Join us for “The Sound of (Japanese) Music,” a series of presentations and demos by four Japanese music ethnomusicologists. Designed to take you to a deeper level of understanding of traditional Japanese music, these presentations expand your knowledge of Japanese history and culture, including modern music innovations. You will learn about the evolving traditions of the koto, shakuhachi, shamisen and the recent development of taiko drumming. Some presentations will be recorded for your use later with your students. All sessions will be held through Zoom. Registration is required: Please register with our co-sponsor, the University of Pittsburgh NCTA.
Koto: Its Music and Musicians, Yesterday and Today
Thursday, May 14, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)
Dr. Anne Prescott, Director, Five College Center for East Asian Studies
Music for the koto is a living, evolving tradition shaped by its past. Explore the history, present and future possibilities of the music and musicians of the koto world. This presentation will also include a brief overview and timeline of traditional Japanese music genres.
The World in a Single Sound - the Shakuhachi, its History, and its Music
Thursday, May 21, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)
Devon Osamu Tipp, PhD Candidate in Music Theory/Composition, University of Pittsburgh
Steeped in the aesthetics of Zen Buddhism, traditional shakuhachi repertoire focuses on the discovery of the world that lies within a single note, a single sound. This presentation will introduce you to the history of shakuhachi, as well as some of the fundamental aesthetic concepts that continue to capture audiences’ hearts and minds.
Strings Revolution: History and Music of Shamisen and Geisha
Thursday, June 11, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)
Dr. Yuko Eguchi Wright, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh
In the mid-1500s, the soundscapes of Japan dramatically changed because of the introduction of a three-stringed instrument—the shamisen. This presentation covers the historical background of shamisen and its music, particularly focusing on the songs practiced among geisha. It includes a demonstration and virtual hands-on session of shamisen songs.
Taiko: Tradition as a Basis for Innovation
Thursday, June 18, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)
Dr. Benjamin Pachter, Executive Director, Japan-America Society of Central Ohio
Taiko can be found in a wide variety of performance venues in modern Japan, from the imperial court to regional festival processions to large concert halls. This presentation will explore the many ways in which taiko are used in Japan today, including the contemporary group performance style that has spread across the world since World War II and integrates a wide range of musical and visual influences.
The programs will be conducted by Zoom. You can sign up for one or all of these presentations. Act 48 for Pennsylvania teachers provided. Certificates of Completion available upon request for teachers who attend all four sessions.