Archive | April 2013

What makes Rokudan sound Japanese?

In music class on monday April 15th we looked further into “what makes  Japanese music sound Japanese?”.

We were all given a sheet to look at that had the three main Koto tunings, Hirajyōshi, Gaku-joshi and Nogijyōshi. On the sheet was also a piece of music named “Rokudan”. This piece uses the common Japanese tuning scale, Hirajyōshi. (D  G  A  B♭ D  E♭ G  A  B♭ D  E♭ G  A) This tuning is used in a lot of Japanese music it is also a pretty old scale, was a very common tuning before and now too.

This is the music for Rokudan











I think the reason for Rokudan to sound Japanese is mainly because of the tuning Hirajyōshi. The tuning Hirajyōshi has a dark kind of feeling or sound that makes it sound japanese. Not just the tuning makes it sound Japanese but also the techniques used to play this piece, for example the Kororin, Shan, Sha Sha and Ato Oshi. These techniques won’t apear when playing the Chinese Guzheng/Zither, there are techniques that are similar but the way of playing are different. Also the pattern these techniques are played makes this piece sound Japanese like repeating the Sha Sha and Shan. The pace, and the press like Ato Oshi makes the piece have a Japanese feeling to it.

Overall this is what I think makes Rokudan sound Japanese . This is a video our music teacher sent us, click on this link to hear how this piece “Rokudan” sounds like.

Japanese music reflection

For the start of our new unit in music class we watched a presentation on japanese music. Our unit question is “What makes music sound like it belongs to a particular part of the world?”. In the presentation our japanese music teacher and a shakuhachi player performed a few songs for us.

I liked all instruments but I think that my favorite is the Koto. I liked the koto the best because it had so much interesting techniques that I want to learn and the music it played was beautiful. When the Shakuhachi player asked one person to go up and try the Shakuhachi I realized that blowing it wasn’t as easy as it looks, that surprised me because I just thought you just blow into it but there is a lot of techniques when blowing so that was pretty interesting.

This are the songs that were performed:

Classical koto/shamisen/shakuhachi trio – Eghigo Jishi
Shakuhachi solo – Honkyoku
Koto/shakuhachi duet – Kaze no Uta (Song of the Wind)
Koto solo – Gensokyoku (Fantasy)
Koto/shakuhachi duet – Deep Forest

Out of all these songs I liked the last one “Deep forest” the most and also “Kaze no Uta”. I liked Deep forest because I liked the tuning of the koto and how it was played. With the Koto and Shakuhachi duet in this song sounded really peaceful and made a feeling of the forest. I also liked the “Kaze no Uta” because the instruments made it really sound like the wind and the Shakuhachi techniques used in this song were really windy and interesting. The song also made we feel the wind and it’s emotions or mood.

The tuning made it sound japanese but also the techniques and how the instrument is played. The instruments came from China but they really changed through time in Japan. The Shamisen looks a lot like the Chinese instrument “Erhu” but bigger and played differently, but both have a long thin neck that you slide your fingers up and down on. Overall I enjoyed the music and learned a few things and thank you to the Shakuhachi player for coming in and performing for us.


Line Drawing Reflection

In grade 7 art class in the past 10 to 12 weeks we have been working on drawing our own line drawings,with a scenery that we choose our selves and put together with 3 or 4 pictures. With help from the Vincent Van Gogh and other students line drawings that we have looked at ,we started our own. Our unit question is “How can we communicate visually?” , meaning can the shadows, textures, tone, lines and other techniques show what weather, what the artist is trying to show or location?And significant concept is “Line can be convey shape, texture and tone.” In the past classes we have looked and explored at lot’s of line techniques and how to show where the sun is shinning, what weather and how to make trees actually look like realistic trees with just lines. When drawing, one of the important things that we need to remember is that the drawings should have a clear foreground, middle ground and background.

But before we drew our own we practiced drawing by choosing a Van Gogh line drawing and try to draw it, because for most of us I am pretty sure it is the first time drawing a whole scenery on a big paper with just different lines. These below are my practice tries at line drawing, they are both a line drawing by Van Gogh. It was really hard on our practices but I don’t think it is a bad start.

1st practice try

2nd practice




















For my piece of drawing I chose 3 different pictures that had some kind of relationship with each other and I cropped it, fixed it, edit and cut it. The pictures I chose was of a big tent in the fore ground, hawk for middle ground and more tents and a big hill for the background. The scene is set on the grasslands in mongolia on a beautiful sunny day.

Here are the 3 pictures that I put together.









And this is how it looks like when I put them together after my cropping.










I choose this scenery because one of  the pictures caught my eye when I was looking through some images so I decided to do this scenery as my final scenery because I always wanted to go to such a beautiful open grassland on a beautiful sunny day like in the pictures I chose, also maybe because it is part of my culture.









Above is my final drawing. I worked especially hard on the grass and hill because it is all stippling. I thought the shading on the houses were hard to draw because I needed to think about if the shadow would match the tone on the grass and hill and how much shading should I do. Now looking back at my final drawing I am ralizing more places that I should fix and do better next time.

I think that my strengths in this drawing are drawing the hill and the stippling on the hill, because I think that really shows that the hill is lighter than the grass below because the light of the sun is shining on the hill. Also because the shadows on the hill looks natural, so I think that I put good tone and texture. We had a walk around tables in class when everyone in our class finished drawing, we all had to leave a comment about the strength and weakness we think about the other persons drawing. I had some comments saying that how I drew my sky and clouds were really good, I think I might agree to that because I really like how I also made the sky stand out in the background. The texture on my sky and how I showed my clouds I thought was pretty cool, but I think the sky could also be a weakness. Lastly I like how I drew the houses because I used thick lines and thin lines dot, not only just a straight line, so I thought that ended up nice too.

My sky, clouds and part of my hill. I used stippling and hatching.








I think my weaknesses are as I mentioned in my strengths, my sky could also be a weakness because the more I look at it I think the sky is a little too thick compared to most of my drawing parts, not the sky but my clouds so if I spread out the darkness a bit more it would be good. Another weakness is that my grass to me it does not look quite right, because I didn’t quite spread out the shadow to make it look natural, so I didn’t quite get the gradation right. I always hold my work up and stand back a little to see it because you can spot a lot of small bits that you forgot, missed or messed up, I did this at the end and I spotted that as I mentioned above that the patches of grasses that are darker I drew too drack so I will watch out for this kind of mistake next time.

A part of the grass.









Overall I am really proud of my work because it really shows a lot of progress through this unit and has lots of different types of techniques like tone, texture and stippling. I never thought before that I could actually draw a drawing on a huge piece of paper with just different line techniques, so this is a real surprise. I really enjoyed this unit, impressed with my work, happy that it’s done and that it was a success and looking forward to learning new stuff about visual art in our next unit.