How To Tune Your Kora

  • The diagram below shows the bridge of a kora as viewed from above, i.e. when the instrument is held in the playing position.
  • This is the tuning known as ‘Silaba’ which is similar to a Western Major scale*
    – Another common tuning is Suarta (you will see various spellings) where the 4th in the scale is sharpened, so in the example below all the B flats would become naturals.
  • The pitches are shown using western music notation
    – starting on F in this example but any other pitch can be used, and tonic soh-fah.
  • The lowest note is the one nearest the player on the left hand side.
  • The notes then rise in pitch as indicated by following the red arrows.
    – The second third and fourth notes of the scale (rah, me, fahG°, A°, Bflat°) are missing in the first part of the scale on the left hand side

F0 doh C0 soh D0 lah E0 teh G1 rah Bb1 fah D1 lah F2 doh A2 me C2 soh E2 teh F1 doh A1 me C1 soh E1 teh G2 rah Bb2 fah D2 lah F3 doh G3 rah A3 me