Shamisen (三味線) The shamisen is of similar length to a guitar (ギター) but its neck is much thinner and it has no frets. It has a Drum like rounded body, know as the dō, it is covered front and Back with a skin which amplifies the sound similar to a banjo. The Skin is usually from a cat or a snake but in the past a special type Of paper was used. The three strings are traditionally made of silk. The lowest passes over a small hump at the "nut" end so that it buzzes, creating a sound known as sawari. The upper part of the dō is almost always protected by a cover known as a dō kake, and players often wear a little band of cloth on their left hand sliding up and down the neck. This band is known as a yubikake. There may also be a cover on the head of the instrument, known as a tenjin. The shamisen is played with a large plectrum called a bachi (撥), which was traditionally made with ivory or tortoise shell but now is usually wooden, and is in the shape like a ginkgo leaf. Yoshida Brothers are currently bringing back Shamisen into modern culture. • 皮は猫かヘビから作られる • 三味線は撥と呼ばれる大きいプレクタルンによって作られている
Koto (琴) The koto is the national instrument of Japan. Koto are about 180 cm long, and made from kiri wood. They have 13 strings that are strung over 13 movable bridges along the length of the instrument. Players can adjust the string pitches by moving these bridges before playing, and use three finger picks (on thumb, index finger, and middle finger) to pluck the strings
Shakuhachi (尺八) is a Japanese end-blown flute. Its name means "1.8 feet", referring to its size. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but now exist in wood and plastic. It was used by the monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen (吹禅, blowing meditation) A recorder player blows into a duct, a narrow wind-way over a block which is called a "fipple", and thus has limited pitch control. The shakuhachi player blows as one would blow across the top of an empty bottle (though the shakuhachi has a sharp edge to blow against) and has substantial pitch control.
Horagai (法螺貝) It is a conch shell, blown as a trumpet, served a number of purposes in Japanese history. It is called jinkai (陣貝), horagai (法螺貝), or a number of other names in Japanese depending on its function. The conch is perhaps most associated with its use by Buddhist monks for religious purposes. Its use goes back at least one thousand years, and it is still used today for some rituals, such as the omizutori (water drawing) portion of the Shuni-e rites at the Tōdai-ji in Nara. Unlike most shell trumpets from other parts of the world which produce only one pitch, the Japanese hora or horagai can produce thre or four different notes. The process of transforming a shell into an instrument is kept somewhat secret, but it involves the attachment of a bronze or wooden mouthpiece to the apex of the shell's spire. At freezing temperatures (often encountered in the mountainous regions of Japan) the players moist lips freeze to the metal surface, so some players prefer wooden or bamboo mouthpieces.
Taiko (太鼓) means "drum" in Japanese (literally means "great" or "wide drum"). Outside Japan, the word is often used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums and to the relatively recent art-form of ensemble taiko drumming (sometimes called more specifically, "kumi-daiko" (組太鼓)).
Japanese Musical Artists 日本の音楽的な芸術家
Dir en greyディル・アン・グレイ • Dir en grey (ディル・アン・グレイ) is a Japanese band formed in 1997 and currently signed to Firewall Div., a sub-division of Free-Will. As of 2008, they have recorded seven full-length records and while the group's lineup has remained consistent since its inception, numerous stylistic changes have made its music's genre difficult to determine (though it is generally considered to be a form of rock music). Originally associated with Japan's visual kei movement, the band has opted for less flamboyant attire in recent years. • Dir en grey has toured through Asia, Europe and North America; Billboard commenting on the group's international fanbase, that the band "has transcended the language barrier in the United States through its music" and "gained its audience without singing in English".
Mad Capsule Marketsマッド・カプセル・マーケット • THE MAD CAPSULE MARKETS were a Japanese band that formed in 1990 and were active until 2006. The band became known for their experimental style of music, which focused on the fusion of electronic music with punk rock and heavy metal. In 1999 the band released their most internationally recognized album to date. Osc-Dis (Oscillator in Distortion) was a more poppy or melodic take on the sound of Digidogheadlock. It was released worldwide in 2001, driven by the hugely popular single "Pulse", which featured on the video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The song and the album became the group's most well-known outside of Japan. At this time the band also introduced their robotic "mascots" the White Crusher and Black Cyborn.
Yoshida Brothers(吉田兄弟) • The Yoshida Kyōdai (吉田兄弟) are Japanese musicians and have released several albums under the Domo Records internationally as the Yoshida Brothers. • They are a pair of brothers and performers of the traditional Japanese music style of Tsugaru-jamisen which originated in northern Japan. They debuted in 1999 in Japan as a duo playing the shamisen. Their first album sold over 100,000 copies and made them minor celebrities in Japan, a fact that surprised the Yoshida Brothers themselves. They have since attracted an international audience. • Their music has been a fusion of the rapid and percussive Tsugaru-jamisen style along with Western and other regional musical influences. In addition to performing songs that are only on the shamisen, they also use modern instruments such as drums and synthesizers. • The commercials for the Nintendo's Wii video game console that began airing in North America in November 2006 feature the Yoshida Brothers song, "Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix)."
Orange Rangeオレンジレンジ • Orange Range (オレンジレンジ Orenji Renji) is a 5-member Okinawan alternative rock band, based in Okinawa.Formed in 2001, the band began with Spice Music and later signed with Sony Music Japan’s gr8! records division in 2003. The band has roots in Okinawa. The area is famous for being the home of many well-known acts.Before they were signed by a major label, Orange Range played mostly in small art houses and clubs until they were found by a record agent. The band is mix of pop- and rock-style music as can be heard by the vocals and the instrumentals. Their style is also made up of many different cultures and musical styles from around the world. This is attributed to their hometown being Okinawa, a well-known station for American military bases and, thus, cultures and different styles often blend. Due to high sales of their works, Orange Range's singles are often attached to various movies, shows or Japanese products. This is usually seen as a sign of a band or singer having hit "the big time" in the Japanese media
Girugameshギルガメッシュ • Girugamesh (ギルガメッシュ) is a Japanese metal band, formed in 2003. The name is derived from the ancient king Gilgamesh, and is sometimes typeset with a metal umlaut as girugämesh. Formed in 2003 in Chiba, Shuu and Nii had been friends since elementary school, the earliest incarnation of the band made its first performance while the members were still in high school.Girugamesh began playing gigs with their current lineup in 2004, until they were signed to record label Gaina-Japan. Their first major single, "Kaisen Sengen" was ranked #10 on the Oricon Indies chart. In 2005, Girugamesh embarked on a nation-wide tour, after which they released their first live DVD, featuring footage from the tour, and after more touring, released an EP, Goku - Shohankei Enban.
Panic Channel Panic Channel (written パニックちゃんねる or PANIC☆ch, both pronounced the same way) is an independent Japanese Visual kei band signed to the label . They perform under two personas: パニックちゃんねる is their gothy, Visual Kei side, and PANIC☆ch is a light visual boy band side. Some fans consider PANIC☆ch to be , however, the band itself claims not to be. Panic Channel (known in Japanese as パニックちゃんねる pronounced as panikku channeru) was founded by Meguru, Kana, and Tara in November 2002. In January 2003, the line-up of the band consisted of Meguru (Vo), Kana (G), Tsubasa (G), Tara (Ba), and Yuusuke (Dr). After two months, in March 2003 the band decided to show their “second face.” The alter ego PANIC☆ch was born.