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Kaede no Hana

楓の花

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 Matsuzaka Hakue.

Poem (translated by Yamaguchi Osamu)

(prelusive instrumental section)

The remaining flowers at Arasiyama (short interlude)
mixed with pale green treetops (s.i.)
Blown by the winds through the pine trees (s.i.)
maple flowers are scattered (short interlude)

Young ayu fish are climbing over the dams
and swiftly diving in deep waters
There, the singing frogs' voices are clear
near the bank of the Oi river, so beautiful!
(instrumental interlude. introduction)
(instrumental interlude. main section)
(instrumental interlude. transition)
Distant upriver are cuckoos (short interlude)

crying subdued their first cries of the year
Let us go to see them on a boat
to Tonase where azalea flowers bloom on the rocks
(post instrumental section)

Kaede no Hana appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen

Art of the Koto - Volume II
Yoshimura Nanae
Fascination of the Koto 4
Yonekawa Toshiko
    Composed by Matuzaka Syun'ei (1854-1920) at the end of the 19th century. The text depicts landscapes of early summer in the suburb of Kyoto. The form of this composition is classified as tegoto mono (pieces with a long instrumental interlude). However, unlike traditional tegoto mono, this piece is performed by high and low koto parts which is characteristic of the early Meizi era.

Fujii Kunie Sokyoku Jiuta No Sekai 4 None

Fukuda Chieko Aoki Reibo II Fukuda Chieko
Japanese Treasures Yes

    Kaede no hana (Maple Flowers), composed in the latter part of the Meiji period, though the style is more c1assical. The music describes the spring scenes of the Arashiyama hills in Kyoto. The young maples and other flowers in bloom among the rocks give one the image of the beautiful spring season of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. The piece is stylistically characteristic of the Western part of Japan. For two kotos and one shakuhachi.

Musical Cosmos of Yonekawa Toshiko 2 None Yonekawa Toshiko
    Maple flowers

    This is a Meiji shinkyoku for high and low koto (with different pitches of the main strings) composed, in the style of tegoto mono, around 1897. The song text is by OZAKI Sisio. At the beginning of the Meiji period, in response to a new era, there was considerable activity in the sphere of jiuta and sokyoku in the Kansai area, particularly Osaka, and compositions for koto as the main instrument were made. Tunings made mainly of the yo mode without a semitone interval and a performance style in two parts, high and low, a new left hand techniques, improved singing and other new techniques came to the fore. This group of new pieces were later known as "Meiji shinkyoku". MATSUZAKA Syun'ei is usually known for his supplementary compositions to YOSHIZAWA kengyo's four pieces of the kokin gumi but he was also one of a few blind musicians, in comparatively conservative Kyoto, who was involved in the composing of Meiji shinkyoku. His other compositions include Haru no sakae and Sumie no asi. The supplementary compositions for the kokin gumi are also placed within his Meiji shinkyoku compositions. Kaede no hana is not only just a representative composition of his, but is also the best known piece within the shinkyoku. The song text clearly depicts a scene of early summer around the area of Arasiyama in the western part of Kyoto, long famed for its cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. The piece is one of only a few in the jiuta and sokyoku group which has summer as its theme. The whole tegoto section consists of the makura (known also as the zyo), the tegoto and the tirasi: the section of the latter half of the makura, with its fine rhythm and faster tempo, is called the mae tirasi. While following the formula of the traditional koto style of tegoto mono, the descriptive instrumental quality is strong. It is bright, and, by using freely a gorgeous polyphony, the atmosphere of early summer is painted with an abundant sense of color. The high part is tuned in roku agari tyosi with the 6th and 11th strings of hira zyosi raised a semitone. The 4th and 9th strings are raised a semitone a little before the tirasi. The low part is tuned in si ku agari tyosi with the 4th and 9th strings raised a tone and with the 1st string tuned to the same pitch with the 3rd string of the high part. In contrast to the frequent case in which ornamented variations are abundant in the high part, the special feature of this piece, is that this treatment is strong in the low part. As a result, the high part is called honte and the low, kaete. In the end, a short concluding section is added which leaves a lingering charm.

Rokudan Koto no Meikyoku
Yonekawa Toshiko
Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 42
Yonekawa Fumiko II


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017