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ISHII Hiromi / 石井紘美

Conception, Sound Processing and Structuring of Electroacoustic Music: Two Compositions with the Satsuma-biwa

Edition: ISBN 978-83-88392-65-8, De Musica Commentary Vol.4 pp85-96

Date: 2013

Region: JAPAN

Origin: POLAND

Type of media: Article

Language: English

Editor: H.I.J.


Through investigation of pieces of Japanese contemporary music which include Japanese instruments, the fact that most pieces are composed for koto, shakuhachi, or gagaku instruments has revealed. Actually, the history of more than a century of attempting to relate Japanese music to Western music has taken place mostly using only several modified instruments or dexterous instruments. For example, since the koto is a kind of zither, it was westernised ('modernised')quickly by increasing the number of strings in order to make it possible to play semi-tones and by exchanging the material of strings from silk to nylon.
However, apart from some kinds of shakuhachi music most instruments above belong to rather melody-dominant music, and the attempt to use instruments of timbre-dominant music such as the satsuma-biwa or the futozao(shamisen) is still barely seen. This fact became the background of the conception to compose electroacoustic pieces for the satsuma-biwa. In these compositions the possibility that Japanese instruments can appear vividly in the context of electroacoustic music was tested.