In the music class we had, we also listened to another song called Rokudan performed with all three instruments: the Koto, the Shamisen and the Shakuhachi.
Here is a video of Rokudan on the Koto:
Here is a video of the techniques of the left hand:
Here is a picture of the music “Rokudan”
What made Rokudan sound Japanese? I think the tuning “Hirajyoshi” made the music Rokudan sound Japanese since it is one of the most basic tunings of the Koto. Also, the techniques made it sound Japanese. In this piece, there were techniques such as “shans”, the presses like Ato-oshi, hane-oshi, Tsukiiro, and the hiki-iro where it means to pull the string (look at the 2nd video for more other techniques). In addition, I personally think the tempo sounds Japanese since many Japanese songs have slow tempo, and the piece sounds peaceful.
On Thursday, April 11th, we had a special music lesson introducing our new unit (3rd unit). The unit question is ”What makes music sound like it belongs to a particular part of the world?”. During that lesson we learned about Japanese instruments and listened to a few Japanese music using those instruments. The instruments we listened to were the shamisen, the koto and the shakuhachi.
Which of the instruments did you like the best? Why? Did something surprise you? - I liked the shamisen the best because I never seen it before although I’ve heard the name before. I thought it was very interesting that you need to play it with a big pick that is not like the ones for playing guitars. I liked where you could change the sound by sliding down the neck of the shamiesen. What surprised me was that there were no frets on the shamisen and you had to know in advance how to get the note.
Which piece of music did you like the best? How did it make you feel? What did you like about it? What made the music sound “Japanese?” – I liked the piece “Kaze no uta” which means the song of the wind. This music was played by the koto and the shakuhachi. I liked how the shakuhachi was played because it sounded like wind was blowing and it matched the song. In addition, I liked how the koto was tuned and how the teacher played it. It was also played like the wind was blowing, but the rhythm and the tuning matched well with the shakuhachi. I think the instruments used made the music sound “Japanese” because if the teachers preformed it using a different instrument (that is not a japanese instrument), I think the song would be very different from how it was preformed at the lesson. Also, I think the tune of the koto and the shamisen made it sound “Japanese” too.
Overall, I think this was a good experience and I am looking forward to our next unit.
In koto, we are playing a music called “Taka (which means Hawk in Japanese)”. For the assessment, we had to play two sections. Here are the two sections:
Page 3, column 3, measure 3 ~ page 3, column 5, measure 2
Page 5, column 2, measure 1 ~page 6, column 1, measure 2(Part 1)
Page 6, column 1, measure 2 ~ page 7, column 1, measure 3 (Part 2)
Page 7, column 1, measure 3 ~ page 7, column 2, measure 4 (End)
The recording went well because I played it very nicely and I had good dynamics. But I think I am having difficulty with the presses because I don’t get the right note very often. I think I can use my tuner and check with it every time I have to press.