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Godan Ginuta


This is a piece of genre Sokyoku in the style of Kinuta mono from the Ikuta Ryû - 生田 School. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Mitsuzaki Kengyo.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

This work originally composed for two koto(s) is considered the highest point of instrumental development in the sokyoku genre of the nineteenth century. The title means 'a composition consisting of five sections (godan) based on the rhyme pattern of kimuta.' Kimuta originally means a wooden block used in former times to press and soften newly woven cloth. Kimuta as a musical piece, however, is an instrumental piece based on the rhythmic patter derived from the soft tapping sound of the fulling block. Sandwiched by two short songs (maeuta 'introductory song' and atouta 'concluding song'), this highly instrumental piece virtually actually shows the tegoto-mono form. The tegoto is composed of two independent pieces, namely Sandan-jishi and Godan-ginuta.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Of flowers,
The mountain-cherry at Yoshino.
Of fall leaves,
The maples at Takao.
Of pines,
Those at Karasaki.
Of mist
That at Toyama.
My love always
Wears green.
How gentle she is!
When I daydream
My thoughts turn to her.

The pine is green,
The pine is green.
It never changes,
Ever green.
Hana wa
yoshino yo
momiji wa
matsu wa
kasumi wa
itsumo tokiwa no
furi wa sansa


Matsu wa tokiwa yo
matsu wa tokiwa yo
itsumo kawaranu
toshinoha goto ni

Godan Ginuta appears on the following albums

All the Best from Japan

Art of the Koto - Volume I
Yoshimura Nanae

Ensemble Nipponia - Japan Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music None

    A frequently performed koto duet from the mid-19th century, this formally constructed work features angular rhythms that derive from the sound of the kinuta (a set of wooden blocks for beating silk). "Godan" means "five variations." The Japanese variation technique was developed in the 17th century, originating With the famous piece Rokudan no Shirabe; it includes not only modifications and decorations of the basic theme, but also compression and expansion of thematic materials. The last variation of Godan ginuta betrays its debt to the earlier Rokudan by including the entire first section of Rokudan in the second koto part, not unlike a cantus firmus in a Renaissance choral work.

Fukami Satomi - Sokyoku Jiuta Shu - 1
Fukami Satomi
Ikuta Ryu Sokyoku Senshu Volume 06

Japan - Splendour of the Koto

Koto - Keiko Nosaka
Nosaka Keiko

Koto Music of Japan, The
Hagiwara Seikin
    The Kinuta is primitive machinery for refining cloth materials. Though this machine no longer exists, the sound of the kinuta has often been described in poetry and music and suggests the sad monotones of the fall season. The rustling leaves and the voices of insects always accompanied the sound of the kinuta when autumn arrived.

    Godan-Kinuta (kinuta in five steps) is regarded as the unequalled music of autumn. A number of works which simulate the kinuta have been composed, but none of these are comparable to this piece by Mitsuzaki Kengyo.

Koto no Miryoku - Disk 1

Kou Aoki Reibo II

Melody of Japan - Pathos of Autumn

Midare - Kazue Sawai Plays Koto Classics
Sawai Kazue
Music of Japan, The - Vol I

Musical Atlas - Japan
Matsuo Keiko
    The Koto is a long zither made of paulonia wood. The back of the upper board is hallowed out to provide a thin and long soundboard. Thirteen silk strings are strung between the two ends of the body. Each string passes over a movable ivory bridge which determines the length of the sounding part. The player plucks the strings with three ivory picks attached by leather bands to the thumb, the index and middle finger of the right hand. The instrument was introduced from China in the 8th century and used in the orchestra of the ancient court music, the Gagaku. In the 17th century a blind musician, Yatsuhashi, created a new genre of music using the Koto as a solo instrument and for the accompaniment of songs.

    This type of music was developed by his successors, mainly blind professional musicians. It became fashionable among the common people, especially among women. Koto music was combined with a genre of Shamisen song called Jiuta, also created by blind musicians, giving birth to the Koto and Shamisen ensemble. This kind of ensemble allowed the development of increasingly sophisticated styles of polyphony, and so did the Koto ensembles.

    The piece chosen here, a Koto duet, is a representative masterpiece of the polyphonic Koto ensemble. It was composed by Mitsuzaki, a musician who died in 1853. Two kotos are tuned at different pitches; the main Koto (an the left) is tuned a fifth lower than the second one (on the right). The title of this piece comes from the form of the composition, which is in five sections (go-dan). The term Kinuta means a fulling block, since the piece reminds one of the sound of someone making felt. The third, fourth and fifth sections of the piece are recorded here.


Rokudan Koto no Meikyoku
Yonekawa Toshiko
Seiha Hogakkai Play Favorites 04 - Mitsuzaki Kengyo

So - Japanese Traditional Music
Yonekawa Toshiko
Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 10
Yonekawa Fumiko

Tomiyama Seikin - So
Tomiyama Seikin V

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018