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Traditional Japanese Music - The Christian Era and Tokugawa (1549-1867)

The shakuhachi is a kind of bamboo recorder with a blowing edge and four fingerholes; it has a generally appealing mellow tone. It is naturally curved, long, thick, low-pitched, and resonant. It naturally produces the notes of D, F, G, A, D. There are four types of biwa, or bass lutes: Gaku-biwa, Heike-biwa, moso-biwa, and Satsuma-biwa. The Heike-biwa is smaller than the Gaku-biwa; it has four strings and 5 frets. The moso-biwa is the smallest of the bass lutes; it...

Traditional Japanese Music after the Meiji Restoration

After the restoration, Western music in Japan developed through two ways: the military and the educational system. From 1869 on, the Satsuma army band was trained by the British John William Fenton. Also, Western music was extensively introduced into the educational systems in an attempt to modernize. Now, all styles of Western music are enjoyed in Japan - chamber music, choruses, brass bands, opera, ballet, and pop are just a few examples. The Japanese general public first began to have...

Traditional Japanese Music - Buddhism to the end of the Nara Period

The coming of Buddhism brought numerous new instruments and liturgical chant; immigrants from countries such as Korea, China, South-East Asia, and India included acrobatics, instrumental concerts, and solo performances. Buddhist priests learned and expounded upon sutra collections. There were various sutras for different occasions; the main sutras were performed on designated days. They all varied in pitch and tempo, symbolizing and according to mystic revelation and intensity...

Traditional Japanese Music - Heian Period (794-1185)

Gagaku was the music performed for the nobility and upper class at Court. It's divided into three categories: original foreign music, pure Japanese music, and combinations of the two. The foreign music of Gagaku is further divided into To-gaku and Komogaku--music of Chinese origin and Korean origin, respectively. This music is purely instrumental. The pure Japanese musc, Kokofu kabu, is vocal with instrumental accompaniment. The third category includes Saibara, from folksongs, and Roei, from chanted Chinese poetry...

Traditional Japanese Music - Kamakura and Muromachi (1185-1573)

Buddhist musical instruments are divided into eight categories: metal, stone, silk, bamboo, leather, clay, horn,and wood. The metal instruments include, shoku (a large bell), hachi (large bronze cymbals), myo (large bronze gong), do-byoshi (small hand-carried timpani); stone includes kakko, and kei (suspended stone chime); silk includes kin, and biwa; bamboo has the teki (tranverse flute), sho (mouth organ), and fue (panpipe); leather consists of taiko, watashi-tsuzumi, and ko-tsuzumi; earth includes the kwan (clay whistle); horn and shell are kaku gai;...

Learn to read music and how to stay in time

How often do we sit down and listen to a piece of music, and only to wish that we could play as good as that? And yet to read the basics of music is actually quite a simple thing. This article is for those of us who have little or no knowledge of music reading. And hopefully this will help to build our appreciation even more when we do listen to music being played well by someone else. Anyone is...

Introduction. What is Music?

We are often talking about music, but what it really is? Just look, what various sources thinks: "an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner" (

Medieval European music

Medieval European music is music from the European middle ages, which is generally divided into two periods: the Ars Antiqua and the Ars Nova. Characteristics of the time are styles such as Plainsong, as well as basic polyphony in the later Ars Nova period. Music of the time is modal and difficult to listen to in an authentic way because of the modern ear's tendency to hear music in a diatonic context. The early music period is marked by the...

Authentic performance

The authentic performance movement is an effort on the part of musicians and scholars to perform works of classical music in ways similar to how they were performed when they were originally written. The movement had its beginnings in the performance of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, but subsequently came to incorporate the Classical and even Romantic eras as well. The two methods adopted by authentic performance artists have been to use historically appropriate instruments and to rely on written...

Traditional Japanese Music - Beginnings

Some of the earliest musical devices found in Japan date back to the Yayoi period--prior to AD 250. The most import instruments found from this era are the bells, or dotaku. The bells come in two forms: one smaller, and the other larger. The smaller type, which is also the older, was mostly for musical purposes. They are cast in white copper, or bronze alloy. Unlike other larger Chinese and Korean types which were struck from the outside, these had...