Sankyoku ensemble music of the early modern period (1600-1868) was originally performed on kokyu, sangen, and so. Even today such performances continue to take place. Such music was important in the development of heterophonic Japanese musical style. Music for the kokyu includes solo pieces, duos performed with shamisen, and sankyoku trios. In the historical development of this music, the kokyu emerged as a bowed string instrument played in typically Japanese style. San-sagari tuning is one of the characteristic features of kokyu music. In order to analyze this tuning, I have focussed on two important playing techniques: suri and uchite. Melodic patterns of classical music have been analyzed, with a special emphasis on melodic movement of the third string of the kokyu in san-sagari tuning. This analysis has shown that four types of melodies may be abstracted from this music. These four types are found only in san-sagari tuning. Finally, I have noted that the relation of san-sagari tuning to scales is important for understanding the characterisics of sankyoku music of the early modern period.
In an earlier article, entitled “A comparative study of Ryukyu and Chinese music, ” I have argued that the instruments, musical notation, and tuning of the sanshin in Ryukyu and Chinese music are closely related. In the following study I have investigated the reception and change of Chinese music transmitted to the Ryukyu Islands. From analyzing the pieces “Da hua gu, ” “Song wang sheng, ” and “Zhai kong gong” all of which were imported from China, it has become clear that the modes and scales of Chinese and Ryukyu music, though on the surface appearing unrelated, can in fact be restored to a state in which they are quite similar. By reducing such pieces from their modern form to a hypothetical form and then to their original from, one can see how melodies (modes) gradually changed together with changes in the tunings of the sanshin and suona. My analyses show certain patterns of music change in Ryukyu music. The Ryukyu people, however, probably responded to Chinese music largely emotionally, and varied this music according to their own needs and sensibilities.
This paper presents an analysis of some of the musical materials and compositional techniques found in improvisations of the genre Tsugaru-jamisen (a “folk” shamisen music of northern Japan). The most important musical elements of Tsugaru-jamisen improvisation are analyzed as having developed from the shamisen accompaniment of Tsugaru folksong and from solo shamisen paraphrases by such performers as Shira-kawa Gunpachiro. Processes of tetrachordal variation, motivic repetition, and progressive diminution of phrase lengths are shown to play an especially large role in the structuration of Tsugaru-jamisen improvisations.
Recently, many questions about the present of methods of study musical performance have been asked arising from research in the so-called Third World. In particular process of field work, ethical problems, content of research, style of writing and reduction of the results have become matters of concern. To answer these in a structured way thereby forming aframework and policy for research, I will present the following points. 1. Who carries out the research? Researchers, local communities and cultural administrative organizations (including educational ones) ought to cooperate as co-workers to contribute toward problems by taking a broader view of the matter. 2. When and where do they do it? The above-mentioned three agents ought to make “information centers for researchers”. Decisions as to when, how long and where research should take place too shuld be regulated. 3. What do they do? Following a two stage method of research proposed by M. McLean, that is, firstly, “base research” for gathering fundamental information about concerned musical performance culture, and secondly, “problem-oriented resarch.” Researchers ought to endeavor to foster relations between concerned societies for the mutual benefit of both. 4. Why do they do it? To contribute to the transmission, creation and sharing of experience of musical performance by societies concerned, researchers cught to promote their activities by using, for example of radio and television broadcasting, distribution of teaching materials such on booklets, as an educational contribution to society in general. 5. How do they do it? Sufficient explanation and full agreement of local communities is necessary concerning the researchh process such as arrangements, ways of processing, access to the public and safe keeping of materials. For this purpose, reconfirmation of the professional ethics of researchers and establishment of an outline of research may also be needed. Making the above questions into the three pillars of reserch policy, that is, “dialogue”, cooperation and contribution”, “internaional exchange” in the various levels such as researchers vesus concerned researchers and organisations, researchers versus cultural carriers, and nations versus nations, researchers have come to the stage where they should take joint responsibility for the mentioned problems.
There are many approaches to understanding how a music style is characterized. This paper is an attempt to understand a characteristic of gamelan not through actual performing methods or the real situation of completed music making, but by way of observing processes of learning the playing techniques. A completed performance, without exception, is based on certain learning processes before it. As a typical form, I focus on gamelan in central Java to be the subject and analyze the processes of learning. Gamelan is still one of the most popular genres of music in Java and one can often appreciate it through the mass media such as radio and television. In addition, gamelan is taught in the music classes in schools of compulsory education. In Jave, gamelan is often used with formalities as in marriage or circumcision ceremonies. In the villages gamelan instruments found in assembly halls are used for practicing as well as for the village events. In fact, gamelan is enjoyed in various phases of Javanese life. How then is gamelan actually learned by the people? My comparative study of the processes of learning is based on differentiating four patterns as follows: 1) the learning process by Japanese in Japan 2) the learning process by Indonesians in general school education 3) the learning process by Javanese in high school or universities specializing in traditional music 4) the learning process by groups functioning independently in the villages These types show differences in the performing skills of the respective students. For example, Javanese gamelan performers generally comes in touch with gamelan as a kind of leisure play at first. At that time they may sometimes begin to study gamelan for more interests. Many performers begin to study gamelan in elementary schools or junior high schools, and continue learning it by taking part in a group of villages, too. After that they are admitted to the high school or the university specializing in traditional music through entrance examinations. They then may perform gamelan as a performer or an educator. The learning method used by Japanese in Japan is a well-considered, anclytical one, tanght by teachers who have observea and grasped complete performances from outside. Students memorize fixed melodies and then learn to play other instruments. The more they learn, the more difficult instruments they may play. At a final point, they may have the ability to play all the instruments of the gamelan. By this method students can acquire the skills relatively quickly, but only mechanically. The learning methods in general school lessons and extracurricular activities are also analytically organized. The teachers teach the students how to pay respect to instruments as well as to sing melodies and verses. These elments are not found in Japanese methods but the metheds used in Javanese in schools are similar to the Japanese ones at in that they start the paper with the easier instruments, and them proceed to more difficult instruments. The learning methods in high schools and universities specializing in traditional music are primarily based on copying teachers' models. The teachers do not explain much about performances and do nothing but play instruments over and over again. Students acquire other knowledge such as the history of gamelan. I was at first under the impression that the ways of study in villages are irrational. The teachers let students freely choose an instrument. But the students have already played instruments at festivals and can play a little. At that time they cannot always play pieces and instruments suited to their playing level. They copy other players' performances.
Since the 1980's in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), there has been a noticeable increase of historical studies on Korean music in the modern period (approximately from the end of 19th century to the first half of 20th century). This is partly a reflection of the democratization in the late 1980's and the consequent liberalization of literature on socialism and on Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). However, another background for such scholarly advancement is the development of Minjok-umak-ron (“discussion of music for Korean people”), which originated in the criticism of musical/social problems in Korea during 1970's. Minjok-umak-ron, which takes both classical and popular music into consideration, does not encourage a specific genre; rather it gives, as a kind of artistic/political movement, the theoretical grounds for the musical creation and the musicological research in contemporary Korea. It has two main subjects, both of which are associated with the establishment of minjok-sagwan (the view of history from the Korean people): one is to overcome the separation of the nation into south and north which has caused the various artistic problems, another is to rediscover and re-appreciate the unknown musicians who were much devoted to the people's music. By the 1980's, a very few studies by Yi Yu-son, Chang Sa-hun and Yi Sang-man had long been the standard works on modern history of Korean music, while the general history had dealt only with traditional music. Then in the 1980's there appeared some master's theses, a special issue of a music magazine, and a symposium by three experts, all of which were devoted to this field. Moreover, some general histories of Korean music published in this decade came to include a chapter dealing with the reception of Western music. One of the most representative scholars based on minjok-umak-ron is Prof. No Tong-un, who has been very active in this field. His subjects of research include a wide variety of topics mostly unknown or politically ignored, such as: the silhak (“pragmatic thoughts”) scholars who had the first contact with Western music in the late Yi dynasty period, a Korean soldier Yi Un-dol who had the training of Western military music in 1882, the activities of KAPF (Korean Association of Proletarian Federation) in the 1930's and of musicians during the later half of 1940's, and the current situation of music in DPRK. In so doing, he attempts to reinterpret the history of Korean music since the late Yi period from the viewpoint of minjok-sagwan. Prof. So U-sok and Mr. Yi Chang-jik, on the other hand, also approach this subject from the viewpoint of social history of music. So U-sok, when arguing the introduction of Western music and its results, concludes that the musico-sociological conditions in the Yi period—separation between music for ritual and entertainment, Confucian conservatism against the popularization of music, encouragement of music education through Confucianism—made it possible to accept Western music culture so rapidly. Yi Chang-jik argues that the introduction of Western music associated with national rites has influenced the educational and political character of musical culture in Korea even today. Although both studies are but general ones, their perspectives will lead the future research. Another significant movement in recent years is the collection and arrangement of source materials such as newspapers, magazines, SP records and photographs. Arrangement and re-publication of newspapers and magazines are undertaken by Kim Chong-uk at the Institute of the Performing Arts (Tan'guk University) and the Institute of Asian Music (Seoul National University). Pae Yong-hyong and his colleagues reproduced SP records and reprinted their jackets,