MUS 250 Sound Cultures in the World

Japanese Music Listening Examples


Focus on boxed examples & bold items



[1] genre: GAGAKU (title: Etenraku).  Music of the Imperial courts.  Note transparent, non-blending timbres and slow tempo.  Maximum effect from minimum means.  Large rhythmic cycles.  Jo-ha-kyu. 


[2] genre: SHAKUHACHI MUSIC (title: Daha).  Music for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), associated with Zen meditation.  Note free rhythm.


[3] genre: Music from KABUKI (sub-genre: Naga-uta, one of several types of music used in Kabuki Theater, the theatrical genre full of extravagant effects that catered to the middle class).  Note non-blending timbres and loose rhythmic co-ordination


[4] genre: music for KOTO (Title: Godan-Kinuta).  This duet features the koto, a 13-string zither. Chamber music associated with the cultivated middle class.


[5] genre: FOLK MUSIC ASSOCIATED WITH SHINTO (bon dance “Awa-Odori”).  Note loose rhythmic co-ordination


[6] genre: Music from NOH (play title “Hagoromo” (The Robe of Feathers)).  MAXIMUM effect from MINIMUM means.


[7] genre: FOLK MUSIC (genre: Matsuri-bayashi) Notice the not-quite-regular drum patterns in a duple context.


[8] genre: KOUTA (title: Hakusen No) Music associated with Geisha culture.


[9] genre: ENKA (title: Naite Nagasaki) gave birth to karoke.  What musical traits are imported?