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ISHII Hiromi / 石井紘美

Japanese electronic music denshi-ongaku (電子音楽): Its music and terminology, definition and confusion

Edition: Proceedings of the Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference, Paris, 5 p., www.ems-network.org

Date: 2008

Region: JAPAN

Origin: JAPAN

Type of media: Article

Language: English

Editor: M.B.

Comment: See: http://www.hiromi-ishii.de/

Since electronic music was introduced to Japan in 1950s, the Japanese termdenshi-ongaku has been used for its translation. Nowadays it includes commercial-based computer music in which computers are used as sequencers to play pitch-oriented and metric music. In 1980 the New Grove Encyclopedia of Music and Musicians (New Grove) was published. It has entries “electronic music” and “computer and music”. After the manner of the English version, the Japanese version included the entries “denshi-ongaku” and “konpyuta to ongaku” (computer and music). The Japanese version was however, first published during 1993 to 1995. In 2001 the second edition of the New Grove was published and became also accessible through Internet. In this version the term electronic music is no longer a headword and is redirected to “electro-acoustic music”. Japanese online-version of New Grove has also been started in 2002. However, this is based on the first edition and still has entries “denshi-ongaku” and “konpyuta to ongaku”. There is no entry “denshi-onkyo-ongaku”which is the translation of the term electroacoustic music. The term denshi-onkyo-ongaku appears only in the text of the addenda. Nowadays the composers of electroacoustic music use the term “electroacoustic music” to suggest their sound-based music. Denshi-onkyo-ongaku is also gradually spreading among the composers of this field in Japan, but generally it has barely rooted yet. Furthermore, another termdenshi-onkyo which means “electro-acoustic” or “electronic sound” is often used. Although it does not mean organised sounds and autonomous music, some composers prefer to use it. This paper focuses on the terms relating to denshi-ongaku and denshi-onkyo-ongaku examining their nature of music, definition and usage.


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