Thursday, June 9, 2011
Music at the temple
In for a penny, in for a pound. I confess--I also took some videos at Tsukiji Hongwanji. In addition to the pipe organ, the temple sometimes has music supplied by musicians of the genre known as gagaku 雅楽, a very ancient tradition imported from the Asian mainland in the tenth century or so. One of the oldest orchestral traditions in the world. The performance at the temple was more in the line of a chamber ensemble of two instruments--the hichiriki 篳篥 a double reed horn similar to an oboe, but it kind of squawks like a goose, and the shou 笙, a reed instrument that might be called a mouth organ, but much different in shape from a harmonica. The reeds, with graduated pipe resonators, are mounted on a round wind box into which the player blows. There are holes that the player covers with fingers to produce the sound. Like a harmonica, it is sounded on both inhale and exhale. Maybe with the right tuning, you might be able to play blues on it. In traditional music, it sounds to me like it came from outer space. Pix attached, borrowed from unrelated websites--thanks!