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The International Shakuhachi Society

Shakuhachi - Japanese Traditional Music

Shakuhachi - Japanese Traditional Music

King Record Co., Ltd - KICH 2005

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1 Shika no Tône (Kinko Ryû) 鹿の遠音 09'01 Aoki Reibo II

“Shika no Tone” ("The Distant Cry of the Deer") is a well-known Kinko style honkyoku played with two persons. The piece develops as each player plays in succession the same phrase. As the intensity of the piece increases, the phrases overlap, creating a haunting harmony. Both players play the ending in unison, creating the impression that two entities have merged. The title suggests two deer in an autumnal forest calling to each other, gradually joining together, but the metaphor can be expanded: two individuals come together, or the elements of man, nature, and art unify.
2 Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe (Kinko Ryu) 一二三鉢返の調 09'48 Notomi Judo I

"Hi-Fu-Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe" is actually two pieces put together as one. “Hi-Fu-Mi" is what is known as a choshi, or short prelude, found in many genres of Japanese music such as gagaku or noh which sets the mood, determines the pitch, and opens a door through which the listeners and players can enter the world of the honkyoku. "Hachigaeshi no Shirabe" is an example of ritual honkyoku music. Fuke shakuhachi players were monks and, of course, had to beg for their food. Hachigaeshi (literally, "returning the bowl") was a piece played after receiving alms, in gratitude for the food. This piece is played as a solo.
3 San'ya Sugagaki 三谷菅垣 07'16 Notomi Judo I

"Sanya Sugagaki” is one of numerous honkyoku which bear the name sanya. They generally are divided into two groups. pieces which have a very free rhythm, and pieces which are rhythmically regulated. "Sanya Sugagaki” is of the latter type. The melody and beat are clearly evident. There is also an addition of a second shakuhachi which plays mostly parallel harmony to the first. The melody, rhythm, and harmony of "Sonya Sugagaki” create a balancing contrast to the free, amorphous qualities of the other Kinko honkyoku.
4 Tsuru no Sugomori (Tozan) 鶴の巣籠 10'44 Hoshida Ichizan I

The honkyoku of the Tozan style consist mostly of pieces composed or arranged by Nakao Tozan (l876-1956). Although influenced by the older Fuke honkyoku, Tozan was best known for his composition and organizing techniques. As a composer Tozan was very much a product of his times, but he paved the way for the shakuhachi to enter the last of the 2Oth century as a much respected musical instrument.

"Tsuru no Sugomori” ("The Nesting of the Cranes") is as well-known as "Shika no Tone." The origins of this piece are found in the early Fuke honkyoku, but Nakao Tozan greatly arranged and modified the piece. The music is representative of two parent cranes as they lovingly raise a child, a metaphor, of course, for human parental love and care. Played with two shakuhachi, this piece contains many interesting musical phrases and techniques suggesting the crane: wings taking to flight and lovely, evocative melodies juxtaposed with sections of contrasting tempos.
5 Umibe no Yubae 海辺の夕映 06'20 Hoshida Ichizan I

"Umibe no Yubae" ("The Sea in the Evening") was composed by Nakao Tozan in 1925, inspired by a visit to the Sea of Japan and its expansive evening views. This piece is in three sections: the evening light reflected on the sea, the landscape of the seashore, and the waves as they hit the shore.
6 Toge Hachiri 峠八里 07'06 Chikuzan Kusano

"Toge Hachiri" ("Eight-Mile Pass") was composed by Tanaka Inzan. A very active shakuhachi performer. composer of this century , he applied many Western techniques in his compositions including the use of Western staff notation, one of the first shakuhachi pieces to do so. Although it contains Western musical techniques, the central section has a very free, improvisatory section reminiscent of patterns found in "Tsuru no Sugomori." It is a good example of early attempts to fuse Japanese and Western music.
7 Kojo no Tsuki 荒城の月 09'41 Uemura Shozan

"Kojo no Tsuki" ("The Moon Over the Lake"), is a duet composed by Nakao Tozan in 1922 at his home during a late fall evening in Tokyo. It depicts the cool autumn air as it whips up small ripples on a lake, each of which reflects the moon. The latter half of the piece features a 3/8 rhythm which suggests the moonlight as it wavers on the waves. This piece was the first to utilize three-beat rhythm in shakuhachi music.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018