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.


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