Gagaku

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Traditional orchestra at Kyoto Palace

Gagaku is classical Japanese court music.[1] Gagaku was brought to Japan from China in the 8th century.[1] The meaning of Gagaku is literally 'elegant music'.[2] Most of the music that survives is classified as Togaku (music from the Tang Dynasty).[3] They are performed as dance pieces and concert pieces.[3] In modern Japan, Gagaku is performed at ceremonies like that of New Year or a wedding held at a Shinto shrine.

Instruments[change | change source]

Gagaku instruments consists of wind instruments, string instruments and percussion instruments.[4] There are three type of wind instruments. They are Sho, Hichiriki and Ryuteki. There are mainly two kinds of stringed instruments, Koto and Biwa.[5] Also there are three kinds of percussion instruments, Dadaiko, Shoko and Kakko. The wind instruments usually carry the melody.[4] The two huge drums called dadaiko are a colorful part of a Gagaku performance.[4]

Spirituality[change | change source]

Gagaku music's most famous piece is called Etenraku (divine music).[5] Gagaku music is intended to bring spiritual healing to the listeners.[5] The dance is intended to bring a sense of elegance and harmony.[5] Gagakku is still performed at the Emperor's court in Japan.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Benito Ortolani, The Japanese Theatre: From Shamanistic Ritual to Contemporary Pluralism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), p. 40
  2. Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education, Volume 3, eds. William M. Anderson; Patricia Shehan Campbell (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2010), p. 202
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture, ed. Sandra Buckley (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 160
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Benito Ortolani, The Japanese Theatre: From Shamanistic Ritual to Contemporary Pluralism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), p. 50
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Melanie Guile, Japan (Chicago, IL: Raintree, 2004), p. 8

Other websites[change | change source]