Traditional and Folk Music of Japan

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Shomyo. Traditional Buddhist ChantUses a

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Traditional and Folk Music of Japan

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1. Traditional and Folk Music of Japan “Ongaku”- Comforting Sound

2. Shomyo Traditional Buddhist Chant Uses a “Yo Scale”- a pentatonic scale in intervals of two, three, two, two, and three half-steps (ex. D-E-G-A-B-D) Two types- ryokyoku and rikkyoku, described as difficult and easy to remember, respectively Example: Shingon

3. Gagaku- “Elegant Sound” Imperial court music- Exists in three forms Native Shinto music called kuniburi no utamai A form called komagaku which originated in Korea and Manchuria- Uses no strings, and accompanies dance A Chinese and south Asian form called togaku Also uses the yo scale Gagaku accompanies classical dance, called bugaku Winds, strings, and percussion are most important instruments

4. Noh Theatre Classical music drama that originated in the 14th century Uses stock characters and stories Many characters are masked, and men play both male and female roles Stage made to look like a Shinto shrine Actors wear highly symbolic costume Masks are usually worn by the shite, the main actor Female masks may be carved so the viewing angle change the expression

5. Bunraku- Puppet Theatre Founded in 1684 in Osaka Puppets range in size from 2.5 feet to over four feet tall Accompanied by chanting and instrumental music Each puppet has three puppeteers Omozukai- uses his right hand to control the right hand of the puppet The hidarizukai- uses his right hand to control the left hand of the puppet The ashizukai operates the feet and legs

6. Kabuki Theatre Dance drama originating in the early 1600’s Highly stylized movement, make-up, and costumes Plays could be historical (jidaimono), focused on commoners (sewamono) or dance pieces (shosogato) Kabuki performances were often a full day

7. Instruments Biwa- Short necked lute Seven different types- vary the number of strings, the type of plectrum, and the use Taiko- type of drum Played with sticks Drum heads on either side of the drum

8. Instruments Shamisen- Three stringed instrument played with a pick called a bachi Koto- 13 strings with moveable bridges Players use fingers picks on the strings Shakuhatchi- wooden end blown flute

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