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Aki no Kyoku

秋の曲

This is a piece of genre Sokyoku in the style of Meiji Shinkyoku from the Ikuta Ryû - 生田 School. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Yoshizawa Kengyo II.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

Aki no kyoku ('Ode to Autumn') is one of a set of pieces for koto and a voice called Kokin no kumi. All six waka poems (1) in this piece are from Books Four and Five of Kokin waka shu, a tenth century anthology of court poetry compiled by imperial command.

Tegoto, or the long instrumental interlude inserted between the fourth and fifth waka, was not originally composed by Yoshizawa, but added later by Matsuzaka Shun'ei (1854-1920) of Kyoto.

(1) Court poetry of thirty-one syllables.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Only yesterday it seems
We gathered rice seedlings;
Now the fall winds blow
Tossing the full grown plants
To and fro.

Have the boatman
Of the milky way
Hide the rudder
When he brings you across
So that you can't return.

Sadness, when I see the moon;
My heart a thousand fragments.
Though this sadness of autumn
Is not mine alone,
Yet...

Our mountain village
Is so wretched
Especially in the autumn
We wake and wake again
To the crying of the deer.

Though not yet fallen
The leaves
Already foretell the end,
So deep is their color
That we see now before us.
Is it the white of waves
Breaking over the beach?
Or the white of chrysanthemums
Bending
In the autumn wind?
(maebiki)

Kinoo koso
sanae torishika
itsunoma ni
inaba soyogite
akikaze no fuku

Hisakata no
ama no kawara no
watashimori
kimi watarinaba
kaji kakushiteyo

Tsuki mireba
chiji ni mono koso
kanashikere
waga mi hitotsu no
aki ni wa aranedo

Yamazato wa
aki koso kotoni
wabishikere
shika no naku ne ni
me wo samashitsutsu

(tegoto)

Chiranedomo
kanetezo oshiki
momijiba wa
ima wa kagiri no
iro to mitsureba

Akikaze no
fukiage ni tateru
shiragiku wa
hana ka aranuka
nami no yosuruka

Aki no Kyoku appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Classic Ensemble Music Vol 2 Kitahara Kozan II Yes
    The poem consists of six waka verses of autumn selected from Kokin-waka-shu, the oldest one of the anthologies of waka poems collected by Imperial command, compiled in early 10th century. The word aki in the title means autumn. The piece is made up of three sections: fore-song, long instrumental interlude and after-song. The fore-song contains four verses and the after-song two. The interlude is much longer than the song sections and is really the main body of this piece. The two koto play different parts except in the fore-song section and the introductory passage of the interlude. This piece was originally composed in the middle of the 19th century as a piece without instrumental interlude for voice and only one koto by Yoshizawa Kengyo, who tried to restore koto music independent from shamisen music, aiming at the simple taste of the very old koto pieces. This is the reason why the melodies of both song and instruments of this piece sound a little different from shamisen pieces such as Yaegoromo. Later toward the end of the 19th century, another koto master Matsusaka Shunei composed the interlude and arranged the present piece.

Fascination of the Koto 3
Yonekawa Megumi
    Composed by Yosizawa kengyo II (1801/08-1872). He composed numerous koto pieces using the tanka poems included in the Kokin waka syu. This particular piece represents the progression from early autumn to the end of autumn. The composer invented the tuning specific to these pieces by adding semi-tone pregressions to an anhemitonic (without half tone steps) tuning of the gagaku koto.

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The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017