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Keiko Matsuo and Her Ensemble - JPop.com
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Keiko Matsuo and Her Ensemble

Keiko Matsuo and Her Ensemble

Keiko Matsuo and Her Ensemble


The secular music as it exists today originated in the 16th to 18th century. It is fresh and lively, strongly rhythmical, and is played chiefly on the samisen and koto. It includes operatic music, instrumental chamber music, and vocal music. Within the field of operatic music (Katarimono) the Japanese distinguish between a great number of types according to subject-matter, social standards, etc. For instance, Ithyu-busi is an aristocratic type which Read more on Last.fm
The secular music as it exists today originated in the 16th to 18th century. It is fresh and lively, strongly rhythmical, and is played chiefly on the samisen and koto. It includes operatic music, instrumental chamber music, and vocal music. Within the field of operatic music (Katarimono) the Japanese distinguish between a great number of types according to subject-matter, social standards, etc.

For instance, Ithyu-busi is an aristocratic type which, in a way, may be compared (socially) to the French opera of Lully; whereas Gidayu is "music for the merchant," i.e., a popular opera or operetta, rather noisy and full of cheap effects. The chamber music (frequently instrumental) and vocal combined) is the most interesting field of Japanese music. A favored form, which dates back to the 18th century, is the Jiuta. It consists of an opening Song (s), an instrumental piece (I), and a final song (S).

Sometimes the scheme is broadened to a rondo-like arrangement: S I S I S. Another form of special interest is the Danmono. These are melodic variations on a theme of 7 or 8 measures, for the koto alone. Another type of 18th-century chamber music is the Sankyoku, performed on the samisen, koto, and shakuhachi.

Kumi are pieces for voice and koto. Japanese music, like Chinese, is practically always in duple time. However. the phrases are frequently of irregular length (five or seven measures), in contrast to the more strictly "regular" scheme of Chinese music. The rhythms provided by the drums are in those peculiar arrangements also found in Hindu, Javanese, Arabic music which, for the European ear, obscure the fundamental time and beat. ... The most important instrument of Japanese art-music is the koto, the Japanese variety of the Chinese ch'in.

Other instruments directly taken over from China are the sho (Chinese sheng), the biwa (Chinese pip'a). More strictly indigenous instruments are the samisen, a guitar used by street singers and geishas; the hichiriki, an oboe (not a flute) with a characteristic metal disk encircling the mouthpiece; the kokyu, similar in shape to the samisen, but bowed; and the shakuhachi, a long flute of ancient origin which calls for an especially difficult technique of blowing. (from the liner notes) This LP is an all-instrumental chamber music (or Sankyoku) album consisting mainly of great koto playing. I found this one sitting in the bins of a locally operated thrift store. This post is dedicated to the people in Japan.

My thoughts are with them. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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