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Musical Links: Indian Raga Music and Japanese Gagaku

An analysis of the musical elements that are linked together in Indian Raga and Japanese Gagaku

Ryan Thomas

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Musical Links: Indian Raga Music and Japanese Gagaku

Musical Links By Ryan Thomas In this presentation we will be looking at how two culturally distinct types of music from two different parts of the world link together in terms of Musical Elements. The two different musical cultures that will be analyzed are... Japanese Gagaku And... Indian Raga The study of Indian Classical music is a very serious art form in Indian culture. The study of Indian Raga Music a very ritualistic and spiritual that makes it a huge part of the tradition.The Indian music teacher is a very honorable role in society and they are looked upon as spiritual leaders of the society. Background Harmony The Harmony of Indian Raga music is played as what is called a 'drone.' The 'drone' in Indian Raga music is one of the most distinctive parts of the genre. The drone is a constantly repeating note that is behind the melody and is usually played by a bass like instrument called the Tampoora. It is seen as a privilege for the higher level students to play this instrument. The 'drone' usually plays two different pitches, the dominant of the piece and the tonic. The Tampoora (Tampuura) Melody The melodies of Raga music are usually played in the melodic pitch system of the Raag or Raga. Raga is very similar to the Western style scales but has many distinct differences. It is similar in that it is a series of pitches that are in a hierarchy.However, in contrast to western music, Raag has distinct forms of ascending and descending in pitches. Raag can also be linked to a certain type of emotional state or time of day. It usually consists of a lot of pitch bending around tones. Ornamentation is important in the culture of traditional Indian Raga music as well. There are many instruments that are used for the melody of Indian Raga music including instruments such as.. The Voice The Sitar The Basuri (Bamboo Flute) Rhythm and Meter The Rhythm and metrical system is called the tala or talam. The tala is a cycle of beats that can go all the way up to 16 beats that is split up into subdivisions within each cycle. An example of this would be a 10 count cycle of beats could be split up into two subdivisions of 3 and two subdivisions of 2. This meter is strictly kept by a pair of drums called the tabla. It consists of a metallic, timbal shaped drum used by the left hand called the Bayan, and a small cylindrical, wooden drum called the Dayan for the right. The Bayan strictly keeps the metric based rhythm while the Dayan plays more complex variations Has a soft tones that have a calming affect. this instrument is the oldest of the original instruments. Has a type of twanging sound due to 20 bordun strings below the trusses. This makes a tonal quality that has a very thick texture that can be called "sympathetic strings" for how other strings resonate when one is played. Other than the voice, this is the main melodic musical instrument of Indian Raga. The tonal quality of indian raga singing is usually very nasally and singers use a lot of pitch bending when singing. Form An indian Raag has three different parts:
Alap: It begins with the introduction of the raga with the melodic instrument accompanied by the drone. This introduction has a very free and flexible rhythm that can be improvised upon.
Pre-composed Piece - The entrance of the tabla drum that keeps the strict tala
Improvisation - Strict rhythm with the tala continues but there is improvisation. Background Ganaku music (literally elegant music) dates back to the 6th-10th century. It is the prestigous music that would be played in the Courts of Japan.Gagaku music is considered the imperial music of Japan and musicians who played this music carry very much prestige. This music is throughout the centuries was preserved by different clans and Buddhist temple musicians. It is the longest continous musical tradition in Japan. Instrumentation Most of the instruments that play the harmony for Japanese Gagaku are string instruments, many of which are influenced by Chinese instruments. These instruments usually support the main melody played by the flutes by doubling it. Japanese Koto A 13 string instrument based on the chinese Zither. This instrument plays short motives that support the melody. These motives are usually short three note phrases Aerophones Japanese bamboo flutes that play the melodic role in Ganku music Taiko Hichiriki - Human Voices A double reed aerophone with very loud dynamics and a clear timbre. plays a variation of the melody Ryuteki - Side Blown Flute The timbre of this instrument is very breathy. it plays another variation of the melody. Sho - Syo - Heavens Sound A bamboo mouth organ with a metal reed fitted in each pipe that vibrate when air is blown over it. This instrument plays long chordal clusters with a very thick texture. This thick texture provides a sort of drone as a variation of the melody The odd timbre of this instrument adds a haunting effect to the main melody lines. Biwa A pear shaped lute that has 4 strings with a very short neck that originates from Eastern China. This instrument strums across several strings quickly. This supports the melody by adding a punctial effect to main melodic notes. Both the Biwa and the Koto have very soft tones because of their silk strings The biwa and the koto do not play the melody often but when they do they underline the main melody in homophony. The main Japanese percussion instrument that comes in various shapes and sizes The most common type of taiko found in Japanese Gagaku music is the Tsuri-daiko. Rhythm and Form The rhythmic form is called Hyoshi and is coordinated by the percussion patterns of the taiko, kakko and Shoko. Japanese Percussion Shako The shoko is a small bronze gong that has a twisting metallic timbre Kakko The Kakko is a double headed drum Hyoshi Hyoshi is very similar to western meter's simple quadruple in that it has 4 units that each contain 4 beats. Each of these beats are spaced apart a lot to keep the melody free and flexible. Hyoshi is controlled by the percussion.
The Shoko controls the meter by playing on the first beat of every unit in each cycle.
The Kakko is in charge of controlling the accelerando's in the rhythm by rolling into selected downbeats.
The Taiko plays low notes in the 3rd and 4th measures to show the end of the cycle drawing near. Melody The melody is usually played by the bamboo flutes. A distinctive quality of Japanese Gagaku music's melody is that it is heterphonic. Each of the bamboo flutes play variations of the same melody line at the same time. The flutes always take the melody. The melody is sometimes played in a pentatonic scale. Analysis A - The piece begins with an irregular rhythmic form that is 3 units long called uchihajime. This is similar to a western style meter simple triple in that it has 3 beat measures with notes taking one beat.
Begins with Ryuteki playing alone slurring between different tones for one measure. The melody is being played in a pentatonic mode called hyojo.
Hyojo is a Gagaku scale that corresponds to the atone of natural E.
Starts out with ornamentation of the Ryuteki
The Shoko signals the beginning of the next measure (as it always does) and kakku enters. In every third measure the taiko plays a note.
The Kakko accelerandos from the beginning of the second measure to the end of the third than stops and starts another accelarando at the beginning of the 2nd measure in the next cycle of beats.
Measure 1 has a Kakko roll accelerating the tempo.
The taiko starts to play in measures three and four with the roll of the kakko and the shoko.
In measure 4 the sho and the hichiriki enter (:50).
The sho is play a drone that changes in pitch with the main melody being played by the Ryuteki.
Each flute is playing a different variation of the melody
The phrases consist of multiple parts of two long half notes going into eight notes and eight rests.
Each phrase is 32 beats long
The Biwa enters at 1:10 strengthening the the melody with chords
The Koto enters at 1:31 with three note motives at the beginning of each bar. these motives are all ascending chords.
C. The hyoshi is repeated with the same percussion pattern
The Sho, Ryuteki and the hichiriki are playing heterophony with each of them playing variations of the same melody line.
The texture is thicker than the beginning with the single Ryuteki.
The biwa starts to support the main melody at 1:09 by punctuating each of the first notes of the phrases with thick chords.
the koto starts to plays 3 more of the melody so it is sort of joining in the heterophony.
In the 4th measure the biwa and the koto enter playing some melodic patterns
Hyoshi continues to repeat with the full ensemble.
At 7:55 the flutes continue to play the same heterophonic phrases but the Koto and the Biwa begins to play a coda that wrap up the piece. The coda begins to end at 9:12. The flutes stop playing at 9:30 and the koto is the last instrument to leave. The timbre of the sho gives this piece a very haunting feeling.
The instruments always enter in the same order:
Ryuteki,Kakko and Taiko
Sho and Hitchiriki
Koto completes the orchestra. Analysis Alap-Starts out with the basuri playing the melody and the tampoora playing the tonic of the key behind it. The basuri is playing with a lot of ornamentation of its notes with lots of pitch bending. This part could be improvised.
At 2:13 the Precomposed Piece Begins: The Tampoora continues playing as it has the entire time. The entrance of the Tabla signals the start of the precomposed piece and the basuri is not playing the with as much ornamentation. The timbre is very airy and has a calming effect. The Dayan is playing a complex rhythm composed of mostly eight notes and some sixteenth notes. The bayan is playing strict beats to keep the meter. The melody being played in the basuri is using a 6 note raag. The equivalent in western music would be C,D,D#,G,A,C ascending and C,A,G,D#,D,C descending. The dynamics stay about mp throughout the piece and the range is not very large especially since the basuri is the only instrument that changes pitch at all. the phrases of the melody are mostly long tones before going into phrases with shorter eight note filled phrases. The flute stays playing legato throughout the piece with very well connected notes. Occasionally there is the voice of the drummer saying a brief word (5:14).
At 7:06 The Improvisation starts: The Bayan stops playing the meter strictly and the Dayan plays different rhythmic patterns. The basuri starts to explore its range a lot more also going into the upper register. There are a lot more eight notes being played by the basuri. Extra Links Both songs main melodic instruments were bamboo flutes
Both are small chamber music ensembles
There is a lot ornamentation of the main melodic instruments
There is one drum dedicated to keeping the meter in each genre. In Indian Raga the Bayan keeps the meter while in Gagaku the Shoko keeps the meter.
Both have instruments added to show the progression of the song into the next section. Word Count: 1912
"The International Shakuhachi Society." Recording: Gagaku. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. <http://komuso.com/albums/albums.pl?album=1188>.
"Orchestration (cont.)." Gagaku Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/gagaku/combinations/mixperc.html>.
"Short Introduction to the Correlation between Timbre and Form in Kangen Music." Gagaku: Theory. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/gagaku/theory/form.html>.
"Biwa (musical Instrument)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/67310/biwa>
"Japanese Music : Melodic Principles." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301221/Japanese-music/283256/Melodic-principles>.
"Japanese Music : Function of Drum Patterns." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301221/Japanese-music/283258/Function-of-drum-patterns>.
"Japanese Traditional Music [ History of Japanese Traditional Music ]." Japanese Traditional Music [ History of Japanese Traditional Music ]. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. <http://jtrad.columbia.jp/eng/history.html>. Bibliography Harmony Melody Gagaku Raga Form Gagaku Instrument Entrances Rhythm and Meter Links The timbre of bamboo flutes genres as the main melodic instrument. The Japanese Gagaku uses the Hitchiriki While the Indian Raga uses the Basuri.
Both of these main melodic instruments also come in first which will be explained in further detail in the form section. Indian Raga Japanese Gaganku Links Even though it isn't exactly part of the harmony, the bamboo flute called the sho which plays a variation of the melody, also plays a drone like supporting role to the main melody, played by the hitchiriki, line like the drone of the tampoora. Japanese Gagaku Indian Raga Links In both of these genres there is a percussion instrument that is dedicated to maintaining the meter while there others that are meant to play more complicated rhythm.
The bayan keeps the meter in Raga while the shoko keeps the meter in Gaganku. Links Instrumental entrances are extremely important in the Form. Both of them have a specified order in which instruments come in. The main melodic instrument always enters in a relatively rhythmic free section of the introduction. Each instrumental entrance signals the start of a new section. Gagaku: Etenraku Raga Shivrajani The piece is constructed on a single melody without any improvisation of the main melody lines It marks long phrases of the melody by playing two successive strokes with the first being soft and the second louder. Played with sticks that play either single strokes or short rolls. School Code:003444
Candidate number 003444-003
School Name: The Codrington School the International School of Barbados
Session: May 2012 *You can pan with the mouse down to see the analysis while listening
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