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This is a piece of genre Jiuta in the style of Tegotomono from the Ikuta Ryû - 生田 School. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Minezaki Koto. This piece was composed for Shamisen by the person Minezaki Koto.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

Zangetsu ('A Morning Moon') was composed around 1790 by Minezaki Koto of Osaka for a memorial performance on the first anniversary of the death of one of his young students. She was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, the name whose shop-Matsuya-is echoed in the song.

This jiuta piece, considered to be one of the greatest achievements in the tegoto-mono form, is often performed at the memorial concerts.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Behind the beach pines
Hides the moon
The light of the moon,
Setting into the open sea,
Departed so soon
From this world of dreams,
Will awake to absolute truth,
And live in the bright
Lunarian palace

Now a message from you
Is the misty vernal moon.

Only the months and days
Are sure to come round again.

Isobe no matsu ni
oki no katae to
iru tsuki no
hikari ya yume no
yo wo hayoo
samete shinnyo no
tsuki no miyako ni
sumu yaran


Ima wa tsute dani
oboroyo no
tsukihi bakari wa
meguri kite

Zangetsu appears on the following albums

Abe Keiko Record Set - 02 Torii Kyomudo
Abe Keiko
Araki Kodo III and Fukuda Eika - Collection of Famous Performances - 02 Araki Kodo III Kawada Tou Fukuda Eika
Art of the Japanese Bamboo Flute and Koto Richard Stagg Hasegawa Aiko Sato Kikuko
    ZANGETSU is a trio for koto with voice, shamisen with voice, and shakuhachi. The title means "The Moon at Dawn" and the piece was composed as a lament upon the death of a young pupil of the composer. She was the daughter of a wealthy Osaka merchant, and the poem alludes to the name of his shop "Matsuya".

    Hidden among the pines
    On the spreading shore,
    The moon's beams
    So early in the dawn
    Are awakening, filling with light
    The moon's heavenly palace
    Where you now belong
    Your fond memory
    Will keep returning
    In the dimness
    Of the hazy moon
    As the months
    Run their course.

    The piece is often performed at memorial concerts. In the style typical of this jiuta piece ("local song") which features tegotomono (purely instrumental interludes) the instruction and maeuta (opening song) feature an extremely slow tempo, which is here sustained for an unusually long time, to give dramatic weight to the subject. The voices of both string-players are heard at different points. The performance on this recording consists of a single take.

Art of the Koto - Volume I
Yoshimura Nanae
Hirai Sumiko no Sekai Aoki Reibo II
Hirai Sumiko
Ikuta Ryu Sokyoku Senshu Volume 07

Jiuta to Sokyoku no Sekai - 4

Kodo Araki Araki Kodo V Yes Yes
    It is now 33 years since my father, KODO IV, passed away. When I was a child, I used to dream about my father, but now I myself am approaching my father's age, and am, as he used to, playing with children of my own. Like the words in this piece, I find I can feel how the days go by one after the other, and life goes on in its everlasting cycles.

Koto and Shamisen Gendai Meikyoku Shu 09

Melody of Japan - Pathos of Autumn

Midare - Kazue Sawai Plays Koto Classics
Sawai Kazue Sawai Tadao
Moon at Dawn Koga Masayuki Sunazaki Tomoko
Musical Cosmos of Yonekawa Toshiko 1 Yamaguchi Goro Yonekawa Toshiko Yonekawa Hiroe
    The morning moon

    This is a piece of tegoto mono (a repertoire of pieces for displaying instrumental techniques) by MINEZAKI koto. The composer of the song text is unknown. The dates of MINEZAKI's birth and death are unknown but it is known that he was a blind musician who was active in Osaka before and during the Kansei era (1781-1801) and made a major contribution to the perfection of hauta mono and tegoto mono. Many of these compositions have today become a major repertoire for Osaka jiuta. Amongst these, the piece heard here is the most highly esteemed. The piece was composed as a Buddhist memorial music for a young girl, a disciple of MINEZAKI's by the name of Matuya so-and-so from Soemon town in Osaka. The name of the piece is connected with the Buddhist name given to the deceased girl "Zangetsu Sinnyo". In addition to the difficulties in instrumental performance of the tegoto sections, the expressions of the meanings of the song text and the singing techniques require skills. This piece is valued as one of the three elaborate representative tegoto pieces ("geiko mitumono" or "sima mitumono") within the licensing system in Osaka. The tegoto is made of five dan and a chirashi and in the 1st and 2nd dan and the 3rd and 4th dan, dan awase (simultaneous performance) is possible. The sangen is tuned in hon tyosi and, before the ato'uta (post vocal section), changes to ni agari. There are not many pieces in jiuta like this where many versions of additional koto and sangen parts have been tempted. For example, the pieces Kyo Zangetsu and Osaka Zangetsu have derived from different koto parts; and in the Nagoya tradition, there is a different koto version. The duet of honte (the basic melody) and kaete (kaede) (a separate melody which accompanies the honte) of the sangen is particularly popular. In the kaete tuned in san sagari there are many varieties. This is possibly the result of musicians attempting additions to instrumental parts in which they had confidence. These are famed pieces to which performers enjoyed making their own additions. It was natural, therefore, for the renowned YONEKAWA Kin'o, who was the representative composer for the koto in his days, to attempt original additions to the koto and these reveal both his skill and emotion. As recorded here, the addition of irete (detailed variation) occurs in the 5th dan. The koto is tuned in hiku hira tyosi and immediately before the ato'uta it changes to nakazora tyosi. A performance of the most standard trio, sangen, koto and shakuhachi, is recorded here.

Perspectives of New Music Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin
Henry Horaku Burnett
    Setting Moon

    Composed by Minezaki Koto (fl. in Osaka 1789-1804), Zangetsu is considered to be the most deeply expressive piece in the entire Japanese classical trio-ensemble repertoire. Minezaki wrote the poem and its musical setting following the sudden death of his favorite pupil, a young girl of the aristocracy. The theme of Zangetsu concerns sadness and frustration with the transience of human existence. In the poetry, the famous composer expresses both his tentative faith in a life after death, when all truth will be known, and his disillusionment with this world, in which love dissolves all too quickly-like "the setting moon."

    Zangetsu was composed in Osaka during the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), a period that witnessed the rise of a flourishing merchant class. The wealthy merchants vied with the aristocracy in patronizing and developing new art forms of great sophistication. Under their patronage ukyio-e woodblock prints became popular, new types of paper and cloth materials were invented, the Kabuki and Bunraku theaters thrived, and chamber music reached a level of compositional creativity unknown before.

    Most chamber music composed for the merchant class was written for sankyoku, or trio ensemble of sangen (three-stringed lute), koto (thirteen-stringed zither), and shakuhachi (end-blown bamboo flute). In particular, brilliant works in this genre were produced by composer/performers living in and around the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, where the merchant class was most prosperous. The first great masterworks of ensemble music were composed in Osaka toward the end of the eighteenth century. This repertoire, generally known as Osakamono, is characterized by virtuoso instrumental technical skill. Among several outstanding Osakamono composers, Minezaki Koto is considered to be the greatest.

    Minezaki Koto was a composer/performer who, like other musicians of the period, was blind. The shogunate government protected these artists by creating a guild (which also included blind masseurs) whose purpose was to oversee their welfare as well as to bestow titles of rank. Two ranks of artistic merit were established especially for musicians: kengyo was the highest, and below that, koto. It still remains a mystery that Minezaki, perhaps the finest composer of his age, never attained the rank of kengyo. Perhaps he did not have the money with which to purchase the title - a condition necessary for advancement at that time - or, perhaps, there might have been a political reason since
    the guild seemed to favor Kyoto musicians over those of their Osaka neighbors.

    Zangetsu is composed in the traditional three-part tegotomono form in which a technically demanding instrumental interlude (tegoto) is flanked by two vocal sections (called respectively, maeuta and atouta). The tegoto interlude in Zangetsu is unique in that it is divided into five sections, or dan, of widely varied characters and tempi. Even so, the five internal sections of the tegoto are unified through a sophisticated variation technique that operates both within each dan, and from one dan to the next.

    The performance on this recording was taped live at a concert given on 31 May 1988 at the Ruteru-Center Auditorium, Tokyo.

    -Henry Burnett

    For a more detailed discussion of Zangetsu see Henry Burnett, "Minezaki Koto's Zangetsu: An Analysis of a Traditional Japanese Chamber Music Composition,', Perspectives of New Music 27, no.2 (Summer 1989).

Sangen no Kiseki - 2

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Sankyoku Gasso - 01 Yamaguchi Goro

Sokyoku Jiuta

Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 23 Torii Kyomudo
Abe Keiko
Take-Ikkan Aoki Reibo II

World of Shakuhachi Yamaguchi Goro

World of Shakuhachi, The Yamaguchi Goro

Yonin no Kai Ensemble - Japan Sankyoku Kitahara Kozan II

    Moon at Dawn

    This type of pieces is derived from songs from the Kyoto and Osaka regions, accompanied on the shamisen, called Jiuta ("fundamental songs"). At the end of the 18th century, the instrumental part in these pieces was gradually given more importance; it expanded in order to highlight the musicians' technical skills, and was given the name Tegoto ("manual thing"). This "Zangetsu", composed by Mitsuzaki, is one of the best examples of Tegoto style. The first of the songs expresses the composer's with that his wife, who has died prematurely, may now live in the Capital of the Moon, and the second song evokes how quickly time has passed since she died.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018