International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Tsuki no Kyoku

月の曲

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Kinko Ryû - 琴古流 School. This piece was composed for Shakuhachi by the person Araki Kodo II.

History (John Singer):

This piece was composed by Araki Kodo II. This is the only Kinko Ryu Honkyoku whose composer is clearly known.

The piece begins with lower octave sounds which are said to be associated with quiet evenings. Then, the melody progresses to higher range sounds and, for a time, the feeling of a bright full moon is conveyed. Then, the piece closes rather simply.

The composer continued to try and improve the piece but died in the middle of its writing. So it may be called an unfinished piece, however, this is a fine piece and even though it was unfinished, it is complete enough.

Tsuki no Kyoku appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Complete Collection of Honkyoku from the Kinko School - Vol 2 - Disc 2 Aoki Reibo II

Emptiness of the Sky, The Andreas Fuyu Gutzwiller

    This is the only piece to have been included in the complete edition of the Kinko school's honkyoku, although it does not belong to the pieces legitimized by Kurosawa Kinko in the 18th century. It was composed by Araki Chikuo (1823-1908), and is set almost entirely in the classical style. The title means 'Moon music'. A striking jump over the space of two octaves, which is heard roughly two-thirds of the way through the, work, symbolizes the rising moon. Shortly before the end, the piece modulates -which is unusual for classical shakuhachi music -from the honchosi key (D) to akebono joshi (A).

Kinko Ryu Honkyoku - 6 Aoki Reibo II

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Shakuhachi Honkyoku - 12 Yamaguchi Goro

Zen Music - V Yamaguchi Goro

    It was composed by Araki Chikuo (1823) as his last opus. He was born as a third son of a samurai and liked Shakuhachi as a child. Araki Kodo, II, gave him the title name. He is respected as the restorer of Kinko-ryu and as the founder of modern Shakuhachi music. Because, it was he together with his fellow, Yoshida Itcho, who proposed to the government that Shakuhachi as a musical instrument rather than as a religious one (it used to be regarded so) should be open to the public. His proposal was admitted, even though it was after the government had prohibited Fuke-shu and Fuke Shakuhachi in the cultural revolution in early Meiji.

    This piece was not actually completed by himself but was supplemented by another person. So, it is natural if one feels something heterogeneous toward the end.

    It is not intended to be sacred or religious. But it can be stylistically regarded as belonging to the tradition of Kinko-ryu Shakuhachi, for it is purely instrumental and unlike Koto or Shamisen musics. With free metric, it provides contemplation over the moon, a clear, cold atmosphere, and mono no aware (pathos).

    It should be noted that such a special technique as used in the well-known piece, 'Shika no Tone', is applied also in this piece. It may be designated 'somersault' technique in that a gradual upward portamento is followed by a sudden downward slide, and then by a series of staccatos.


Zen Music with Ancient Shakuhachi - Disc 1 John Singer

    (Moon Melody) This piece was composed by the 2nd Araki Kodo (Araki Chikuo). It is the only Kinko Ryu Honkyoku whose composer is clearly known. The piece begins in the lower octave which is associated with quiet evenings. Then, the melody progresses to a higher range and, for a time, the feeling of a bright full moon is conveyed. Araki continued to try and improve Tsuki No Kyoku but died before finishing it. Nevertheless, this is a fine piece and considered to be complete in its present form.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017