Kamis, 21 Januari 2010

Japanese Traditional Instrumental Music An overview of solo and ensemble development

Although Japan is obviously the most Westernized country in all of Asia, Japanese people are known as being great guardians of tradition. When it comes to music and all other forms of art, traditions are firmly and safely preserved, yet, as in all Asian countries, there is a decline; the youth being more interested in pop and rock music then their own traditions. Modernization is surely a threat; but the sense of tradition in Japan is so strong that their traditional music will continue to thrive and, to a small extent, with the help of the West.

Japanese music is extremely diverse: solo music, chamber music, court music, festival and folk music, different types of theatre music, percussion music, epic singing, and many more. This article presents a general overview of Japanese traditional solo and how it evolved into ensemble music.

I will start with describing the most important principles in Japanese aesthetic, principles which are used in all forms of art. It will be followed by a section on the traditional teaching of music. I will then move on to music itself; its historical beginnings, its evolution into solo music and then into ensemble music. The conclusion will briefly present today's situation. I also include a list of suggested CDs for those who want to investigate further into Japanese music.

Traditional Japanese music is basically meditative in character. Its performance is highly ritualized, as much in the music itself, as in the composure of the musicians when performing it. Japanese chamber and solo music have a slow meditative pace. Westerners obviously discern melodies and musical structures, but ones which do not have much in common with Western music.

The performance of Japanese music has traditionally been of a spiritual character, similarly to martial arts and other art forms of arts such as the tea ceremony and calligraphy, for example. The musician works on an inner strength in mastering of his or her instrument, more than simply perfecting a technique of some sort and providing entertainment. Audiences are looking for this self-mastery in musicians. For this reason, among many, this music has become highly ritualised. Musicians must show this spiritual self-mastery in their performance and composure.

Traditional Japanese music uses concrete elements which serve to represent natural sounds and the sounds of life. Contrary to Western music, the musician's self-expression is minimized through the ritualistic and contemplative use of these concrete sounds and effects. Many Westerners feel there is not much emotion in Japanese music. This important distinction in their aesthetic of music is important for Westerners to understand, and for the appreciation of Japanese traditional music.

Although composers were signing their works during the Nara period (553-794 AD), much earlier than the Europeans, composers and writers alike did not consider they had intellectual and individual rights over their work (though this has changed since the 20th century following Western influences). There are apparently two reasons for this. First, music, as well as theatre and poetry, are based on strict forms and patterns of composition, which are strictly followed. The concept of individual rights, thus, did not apply in this context. The second reason is that for the Japanese mind, the social and collective ego has precedence over the individual ego . So, when a musician writes a new musical work, it is done in the spirit of the school of which he or she belongs, and it is considered part of the repertoire of that school first and foremost. In this sense, tradition and the tradition of the school one belongs to have precedence over one's individuality. In this line of thought it is even accepted for another musician, member of a school or not, to adapt and modify a piece from another musician according to the style of their own school. Many pieces have different versions according to a musician's or a school's style.

For Japanese, the basic principle governing the universe is not God or man, but time - a time which is a primordial flowing energy, through which everything evolves and becomes . The concept of naru, meaning becoming, is very important in Japanese traditional music and all other Japanese forms of art. It is even considered a natural law. All art evolves through its own temporal movement and flow. This includes as well the movement of the painter or the sculptor in creating their works, the musician performing a piece of music, a poet reciting a poem or an actor performing in a play.

One of the most important aesthetic principle in Japanese music follows from this concept of naru. This principle is called jo-ha-kyû, which means roughly introduction, development and conclusion. It is a temporal aesthetic principle on which music is based, from a single note to entire pieces. It regulates the flow of time in a piece of music so that all notes, words and parts flow flawlessly between each other. Jo-ha-kyû manifests the flow of nature in temporal arts.

There is another principle which is very important in Japanese arts: the ma, which is generally translated as space ; but it is not a physical space but it is more a sensory space, which involves physical space as well as the space of time. In music, it is felt through the silences between musical phrases or single notes, or through the jo-ha-kyû while playing a single note or a phrase. In a flower arrangement, it is felt through the arrangement of the different flowers, branches or leafs. Or, in a Japanese tea room, one might see a beautiful kimono hung on a corner. The ma is felt not through its physical place in the room, but through what a kimono evokes in one's mind when notices it: the beauty of wearing such a beautiful kimono. The ma is sensory in relation to what is evoked in a person's mind when experiencing something.
Teaching in Japanese Music
In Japan, a 'school' does not refer to a specific institution as is generally meant in the Western world, but refers more specifically to a style of playing. The Japanese school system is comparable to our Western guild system. When a school is created by a well-known musician, students become his followers and thus learn a technique and style of playing typical to that musician, and which differs from other schools of that instrument. There are schools for single instruments as for ensemble music. Schools always bear the name of their founders. When a musician brings a development of some sort in the playing of his instrument, he will create a school to promulgate his new or different style of playing. This will go as so far as a student who disagrees with his master over some technical aspects. He might leave and create his own school according to the change in style he created. There are a number of schools, but few only a few remain popular and influential. Schools come and go. The school system is still extremely strong in Japan and the competition can be fierce at times between competing schools.

The traditional teaching of music in Japan is considered intuitive, in the sense that the teacher does not say much; he goes straight into the music. In fact, it is not considered good for a student to ask too many questions, or the teacher to talk too much. In Japan, too many questions distract from the real goal of learning music. The student must observe and intuitively feel what the teacher wants him to learn. Most of the time the teacher plays with the student. The role of the student is to play while observing and intuitively feeling what and how the teacher is playing. It is this intuitive understanding that teachers want their students to learn.

Traditionally, a teacher would not make a specific schedule for his or her students. The teaching is traditionally done on a basis of first come, first served. Today, a time is given for each student, but some of the older teaching ideas are still kept. For example, it is common for the teacher to force his or her students to wait a certain period of time for his turn. The students are generally waiting in the room where the teaching is taking place. A good student is the one who is attentive to the lesson given to the other student; he can learn as much watching another student's lesson than during his or her own lesson. The learning process is thus a lengthy one; and the students must be patient. There are scores which differ from one instrument to the other (a shakuhachi player will not be able to play on his shakuhachi a koto or shamisen score, for example, because of how each score is is written). These scores are playing aids; most of the is learning is rote learning.

As a pupil, the student must respect and follow his teacher and the style of playing of his teacher. He is not allowed to study with a teacher from other schools. There is a strong sense of in-group and belonging. It is even the teacher who decides if and when a student is ready to play in a concert.

After years of study, a student can get his titles, such as the jun-shi-han, which allows the student to teach his instruments, the shi-han or master title, or great master title or dai-shi-han. All Japanese art forms follow pretty much this pattern. It can take years to receive one's shi-han. This is one among many reasons why there has been a decline in interest by young people in the study traditional art forms. Some teachers have been adapting their teaching to a more Western style, with a shorter time span of learning.
A Short Historical Background
Archaeologists were able to trace back life on the Japanese islands to around 3,000 years BC. Yet, the first true records historians can rely on start somewhere around the 4th century AD, at a time when Japanese monks were sent to China to study; bringing back among other things, writing and different spiritual and philosophical teachings, in particular Buddhism and Confucianism, new social views, which were fully embraced by the new government. The first historic period of importance in Japan is the Nara period (553-794). The first officially established government tried to impose a social and intellectual order based on the Chinese one. At that time, Japan society was then based on clans, as it has pretty much been the case until wars finally stopped with the Tokugawa shoguns in the 17th century.

These monks also learned, brought and then taught different art forms, and in particular, musical instruments and styles of music unknown in Japan at the time. The main style of music brought is known by the Japanese name of Gagaku, meaning elegant or refined music. It entered Japan around 612 and quickly became the privileged music of the court. Besides being foremost a music of Chinese origin, during the then Tang Dynasty, Gagaku had important influences from Korean as well as Indian music. When in China, the monks were in fact taught by Chinese and Korean musicians. Up until around the 10th century the repertoire and the ensemble itself were adapted to suit Japanese taste; and new pieces were even composed. But since the 10th century, the repertoire as well as the way this music has been performed has remained almost exactly the same. It is believed that the sound of a Gagaku ensemble and its style of playing are almost the same today as it was a thousand years ago.

The instruments forming aGagakuensemble at its beginning in the 7th century were of three types: percussion, string and wind. Among the percussion instruments, we find different sized drums, such as the enormous da-daiko or the ninai-Daiko drums, the design of which is indicative of their Korean origins (a design still kept today). There are some smaller drums, gongs, cymbals and other smaller instruments. We find three stringed instruments: the wagon, a 7-stringed table zitherThe Japanese table zither is sometimes called the Japanese harp because its sound is similar to the Western harp. Of typically Chinese origin, it can be found in Viet-Nam, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. It is a long instrument that is placed either on the floor or on a table. The musician plays it by putting plectra on three fingers of the right hand. With the right hand, the strings are plucked, while with the left hand, the strings are pressed either to change the pitch of a note or create different effects, such as a vibrato.1, the gaku-so, a 13-stringed table zither, the ancestor of the koto, and the gaku-biwa, a 4-stringed lute. Among the winds, we find the hichiriki, a short double-reed instrument, with a very distinctive sound, the sho, a mouth organ, as well as three different transverse flutes: the kagura-bue, the koma-bue and the ryuteki. At the start, the shakuhachi was also part of theGagakuorchestra, but was removed around the 9th century.

These instruments were among the first foreign musical instruments to reach the Japanese shores. Some of these instruments attracted more the attention and interest of music lovers and took a path distinct from the orchestra while still remaining part of it in one way or another (more specifically, the gaku-so, the gaku-biwa and many percussion instruments), while others have been used, up until today, only inGagakuorchestra (more specifically, the sho, the hichiriki and a few of the percussions). As for the shakuhachi; after having been removed from the orchestra, it did not attract anyone's attention for at least another 200 years.

Three of today's best-known Japanese traditional instruments were introduced in Japan at that time, i.e. thebiwa,thekotoand the shakuhachi. The other major Japanese instrument is theshamisen,a three-stringed lute, which came to Japan in the middle of the 16th century. These instruments went of course through changes and adaptations to suit Japanese musical tastes, evolving differently than their Chinese ancestors, as much in their fabrications, styles and techniques of playing as in their repertoires.An interesting point to mention is that the names of these four instruments is written with the same characters as in China.2
The Biwa
Photo of a biwa.The biwa is a lute. Its true ancestors is the Arabic Ud, which reached China during the time of the Silk Road from Central Asia, during the Han Period (206 BC-220 AD). It came to Japan during the Nara period (553-794) from China, as well as a smaller and similar lute which came from India. Like all lutes, thebiwahas a pear-shaped body, with four or five strings and four or more wooden frets. The strings are plucked with a quite rather large wooden plectrum, called a bachi, which is held in the palm of the right hand. One of the particular sound characteristics of the Japanesebiwais a buzzing resonance, called sawari or rattle; an effect produced between the strings and the frets. The strings are made of silk or gut and are thus very elastic.

We find biwa in different sizes, for different uses, and with different names depending on their uses. In Gagaku music, the gaku-biwa was used. It also developed as well as a solo instrument by the courtiers of the late-Nara (553-794) and Heian (794-1185) periods. Around that time, blind priests in the south of Japan started to use a smaller biwa, called the moso-biwa, of Indian origin, which felt suited to accompanying the singing of sutras. At least two other versions of biwa existed at that time.

In the 12th century, the blind-priest biwa players went through a decline, while, at the same time, a narrative tradition was created to recount a famous historical battle between the Heike and the Genji clans, called the Heike Monogatari or The Heike Story. The biwa created for this new narrative tradition has been called the Heike-biwa. But when the shamisen came to Japan in the 16th century, the biwa went into a decline. Yet, some musicians found ways to create new styles to keep the instrument alive up until today.

Overall, the biwa has been and is still used today to accompany narratives and storytelling. The patterns played by the singers on biwa are not always melodic, depending on the types of instrument used and the style. Patterns, melodic, rhythmic or otherwise, are used; in the 19th century, a more melodic accompaniment started to be used. Previously, the biwa was used as a kind of percussion instrument between the melodic phrases of the singers. In the 19th century, it came to accompany the singer. After World War II, some composers tried to modernize it, based on Western ideas, without much success.
The Koto
Photo of a koto.Since its introduction, the koto has been the most praised instrument by the Japanese court, the nobility and, later, the rising commercial class. Similarly to the piano in Western country, the koto has been, and is, played by well-educated girls.

Of Chinese origin, the koto is a table zither, approximately 2 meters long. It is one of the few musical instruments originally created in China. There, we find two main forms of this table zither: those with bridges and those without. The koto is developed from the one with bridges. Originally, the word koto meant all types of plucked instruments, which included at the beginning the biwa as well. Later it came to mean the Japanese table zithers. During the Nara period, there were two instruments of that family: the gaku-so with 12 or 13 strings, and the wagon with 6 strings. The gaku-so was used in theGagakuensemble and was plucked by three finger plectra, or tsume. There even existed a nigenkin with 2 strings and an ichigenkin, with one string. The latter is still played today by a few rare musicians. There exists today also a 17-stringed basskoto,and other versions with 20, 25 and even 30 strings.

No much is known about the early centuries of koto music, except for some legends that can not be confirmed and several mentions in The Tale of Genji and the Heike Monogatari . The first official records that have been kept on the koto are from a 16th century school, Tsukushi-goto, founded by a priest. But that music was considered vulgar , i.e. popular, and was not endorsed by the court. One student of that school, after being expelled from the school and created his own school which was then endorsed by the court, from which were created three of the best-known and most important pieces of the koto solo repertoire: Rokudan, Hachidan, and Midare.

In the 17th century, thekotostarted to be used to accompany dances and became part of ensembles. A new repertoire was created out of the shamisen repertoire. In fact, it was at that time that the music we call chamber music was created by a musician named Ikuta Kengyo. Up until then, the koto served as accompaniment for the singer - the same with the shamisen. The instrumental part became more important. At the end of 18th century, another musician, Yamada Kengyo, created a new style, also based on narrative shamisen forms, putting an emphasis back on the vocal part.

In the 20th century, attempts were made to modernize koto music based on Western principles. The most notable name is Michio Miyagi (1894-1956), who became blind at since the age of six. Another musician credited for modernizing koto music is Tadao Sawai (1937-1997). He brought to koto music a whole new perspective, especially a sense of rhythm never heard before.
The Shakuhachi
Photo of a shakuhachi.The shakuhachi, an end-blown flute, came from China with Gagaku music. At that time it had 6 holes. In the 9th century, it was removed from the orchestra. Around the same time, a monk tried to introduce a 5-hole version which did not attract the attention of musicians. It was around the 10th century that four Chinese monks were invited to teach the xiao, the ancestor of the shakuhachi, to Japanese monks, and slowly attract their interest. But it was not until the 13th century that monks of the Fuke sect thought of using it as a way to replace Buddhist sutra chanting. This new way of chanting the sutras was then called suizen or 'blowing zen'.

During the Edo period (1615-1868), the shakuhachi went through major changes. Up until that time, it was a thin and long flute, similarly to the Chinese xiao. In the 17th century, makers started to use a thicker bamboo found in the mountains of Japan's southern island of Kyushu, maintaining its original 5 holes. Instead of having a straight flute, four rows of roots were used at the bottom of the flute. The embouchure also became larger. The name shakuhachi refers to a measure, the shaku, which is approximately a foot long, and hachi is the number 8. Shakuhachi literally means 'one shaku eight', which came to be used as the generic name for the flute. The standard 1.8 shakuhachi is in D. Different lengths are produced, from 1.4 to 3.4, each half a tone apart.

During the Edo period, the new shogun was able to unify the country and finally bring peace after centuries of wars. Samurai did not have much to do since they could not find any more fighting. Many became ronin, i.e. samurai without masters, and joined the ranks of the wandering monks of the Fuke sect. These monks, called komuso or monks of nothingness , were begging while playing shakuhachi. They were wearing a basket on their heads to signify their detachment from worldly matters. Disguised as komuso, the ronin became spies for the shogun, using their shakuhachi as fighting clubs. There is a rumour suggesting that the use of a thick bamboo and the four rows of roots to make the shakuhachi is due to these ronin to protect themselves because, as monks, they could not carry their katana (their sword).

The principal style of music that is played on the shakuhachi is called honkyoku, meaning original music . It is the name of the original style of playing of the Fuke sect monks. There are other styles as well. Originally, it was mainly a repertoire of solo pieces. Only a few pieces have been written for two shakuhachi, including some to which a second part was added to an originally solo piece. Another style of playing is the gaikyoku. This is the name of the shakuhachi part in Japanese chamber music.

In the 20th century, the shakuhachi went through some other changes. At the beginning of the century, a new style of playing was created, called Tozan, a style of playing greatly influenced by Western music. At the end of the 1950s a seven-hole shakuhachi was created in the hope it could be used to play in a more Western way. It did not catch on, except for playing folk songs. Shakuhachi players continue to maintain, up to this day, their preference for the traditional 5-hole instrument. But one event of importance of the second half of the 20th century is the growing interest by Westerners in learning to play the shakuhachi. It is estimated that somewhere around 2,000 Westerners are currently learning the shakuhachi and that there are around 300 who have got a master's title, or shi-han.
The Shamisen
Photo of a shamisen.The shamisen is a 3-stringed lute with a resonance box covered either with cat or dog skin. Apparently, it came to Japan around 1562 from Okinawa, called at the time called the Ryukyu Islands. Like its Chinese ancestor, the Okinawan shamisen is covered with a snake skin and is called jamisen. It was in use at the Okinawa court. Because the shamisen came to Japan during the Edo Period (1615-1868), it was the time of a growing merchant class as well as a samurai class that did not have much to do since war was over, except entertain themselves. It quickly became popular as the best instrument for entertainment.

At the start, people did not find the instrument very interesting. But when biwa players started to pluck and play it with a biwa bachi (or plectrum), the sound and tone of the instrument were greatly improved, and even more so when once covered with cat skin. This gave the instrument a totally new sound, more pleasing for to the Japanese ears. Cat skin is more durable than snake skin; dog skin is used in cheaper models. A number of differentshamisenwere created for different occasions, with differences in sizes. This instrument quickly became the instrument of choice for the then new developing social life of a Japan without wars.

The shamisen has no frets. A number of different effects can be produced, but one most particular characteristic for the shamisen is what is called sawari, similar to the one produced on the biwa. It is a buzzing sound produced only on the first string. The first shamisen players were biwa players. So the first repertoire for the shamisen was narrative music. But later, because of its growing popularity, to the demise of the biwa, numerous styles and schools of playing were created. There are two majors styles: katarimono, which refers to narrative singing, while utaimono refers to songs and melodies. The shamisen came to be used for all types of occasions: theatres, geisha houses, festivals, folk music and much more. The shamisen quickly became the instrument of choice for many theatre forms, in particular the well-known Kabuki theatre and Bunraku, the Japanese puppet theatre, both of which were created during the Edo period (1615-1868), at the same time of which the shamisen appeared.

Another instrument closely related to the shamisen is the kokyu. It is an upright shamisen played with a bow and can have two, three or four strings. Some are suggesting that it is related to the Chinese kokin, a 2-stringed fiddle, but it construction is entirely different from this Chinese instrument. A theory suggests that it was created following the first encounters in Japan with Western instruments - at the time the Portuguese were visiting Japan, bringing along string quartets. Someone apparently had the idea to create a bowed instrument using an upright shamisen.This anecdote was given to me by Mr Henry Burnett, a master player of the shamisen, who studied for a number of years in Japan.3 This idea has not been confirmed and is not mentioned in the literature. The kokyu was popular mainly during the Edo period (1615-1868). Today, only very a few rare musicians play the instrument and will accompany koto ensembles.
Ensemble Music
The advent of what can perhaps be called chamber music in Japan came late in its musical history. It is was not until the second half of the 17th century that the idea of putting together different instruments in the form of a small ensemble appeared. Citing again the theory mentioned above, it is again suggested that it is from listening to a Portuguese string quartet that some musicians thought of bringing together different Japanese musical instruments. Again, no mention about this is made in the literature.

This idea of creating this type of small ensemble music is credited to a koto player name Ikuta Kengyo. At that time, the koto started to be used to accompany dances and being used in special ensembles. It was toward the end of the century that a form of chamber music in the true sense of the term was established, of which the koto was the main instrument. This ensemble consisted of the koto, the shamisen and the kokyu. The ensemble was called sankyoku, which means music for three instruments. Gradually the kokyu was replaced by the shakuhachi and it was in the second half of the 19th century that the kokyu was entirely set aside. It appears that the biwa was not selected as a possible candidate to be part of this traditional Japanese chamber music.

Interestingly though, the repertoire that Ikuta Kengyo selected for his sankyoku ensemble was taken from the shamisen repertoires, in particular from the jiuta style. Originally, the jiuta style referred to the shamisen music played in Kyoto. But later on, the term jiuta, or more specifically jiuta-mai, came to refer to the new style of koto music played by the new sankyoku ensemble. As well, many pieces of the regular koto repertoire have also been arranged for the new trio. The main innovation in this new style was that the instrumental part came to have precedence over the vocal part. And for the first time, the koto could play a leading role.

From this time on, the development of Japanese ensemble music has been closely linked to the development of the koto. For example, at the end of the 18th century, a new koto school was created, called Yamada. Although the Yamada school brought an emphasis on the vocal part, the instrumental part remained on an equal footing with the vocal. And in some new pieces, no vocal part was written. Later on, at the beginning of the 19th century, a master of the Ikuta school added a second koto part to many pieces of the repertoire, which plays a melodic line different from the main koto part.

In the 20th century, sankyoku music took a modern direction, which has been greatly influenced by Western music and compositional techniques. For example, previously scores did not use what can be call measures. Each instrument has its own particular notations written from top-down, left-right. Composers started to use boxes to refer to measures, as well as lines to represent rhythms similarly to Western music.

Jiuta-mai music does not have much in common with Western chamber music. We do not hear three distinct parts, with different melodic lines and a harmony of some sort. On the contrary, the three instruments play almost exactly the same melodic line, with two exceptions, the vocal parts and the melodic line of the second koto, when a second koto joins the ensemble. The melodic lines of the shamisen and shakuhachi are based on the koto line and are arranged here and there according to the particularity of both instruments. Otherwise, it is the same. The only real ensemble effect that is used is what is called kake-ai, which is a short melodic response between two instruments.

For this reason, every part of a jiuta-mai piece can be played separately from the two other parts. For example, the well-known piece Rokudan No Shirabe, which has no vocal part, can be played individually by each of the three instruments, or in duet (e.g. koto and shakuhachi, the most commonly heard version, shamisen and shakuhachi, or koto and shamisen). And, of course, it can be performed with the three instruments, and with the second koto part.

The jiuta-mai pieces contains parts alternating between instrumental and vocal parts; sometimes three, sometimes up to six parts. When a piece is in three parts, there are:

1. a fore song, or maeuta
2. an instrumental interlude or tegoto
3. an after song or atouta

A piece like Chidori no Kyoku, probably the second most popular and well-known piece of the sankyoku repertoire, is divided in five parts. It starts with an instrumental introduction, followed by a fore song, an interlude in two parts (the parts called nami-nobu and chidoi-nobu), and the after song.

In the 20th century, there appears to have been a decline in the writing of sankyoku pieces. There has also been a decline in the interest by Japanese themselves and musicians and composers alike regarding their traditional music and instruments. After World War II, up until the end of the 1960s, not many sankyoku pieces had been written. We have been seeing seen a renewed interest at the beginning of the 1970s. What stands out with these 20th century pieces is that the majority of them appear to have been written for koto and shakuhachi. Yet, some composers have been written pieces which include the shamisen as well as the biwa - as well as writing pieces which include Western instruments.
The situation of traditional music has greatly changed in Japan, due obviously to Western influences. Although traditional arts remain alive, there has been a decline of interest by young Japanese people, and this, mainly following World War II. One of the reasons appears to be how long it is takes to become a kabuki actor, for example, or a shakuhachi master. It is said that many young people would take up traditional arts if the learning period was shortened. Is this the case? Unfortunately I do not have an answer to this question.

As already mentioned, there is also a strong movement of modernization of traditional arts based on Western music, in particular with the koto with such composers as Michio Miyagi and Tadao Sawai. Some composers are doing the same with the other instruments, performed solo or in chamber music ensemble.

There are a good number of new pieces written for koto and shakuhachi or for koto ensembles and that are available on CDs in the West. Some of them are avant-garde pieces, some others are semiclassical; that is to say, they are avant-garde or melodic in the Western sense of the terms. Yet many composers are able to maintain in their compositions a typical Japanese character.

Additionally, there is a growing interest by Westerners about in Japanese music. Also as mentioned earlier, many people are learning to play the shakuhachi and getting their shi-han. We find shakuhachi teachers in major cities all around the world. A much smaller number are learning the koto and shamisen. We find chamber music ensembles in many cities in Europe and North America. A few Japanese musicians have now moved to Western countries.

Bruno Deschênes - Montréal, Québec - 27.12 01

[Introduction] [Aesthetics] [Teaching] [Historical Background] [The Biwa] [The Koto] [The Shakuhachi] [The Shamisen] [Chamber Music] [Conclusion] [CDs of Japanese Music] [References]

Article MT088
Suggested List of CDs of Japanese Music
This list offers a pertinent overview of different types of Japanese music: Gagaku, Kabuki and Noh theatres, solo shakuhachi, shamisen and biwa, chamber music, as well as folk songs.

1. Gagaku: Japanese Traditional Music, World Music Library, 2001, 1994.
2. Katsuya Yokoyama, Japon, L art du Shakuhachi, Katsuya Yokoyama, Ocora, Radio-France, C560114, 1997.
3. Kôhachiro Miyata, Japan, Shakuhachi The Japanese Flute, Elektra Nonesuch (Nonesuch) , 9 72076-2, 1991 (1977).
4. Yoshio Kurahashi, Kyoto Spirit, Sparkling Beatnik Records, SBR0007, 1999
5. Yoshio Kurahashi, with Wu Man on pipa, Aki no Yugure, Sparkling Beatnik, SBR0026, 2001.
6. Kinshi Tsuruta (biwa) - Katsuya Yokoyama (shakuhachi), JAPON, OCORA, C580059, 1994.
7. Yukio Tanaka, Mari Uehara, Shisui Enomoto, Kôgo Tateyama, BIWA, Japanese Traditional Music, KING Record, KICH 2004, 1990.
8. Junko Ueda, Japan: The Epic of the Heike, VDE, CD-650, 1990.
9. Tadao Sawai, Koto Music: Tadao Sawai plays Michio Miyagi, PlayaSounds, PS 65180, 1996.
10. Hirokazu Sugiura & Gosaburo Kineya, Japan: Splendour of the Shamisen, Playasound, PS 65129, 1994.
11. Senzan Tani & Yoko Tanaka, Evening Snow, Oasis, WMS101, 1988.
12. Masters of Zen, PlayaSounds, PS 65153, 1995.
13. Hôzan Yamamoto, Fascination of the Shakuhachi, King Records, KICH 2064, 1998.
14. Ensemble Nipponia, Japan: Traditional Vocal & Instrumental Music Shakuhachi,biwa,Koto, Shamisen, Elektra Nonesuch, 9 72072-2, 1976.
15. Ensemble Nipponia, Japan: Traditional Vocal & Instrumental Music Shakuhachi,biwa,Koto, Shamisen, Elektra Nonesuch, 9 72072-2, 1976.
16. Ensemble Nipponia, Japan Kabuki & Other Traditional Music, Nonesuch Explorer Series, 9 72084-2, 1995.
17. Japan: Kabuki and Jiuta-Mai Music, Auvidis Ethnic, B 6809, 1994.
18. Nihon no Oto Ensemble, Japan: Traditional Chamber Music, Auvidis Ethnic SAGA, B 6784, 1992.
19. Japan, Music of the Noh Theatre, JVC, VICG5355, 1994.
20. Takahashi Yujiro and friends, Min yo Folk Song from Japan, Nimbus Records, NI 5618, 1999.

Rabu, 20 Januari 2010

DRUM set

Cymbals consist of:
Hihat cymbals:
"Heart" cymbals and drums. Allows you to keep time / tempo. Consists of a pair of cymbals size 8 "to 15", standard size 14 "
Ride cymbals:
Same function with hihat, but with a shape and a different voice. Consists of only one size cymbals but besar18 "to 22", standard size 20 "
Crash cymbals:
Useful to provide phase / tone in a song. Size 13 "to 22", depending on the players taste.
Effect cymbals:
Consists of splash, bell, china, and swiss. Useful to give "color" on a particular song. Splash and ordinary bell size 6 "to 12" and for china and swiss usually measuring 16 "to 22".

To beat the bass drum, double pedal is also available, the pedals that use 2 pedals and 2 bat or beater to get better sound on the bass drum.
Hihat stand:
Placing hihat cymbals so you can open and close the two cymbals with your left leg.
Cymbal stand:
Putting all kinds of all kinds except hihat cymbals.
Snare stand:
Placing snare drum.
Tom holder / tom stand:
Place the tom-tom
Drumhead have type size, function and different thicknesses. Consists of 3 parts. Batter's head, the drum head khusu designed to hit. Resonant, only placed at the bottom of tom-toms and bass drum in front, head is not to hit, useful to give "live" on the tom-toms and bass drums. Last snare side, solely to put at the bottom of the snare to snare wirenya, is the thinnest head, not to hit

tips Tuning Snare Drum Pearl Championship FFX-1412 dan FFXS-1309

Tuning High Tension Snare Drum has a different way each of his brand. Of course for Pearl Championship Series has its own way too. Here are tips on how to tuning Pearl Championship Snare Drum Series

1. Select the appropriate Drumhead
There are several common types of drumhead used to maximize the sound of the Snare Drum. To choose the head of Kevlar fabric because it Snare Drum Pearl Championship Series is designed for high pressure. Better use of Remo Drumhead, and there are two types of Falams II and White / Blackmax. Each has a unique character, but should we return to the trainers, the character of what he wanted. Head down to two types, too, Kevlar and Mylar. Kevlar to maximize sound and snappy snare tuning is much higher. But basically enough Mylar drumhead.

2. Installation Drumhead
The basic principle is expected of Snare Drum is a high voice and a tight head pressure so that the reflection can be more responsive stick. For that the key lies in the process of tightening bolts. Pressure of each side of the bolt should be equally, the safest is to tighten the cross. To determine whether the pressure is evenly enough to hit the area near the bolt, his voice must be the same. Likewise with the drumhead. Origin of the same pressure, it can be tightened drumhead as possible without any risk of rupture. The pressure on the drumhead would be much faster than the bottom, it's because the Kevlar material is thicker on the drumhead.

3. Tone Drumhead
Although the emphasis drumhead louder but the tone should be less than half the head down. Standard tuning is C for the drumhead and C # to head down. Head down to accelerate higher response from his snappy snare, which can offset the pressure on the tight head.

4. Pressure Snappy Snare
To tighten each nylon snare, then the off position before. Then each nylon snare tone and tighten until there is stable. Would be better if each of the nylon snare the same tone. Then the position on the snare and the snare position of the same nylon flat head touched down. Do not let the pressure of different left and right so that there is one position nylon snare tilted upward. After seeing the same nylon snares touch the surface of head flat, round knob again to memperkencang voltage Stainer Stainer nylon. Make sure every surface nylon snare vibrates evenly along the surface of the drumhead.

5. Addition Silencer
There are some people who feel the character of the snare drum sound is too wet, so adding tape or tape on snarenya nylon, to make a little crunchy. Basically for Snare Drum Pearl Championship Series was not necessary, logically if nylon snarenya muted, meaning snarenya voice will be lost and it's not anymore snare drum. But if it is needed, add one or two strips on the corner just opposite from where the position of on / off nylon snare, so as not to interfere with the work the pedals on / off the


music ...
Music is organized sound, a tone, beat and rhythm. Music can be an entertainer sat in sorrow, can motivate the spirit of music in times of struggle, the music can be a means of expression of love to the lover, the music can relax their minds when faced with fatigue life.

Thus a small portion of the benefits and functions of music. Can we imagine this world without music, ironic is not it? Like a man without a woman, a flower without the butterflies, vegetables without salt, so surely the world would be empty.

Music In The Church
As for his own role in church music or worship is a place to express kindness, justice, holiness and glory of God. Muik is a means to praise and worship to God. On the other hand the music is also used as a tool of Satan worship or idols, with certain sounds they use music to summon evil spirits for an interest.
Music can provide coolness in the heart when we hear the rhythm of harmony, rhythm slow, good poetry, too poetic. It would be a good benefit if the music is packed in a nice view and beautiful.
In particular the spiritual spectacles, music can provide a great impact in someone's life. The Bible provides many examples that the music smoothly the power and influence of the life of mankind.
With music, David, King Saul to heal from the pain caused by crazy evil spirits (1 Samuel), with music Joshua and the Israelites to destroy the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6), with singing and music Jehoshaphat defeated nation of Moab and Ammon (1 Chronicles 20 ), and with songs and music of Peter and Silas can be freed from jail by a miraculous way.
Dikala we raise our praise to God, then we will feel the coolness and tranquility in our hearts, with our record seriously sing with all our hearts.

Music As Medicine
Found that the medical side of music can also be used to help patients forget sejenk's disease he suffered, which is sngat assist in the treatment process being carried out by a doctor.
While classical music can also help children in times of growth, especially with the workings of the brain left in charge of intelligence and intelligence led.
Beethoven, the music world would know who he is. Sniman a legendary musical genius, and most of his day. At the age of 20 years, a decrease Bethoven hearing impaired. But he did not feel it was a reason for her birth works great. It is precisely at the time of hearing impaired, he even produced the great works of what would later be remembered as the world's greatest works. Even many of his generation of music artists can not play his music works at the time. Here we can see how so much influence than the music.

Music is the need
Almost every day we hear the music and, on television, on radio, in supermarkets, wherever we are we can not avoid the name of music. Music as if it was kita.Hanya ear staple we seldom possible seriously to hear and watch, while we need to sort out what is useful and what is not.
Penah music will not fade by the time, while the music remains timeless era adjust progress, development and human needs will continue to accompany the music and will never miss.
Music provides a good influence on when we are positioning it a good place, and music can give a bad influence when we are positioning it in the wrong place.

Music As a Tool Mission
Along with the development of age there are several types of music that formed between the other one Contemporary Music.
In the United States, through the Christian AsosiasiArtistik container, which was pioneered by Cam Floria, in California, the lives of Christian artists who is behind the development of contemporary Christian music trained and equipped as an evangelist. Here is the artist-aris dimuridkan, given the motivation and vision for granted until there is repentance pelayanananya true and real.
That is why they prefer called the "Music Ambassador of God", because they not only preach menyenyi but also through music, testimony, challenging the received sbagai Savior Jesus, praying, counseling, and others. Not infrequently happens in their ministry and miracles of divine healing.
Open concerts they attended not only invented the tens of thousands of people, but to hundreds of thousands of war who listen to the gospel through music, for hours on end without feeling bored. The end of the concert, they were challenged to repent and turn to Jesus. Contemporary Christian music ministry continues to grow up out of the country, all over the world.

Repentance Through Music
So with Contemporary Christian music, some of the interested agencies trying to conduct research on fans and consumers of Contemporary Christian music, and the results are quite surprising, among others:
1. Most of those who repent because of this music, to be faithful Christians and grow, and serve the Lord, many schools in the Bible.
2. Many Christians who originally sang hymns during worship only in churches on Sundays only, and to enjoy doing assorted worldly songs, now like to play and sing Christian songs Contemporary
There are millions of hearts are changed through the songs that contain musical challenges include: anti-abortion, anti-abuse, foster parenting, prevention of natural disasters, famine, evangelism in the third world countries, etc..
Contemporary Christian music made it into the ranks of elite music world and managed to bring the gospel of the premises of their hearts.
Also Contemporary Christian music pekembangan also managed to gather a lot of money to finance a variety of evangelistic activities.

know pick up a guitar

Is a transducer, the vibration of the strings to capture converted into electrical current. We know the type of humbucker pickup and single coil.

Single coil has only one magneto only, while the humbucker has two magnetic coils. Both of course have the character of a much different sound. As a result of wearing two coils, humbucker sound thicker, louder volume, and most importantly eliminates noise 60cycle.
Simply pick up must have a minimum of 2 cables, for each has positive and negative poles of the coil. Although many pickups also known as DiMarzio, SeymourDuncan who use 4 conductor wire and 1 ground (total of 5 cable), this variation of only limited use pickup only, no cables means more the better.

Single Coil
Only a 2 conductor cable only., Because it only uses 1 coil. Furthermore one of the wires will be the positive pole and one negative pole. You decide which would be fine, but it should be emphasized both produce different sounds. And the factories often give recommendations which cable should be positive and negative to produce maximum sound.

Has 2 coils with the aim of eliminating noise 60cycle. There humbucker which has 2 wires, 3 wires, 4 wires, and 5 cables. Varies depending on the manufacturer. We will discuss with the 4 conductor humbucker and 1 bare (5 cables), because this is common and widely used.


If the mixer can be thought of as the heart of a system, then the cable can be likened to veins. Poor quality of the cable will lower-quality audio for the entire system.

No one can dismiss how important function in a wired audio system. Various sound great company must have been very understanding about it.

A good instrument cable must be able to show a deep and soudstage high image, high resolution, detail, timbre is very super, natural tonal balance and very neutral. Ii cables not tonally colored, and can be compatible with many systems aplifier, speaker and pre-amp. We know a lot of conventional cable designs have a good look physically, but did not last long, because it uses a thin conductor. Lack of this type of cable umu is the weakness of image focus and resolution. Some of these cables is to combine the high resolution of informai, transparency and focus on the three-dimensional image with a neutral tonal balance and warm.

Construction of the cable
Here we will know the coaxial configuration (co-axial) and twin-axial. Coaxial, this configuration is used to unbalans instrument cable. Inside there is a conductor (conductor signal) the middle or center conductor. Charge or current carrying electrical signals from the source device (source) and divided by the insulation material that separates conductors were from other parts of dalm cable, ie shield (the shield). This shield is also a conductor, but a conductor of electric current or pengembali for melngkapi signal current into a circuit.
All three components were (conductor, insulation and shield) is equipped with two weapons, form an electrostatic shield which serves to reduce the level of noise handling. Then the protective outer / outer cable jacket to protect against the "outside world", and used to beautify the view cable.

Twin coaxial coaxial VS
Unlike a twin coaxial cable and coaxial, coaxial uses an isolated conductor in the middle to bring the voltage signal is the same as in the shield. Here the shield is connected to the contact "negative" from the plug at both ends, while the conductor in the middle of connecting contacts "negative". Since the analog audio signal is alternating current (alternate current), then volatse positive and negative signal change in bergonta center conductor and shield.

While twin coaxial cable (twin-ax) have two conductors insulated from the voltage signal which is surrounded by a separate shield. In this case, shield attached to one end of the cable and acts as a conductor "negative". Shield is designed to block incoming interference into the signal conductor with audio, as well as to bring interference (hnya) to the chassis ground of the device being used. Twin-ax design is generally more costly than coaxial. Especially during the cleaning process for the audio signal path, and to avoid any ground loops.

The relationship between the material inside the cable
Referring to the relationship between conductor and shield or a protective layer (read: shield). Different geometric characteristics will affect the electrical and shielding of a cable, which in turn affects the tmpilan sound. There are two approaches in terms of design that can be done to the overall geometrical instruments for cable, which is co-axial design and twin-axial.
Shield responsible for bringing half of the audio signal. So inevitably, this shield must be able to keep the conductor cable from the possibility of outside interference from the signal path devices (such as the amplifier or console), ie to the ground.

Conductor geometry
In a twin-ax design, the pattern of relations between the conductor and the shield will affect the electrical characteristics of a cable. To view cable, the most relevant characteristics associated with the two factors above are the capacitance and inductance. The effect of this capacitance can be heard clearly in an instrument cable. Capacitance is often measured in units dngan Pico farad per foot of a cable. Of the two conductors in a dipararelkan cable, this cable will have a relatively high inductance and low capacitance, and more able to pick up interference. Braid conductor types tend to show high capacitance with low inductance and more susceptible to noise.

In this instrument cables located beneath the outer jacket surrounding the conductor dn is usually a signal of a foil, Braid or a combination of both. A foil shild have a good power protection against high frequency interference, such as RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).
Braid Shield known more effective against all forms of interference which now exists, if the shield was in-woven with a sufficient density. Shield uses a lot of copper materials.
A spiral shield may have a higher density compared with braided shield, but less flexible than Braid. This spiral Shild can membka and provide a path for the interference, if the cable is too often bent or curve. Find the cable that wearing a braided shild (atai Braid and foil combination) with a coverage density of at least about 85%.

Have a direct impact on the flexibility of a cable, especially for heavy usage and the size of thin materials. A conductor beinsulas, actually have a character that does not turn it like a solid conductor. Kian thin insulation, more flexible cable.
There are criteria for electrical insulation thinness of this. Called "dielectric Strength", and is determined by the voltage level of the cable work. Existing voltage cable dalm use instruments generally very low, so the level of dielectric strength is needed to prevent the insulation does not drop very small.
There is one factor to consider, when the cable will be used for instruments like electric guitars, the amount of capacitance between the center conductor (center conductor) with a shield.
Regarding insulation materials, there are essentially four ingredients insolator we know for a conductor in an instrument cable. May be mentioned here, according to the order of appearance and a higher price, ie PVC, polypropylene, and Teflon polythylene. These materials can also be in "foam" or injected with air to minimize the bad effects of the signal, while the signal is stored or removed.
Insultasi Process Thermoplastic ekoomis known better, but needs to be careful in the production process. This is because the process can not foreplay excess heat (overheated), especially when isolating the conductor soldering.

Material conductor
Ah Copper (copper) is the material a very good conductor, though not all the copper has the same qualities as a conductor material. Copper is used in a cable of good quality, with levels ranging from free oxygen until the "7N". This type of copper purity levels vary in a later referred to as the percentage of copper. At the end of this spectrum is the copper "7N" which means "seven nine", after the decimal point in the value of purity, that is 99.9999999% pure.
While the materials used for the center conductor can be made from materials thermosets, the curry, neoprene, and hypalon. It could also be the nature of the thermoplastic materials, namely polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, and FPE.
Silver or silver is also a good conductor, but in the subjective pebedaan silver made by the manufacturer, often larger than the difference in copper. Find the cable that uses a minimum of OFHC copper conductors, and try each cable using silver gilded copper conductor, before you buy.

Conductor design
Another source of distortion in the cable is the interaction that comes from the strands (strand) conductors in the cable. These strands are made in order to increase flexibility in the cable. But each piece in a bond will carry the same audio signal dngan next piece. Will be a problem, electrical currents berjlan dlam strands will form a magnetic field., Causing signal changes brought. So many pieces that dimilkiki by a conductor, will be the worse problems that arise.

Is an interesting factor in a cable. Capacitance is the ability of an electrical load. In an instrument cable, the capacitance between the center conductor and shield, expressed in units per foot (pF / ft). Where so low in value, it indicated the growing low capacitance as well. When combined with the source impedance, cable capacitance can form a low-pass filter between the instruments and amplifiers, which can cut the high frequencies level by cutting tone control instruments.
Given that the overall outside diameter of the cable is limited by the plug to be used, the capacitance of the cable is really a reflection of the size kombiasi conductors (power conductor), insulation material (cost), and the thinness of insulation (the size and flexibility). The term "dielectric constant" is often used here to see the quality of insulation materials. Of course this will ultimately determine the sound clarity.

Music Store Profile melodia

Melodia Music
Initially the company was only music school named melodia. The school was founded by Sorento Winarto - diSurabaya reliable piano teachers in 1980. later, he developed a business as a distributor and retailer of musical instruments.

Target market is high among the rare brand of products circulating in the market. Positioning products that offer exclusive and limited nature. Local bands and the board of origin surabaya (Gods & Rice) is a permanent customer.

In 1992, Sorento died so that the business is continued by the third anakanya. The hands of his three sons, grow more rapidly melodia. Melodia also entered into a sound system rental business. Three children, hoping melodia dibisis player distributors, retail, and rental of musical instruments with a full terintegritas system.

Not only that, melodia also would play dibisnis solutions. The reason, during his regular customers often ask for their advice in choosing musical instruments to produce the best game and best sound.

They plan to realize this hope in the next five years. They will stay focused on the music business, especially musical instruments and audio recording equipment is fully integrated with the product quality hi-end. The third vision picture of this young boy looks at a melodia Music [MM].

For the third bersudara divides the task. Setiawab winarto 2nd child of 3 brothers to take care of business and retail distribution of musical instruments. His brother manages a music school, while his brother sound system rental business and trusted Winarto Setiawan two brothers as the main director is responsible for daily operations of business overall MM.

Profile BNG Music Stores

BNG, Si Jago Tools Music

By: Yuyun Manopol / Farida Nawang Nurini
As the carriage moves involved. That's the music equipment business parable. As the development of the music world increasingly passionate (and the view that music can be a source of livelihood), the fate of the music equipment business - both sales and rentals - the more terdongkrak.

That, at least seen from the increase in serious player in business. If ditelisik depth, ten years ago, there were only three major players are responsible for selling musical instruments, namely: PT Bahana Nada Gemilang (BNG Sound Equipment & Musical Instrument or commonly called BNG), Yamaha, and Citra Intirama. Today, that number continued to grow despite the lack of a fantastic growth. Noted, appears the name? A brisk enough business stage musical equipment such as Delta and extremely beautiful Gatra (MG Sport & Music).

From a number of players in this business, BNG arguably one of the respectable hero. Almost all musical instruments, including sound system, dididstribusikan him. "We focus on musical instruments (life instrument), like (which is) a band. And just exploring musical instruments for a marching band or a brass instrument," said Imron R. Wahjoepramono, Deputy Director I BNG. No wonder, ranging from guitar, bass, electric keyboards, drums, percussion, acoustic piano to be here.

BNG is recorded as one of the successful players. Eye alone, seen from its coverage, the company now has a network of 150 dealers across Indonesia. In fact, since two years ago, three retail stores in Jakarta have been established: in Kelapa Gading, Pondok Indah arteries, and Pinangsia. Retail store with the flag is flown Planet Music.

That is just the physical appearance. Which makes quite proud BNG management, corporate earnings growth in the range 15% -20% / year. Indeed, this decline in 1997 than before the crisis which is above 20%-an. However, given the economic situation in the country who still hold sway, 15% -20% is not a bad achievement.

Looking back, BNG current success (and prakrisis), virtually unthinkable before. Understandably, the company was founded in 1983, was only sound system rental companies. Only two years later (1985), BNG developed into a distributor and was appointed as sole distributor of certain brands after a number of principals to see the positive performance of BNG.

At the beginning of his business, distributing BNG only two brands. First, Study the Masters, British-made mixer products needed recording companies. Second, Shure Microphone from the United States. Later, the brand is handled developed into 20 brand. Famous one is the Korg.

According to Imron, who held a brand belonging to the BNG have a name. "Except for one brand from China marketed itself, which we named the Audio Control,? He said. Explained Imron, a product of better targeting the Chinese market-bottom communities. In the State's own Bamboo Curtain, virtually the music industry developing very rapidly. Almost all instruments in the world are produced in the land of the Kung Fu master. And since many use the system or pattern? a tailor?, musical instruments made in China came out with no brand. "We can get some type of musical equipment. Furthermore, we are packing their marketing strategy in Indonesia, "Imron revealed.

Of all those who market, currently the best-selling products sold BNG is a Korg keyboard. Previously, prices ranged in the number USD 16-35 million. But now, Korg offers a particular type of cost only Rp perched on the number 7 million. "Demand is very high type. We were very overwhelmed," Imron said.

When dissected, despite the success of BNG was conducted marketing strategy. According to Imron, in marketing their products, BNG not emphasize communication through advertising but rather focus on the consumer's hearing. Here, there are two ways to go. First, the demo clinic. Through this method, BNG a show, and invited artists and consumers.

Now, BNG is the pioneer of endorsing artists in this way. BNG provides musical instruments to a number of national artists who were popular in each instrument, like drums, keyboards or bass. Furthermore, the artists were contracted for a certain period. Fill one of the contract clause: during the contract period, each time the artist was on tour or appear, they must wear brand owned by BNG. Then, after a period of the contract period runs out, the instrument had become the property concerned.

That way the first marketing. The second point is to be on television. Way, by supporting one of the TV show, for example Gebyar BCA which lasted from five years ago. Forms of cooperation, mentioned Imron, all the instruments supported Gebyar BCA BNG. Then, just as the first way of marketing, musical instruments will be granted based on the termination of the agreed contract. Usually, more Imron, to realize this activity BNG require an investment of about USD 200 million. The average 2-3 year contract period.

"We had to create a show like this, because there biggest eksposenya. People can be aware than through advertising," said Imron disclose the reasons taken over the marketing strategy. And if talk of hope increased awareness, positive results practically. BNG itself, continued Imron, had conducted a survey on some music users. The result? Apparently they did a lot to know BNG of the event.

Now, in addition to establishing partnerships with Indosiar, BNG is also working with other TV stations, such as TransTV. In fact, by expanding the market, cooperation with SCTV was explored. This is done because as well as continuing cake sweet, BNG should really active in this industry if you do not want cake brushed people.