S?kyoku-jiuta : edo-period chamber music

Authored by: Philip Flavin

The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9780754656999
eBook ISBN: 9781315172354
Adobe ISBN: 9781351697613


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S?kyoku-jiuta is a collection of different musical genres for koto and shamisen (sangen) transmitted by a specific group of musicians from the early edo period (1600– 1868) to the present day. The word is a compound: s?kyoku indicates those genres composed primarily for the koto; jiuta indicates those genres composed primarily for the shamisen. It is possible and common to perform most of s?kyoku–jiuta as an ensemble with both instruments; nevertheless, each composition is thought of as belonging to a specific genre that falls under one of the larger groups of s?kyoku or jiuta. For most of these genres, the second instrument can be viewed as an option in performance. Some genres, such as koto kumiuta or shamisen kumiuta, are never performed with other instruments. For other genres, particularly tegotomono (discussed below), the norm is both instruments. The koto and the shamisen are indeed inseparable, and one cannot be discussed without knowledge of the other.

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