto can be tuned to any note using a moveable wooden slide. So you can experiment with very different scales and experience the different keys and moods which this creates. You can set the strings at diatonic, pentatonic, Indian or Japanese scales, just as you wish. Or you can set up the slide as the mood takes you and thereby discover what mood you are in.

Way of playing

The three instruments can be played at the same time, which makes a wonderful combined sound. You can play the root note with your left hand on the tambura and monochord and play a melody with your right hand on the koto. If you tune the koto so that all the notes harmonize with the root note, you can improvise freely without thinking at all.


  • Music therapy

  • Sound meditation

  • Improvisation

  • Overtone singing

  • Sound therapy

  • Psychotherapy

  • Sound healing

  • Trance work

  • Sound journeys

  • Natural sound music

  • Voice formation