Archive for Music
In this unit for 7th grade music, we are focusing on the differences of music from different parts of the world. One of them, is how Western music and Japnese music sound very different. Last class, we listened to a piece played by the Koto, called “六段の調(Rokudan no Shirabe)”, and we were to defy the techniques played in during the music, and how it makes is sound Japanese.
In Rokudan no Shirabe, it is tuned to traditional Japanese tuning, “平調子(Hirajoushi)” (D, G A Bb D Eb G A Bb D Eb G A), scale. The tuning is one of the reasons why the piece sounds Japanese, since it has a strong and direct sound that particularly sound Japanese. As mentioned above, there are also many techniques that also make the music sound even more Japanese other than the tuning. These techniques, suck as “後押し(Ato-oshi)” is a sound you create by pushing down the string on the left hand side, next to the bridge, and after you finish the playing the notes to make the sound waver. Shan’s, when you strike the string with your middle finger, and Sha Sha, two shan’s together, and Sha Sha Ten’s, playing Sha Sha and then hit another string with your thumb, are all techniques that make creates a interesting effect and shows that the music is Japanese. These skills creates a music which you can identify by listening, shows the existence of Japanese music, and puts the life into music. Traditional Japanese music is, and sounds very direct to me, very clear. It has pauses, and has a beat which can change. I find it sound very calming, and it has a really beautiful sound to it.
On april 11th, our grade did not have our original music class, and instead we were to introduced to our third unit with also a performance from Mr. Patterson, Miyama-sensei, and Mr. Patterson’s friend, Mr. Burt Huebner. They all played different instruments, Mr. Patterson playing the Shamisen, Miyama-sensei playing the Koto, and Mr. Huebner playing the Shakuhachi. All the instruments that were played, were all brought to Japan from China and was a very popular. We were given a explanation of each instrument, as well as taught the difference of Western music to traditional Japanese music. Our third unit question is, ”What makes music sound like it belongs to a particular part of the world?”
Out of all the three instruments, I really liked the Shamisen. I find it a very interesting instrument, since it creates such a echoey sound that you wouldn’t normally hear. It isn’t just echoey, but also it is a kind of sound that you want to hear for a long time. The sounds of Shamisen also fit in very nicely with the Koto and Shakuhachi and gives a different melody that gives me shrills. I would like to try the shamisen once, but then, I do like the sounds of Koto which I play, so if I were able to have a chance, I would like to play the Shamisen. The shape, and also the shamisen itself is very absorbing, and the way its created with skin, I think seems very appealing. Though I knew what the Shamisen was and also knew some people who played it, I actually never heard it together in harmony with the Shakuhachi and Koto, so I thought it all sounded beautiful.
I liked all pieces, though I really liked how Kaze no Uta (Sound of the winds) sounded. It was very light, and it made me feel like all sorts of different winds. The The melody of the two sounded really beautiful, and I enjoyed listening to all of the different sounds it created. It was a really soft song, and it made me feel really calm.
The music sounded Japanese, since the sound of what the instrument created is not a sound which you can hear from a western instrument. A western instrument, sounds more softer compared to the Koto or Shakuhachi or Shamisen. These Japanese instruments, give a edgy sound, that sounds really straight. I do not know how to explain them well, but they give a really straight and clear sound that you wouldn’t hear with a western instrument. It echoes,and gives a really hollow sound that gives you the feeling of relaxation and as if you’re surrounded by the nature. It makes you feel calm, and the tuning sounds so calming, that I really love how the Japanese instruments sound.
This is a piece of music we’ve been playing in music class for several months. It is called “Taka”, and it is written by Sawai Tadao.
Overall, I thought that I played well, but not enough for a concert. I have made lot’s of mistakes, and I don’t think it sounds right. Personally, I think this is mu best for now, even thought it is slow and doesn’t sound well at all. I think I could do muh better with this if I try harder, and I should try to practice more at home. I think that my presses are too weak, and they don’t sound right. If I put more strength into my arms and press harder on the presses, it might sound better. After listening to what I played, I thought I cannot hear any of the dynamics. There is no difference, and it seems like if I am playing at the same sound level. I could also improve on the dynamics as well. I also thought, that when I am pulling my picks up, I can hear the clacking of my tsume’s. I really need to improve on this, since this has been a habit of mine for a long time. I need to try to be more carefl when I play it. For part A, I did quite horribly. The notes I played were frequently wrong, there were no dynamics, and it was too slow. For part B, I have to fix my clicking of tsume’s, and the dynamics again, and also the presses. I think I played okay, but not enough and I wish to improve more for the future.