Kabosy short lute in the shape of a box, from Madagascar

Kamaycha vertically held string instrument from India. nineteen strings, three of gut for melody, two of brass for drone, and fourteen of steel for sympathetic resonance

Kammer (German) chamber

Kammerton (German) the pitch used for instruments in Germany during the Baroque period, where a’ was about 410-425 Hz

Kankukus Afro-Brazilian dance

Kanon (German) canon

Kantele traditional Finnish stringed instrument, laid on a table or across the player’s knees and plucked

Kanun Middle Eastern instrument dating before the time of Christ. similar to a zither, 72-75 grouped strings, which are tuned flat and then raised or lowered in small semitone increments using a series of latches

Karaoke popular nightclub style from Japan where customers sing the melody to accompanying prerecorded tracks

Kaum (German) barely

Kavatine (German) cavatina

Kayagum a Korean 12-string zither


Kecak ancient Balinese trance dance performed to appease the gods in times of difficulty

Keck (German) audacious

Keckheit (German) audacity

Keen an Irish funeral song

Keineswegs (German) no way

Keleli a two or three string long necked lute from Chad

Kerfing (guitar lining) is Tapered strip(s) of wood glued around the inside seams of a guitar to add strength and stability where the sides meet the top and back. Kerfing has spaced slits that render the wood strip flexible. see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Key specific scale or series of notes defining a particular tonality

Key note the first note of the scale upon which a piece of music is based

Key signature an arrangement of sharps or flats placed on the far left hand side of each line of the staff, indicating scale of the piece. see key signature in Elements of a Musical Score see Elements of Standard Notation for Classical Guitar  see Table of Key Signatures


Kidumbak a style from Zanzibar, percussive and dance-based

Kind (German) child

Kinder (German) children

Kindlich (German) childlike

Kirche (German) church

Kirchencantate (German) church cantata

Kitchen department unkind description of the percussion section of an orchestra

Kithara ancient Greek lyre-like instrument, a square or rounded resonator box (body) and as many as eleven gut strings supported by a yoke attached to two arms attached to and rising from the body

Kitsch a work that is shallow, pretentious, gaudy, without substance, or calculated to have popular appeal

Kizomba music an Angolan style based on the semba, rumba and quilapanga


Klagend (German) lamenting

Kläglich (German) lamentable

Klammer (German) brace

Klang (German) sound, tone

Klangfarbe (German) timbre, tone

Klar (German) clear, distinct

Klein (German) small, minor

Kleine (German) small, minor

Klingen (German) resonant, to sound

Klingend (German) resonant, to sound


Kneifend (German) pizzicato,  plucking


Koa Koa was first used as a tonewood in the ukuleles of Hawaii for its warm tone. Colors ranging from brown to gold with rich and varying grain. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar 

Kobsa plucked lute

Kokle Latvian lap zither

Kolomyika a quick duple-time Polish dance

Komisch (German) comic

Kompa popular style of Haitian tropical music created in the 1950s

Komponiert (German) composed

Komun-go Korean six-string zither

Komuz a three stringed lute from Kyrgyzstan

Koni a small traditional four-stringed lute in the form of a teardrop from Gambia

Kono strummed lute from Ghana

Kontingo West African lute

Kontrapunkt (German) counterpoint

Kontretanz a country dance

Konzert (German) concert, concerto

Konzertstück informal concert piece, usually in one movement, for solo instruments and orchestra

Kopuz Central Asian Turkic short lute

Kora  West African harp lute with 19 strings, popular in Gambia, Senegal and Mali. has a skin stretched across a large gourd, a wooden neck and gut or nylon fishwire strings stretched across a tall bridge. played in a similar way to a harp

Koryaga one stringed instrument with a string fixed on a curved branch of a tree. The sound is made by a violin bow or plucked, and the notes are changed with the use of a wire bent over the branches’ ends.

Kostenka (German) a type of Serbian dance

Koto a 13 string Japanese zither of Chinese origin. about 6 feet long. laid horizontally with waxed silken strings stretched tightly over movable bridges along the length of the instrument. plucked using ivory picks


Kraft (German) strength, vigour

Kräftig strong, vigorous

Krakoviak Polish dance from the Kraków region, in 2/4 time with syncopated rhythms

Krakowiak Polish dance from the Kraków region, in 2/4 time with syncopated rhythms

Krar a six-string bowl-shaped lyre from Ethiopia

Kreis (German) cycle, circle

Kreuz (German) the sharp sign


Kucheng a 16 or 21-stringed zither. the most popular plucked traditional Chinese instrument on Taiwan

Kujawiak a quick, triple-time Polish dance

Kum Korean seven-stringed zither used in court music

Kurz (German) short

Kurze (German) short

Kurzer Vorschlag (German) acciaccatura


Kwaito an urban South African genre developed in the 1990s, a fusion of various musical sounds that were popular in the 1990s, including South African dance music, hip hop, Jamaican influences, house music and rhythm and blues

Kwassa-kwassa dance style from the Democratic Republic of Congo that was developed in the 1980’s