What are the particularities of Japanese music?

The wonders that we find in the world of music are nourished by the different peculiarities of each country. Japanese musical culture is composed of indigenous, Chinese and Western music. These imported musical varieties have been integrated into Japanese practices. Read in the following some specificities of the music of Japan.

The alternation between determined and indeterminate music

When we speak about determined music, we mean western classical music, without forgetting gagaku. These are indeed the most representative forms of Japanese music. We must recognize them through certain elements characterizing them. These are the rhythmic and tempo values, the pitch of the notes.

These notes are fixed at the pitch while the above mentioned values are fixed thanks to an arithmetical temporal unit. As for the indeterminate music, it has its low components less rigorous than for the determined music. The pitch of the notes at this level is fixed at a note that can vary at any time. It resorts to fluctuating sound materials with an impeccable mode of composition.

Indeterminate music cannot be improvised. Moreover, the music of noh is classified in this category. Therefore, it would be inconceivable to say that this category is a primitive form of the first one. Indeed, the alternation between these two categories is not without its drawbacks. Heavy consequences followed from it.

The instrumental and the vocal

The differences within the performers and the genres have nothing to counter the scope of the common features characterizing the vocal technique. We can mention the vibratos (irregular and quite ample), the fluctuation of the sounds, the timbres in gravity. Moreover, specific processes (glissandos in this case) come to reinforce the vocal technique.

Gagaku has a modal harmonic system. The fifths and fourths are superimposed for the balance of this system. To impact the listeners’ sensitivity, the system eliminates all instability factors. Likewise, it seeks to control quite rigorously for a better rhythm with suitable pitches.


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