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WAGAKKI

 

About

More than one thousand two hundred years, “GAGAKU” has been performed at imperial court without changing its style, ”NOU” has been specific dance performance, and “KABUKI” has been performed from Tokugawa era. Many different Japanese musical instruments had been played an important role at these traditional Japanese performances.

It’s been played without changing its style and not many new instruments made these days. Most of them have been taken over player to player for many hundreds of years.

There are impenetrable world in Japanese traditional instruments as understanding the advanced craftsmanship and its materials that are not easy to find these days. “Wagakki” is not only an instrument to play also our cultural heritage and art work.

“HYAKUNINDO” is fascinated store carries numbers of rare “Wagakki” and fortunately has strong connection to professionals in every kinds of instrument.

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・Noukan(能管) ・Kotsuzumi(小鼓) ・Ohtsuzumi(大鼓)


“Noukan”

A wind instrument that is played in “NOU” and “KABUKI”. They play a rhythmical measure strongly without having melody even a flute structure. It also played as drums in the performance.

About 39cm long and 3cm external diameter, made from soot-colored bamboo. There are seven tone-holes straight in line. Red Japanese lacquer is lacquered several layers inside and outside of the “Noukan”. The joint, mouthpiece and the body without tone-holes are covered with the skin of cherry tree pleated like strings and lacquered with black Japanese lacquer. Between tone-holes and around mouthpiece were shaved using traditional technique.

 

“Nokan” is full of perseverance and forming string, it evolves to make more abundant sound as played more. It shows best ability after a hundred year from the time manufactured. The professional “Noukan” players are playing with a few hundreds years old instrument for their performance.

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“Kotsuzumi”

A drum played in “NOU” and “KABUKI”. Assembled with “Kodoh”the middle slim shape wooden frame and leathers on both end tied up with strings called “Shirabeo”.
Flexible sound and produces different tone color. Holding “Shirabeo” strings with left hand and put on right shoulder, then hit leather with right hand.
“Kodoh” is made from well dried cherry tree, and produced by 40 steps of work. Though the genealogy of artisan is very old back in Muromachi era (14th century), best craftsman appeared at Tokugawa era (17th century) when “NOUGAKU” got popular in public.
“Makie” the gold lacquer decoration is made by special craftsman “Makie-shi”. Valuable and fancy “Makie” was designed in Tokugawa era. There are not much difference in size of “Doh”, 25-26cm long and weight around 450g. Each builder has their family line experience to shave off inside of “Doh”

“Doh”
Craftsman leaves “Kanname”, original mark of engraving knife inside of “Doh”. It usually shows the crantsman's family technique and beauty.

“Kawa”
Horse leather put on both end of “Doh”, about 20cm across in diameter. Traditionally used baby horse leather under saddle area. They wrap bamboo skin on round shaped steel and stitches leather with thread. They are lacquered for use of long time. A good condition “Rou-kawa”, a vintage leather that had played for more than 150 years is very rare and valuing highly. “Kawa” for “Kotsuzumi” needs proper care to keep in certain humidity and player has to prevent for the weather on performance.

“Shirabeo”
Name of a thong to build “Kotsuzumi”. It’s more consume than “Doh” or “Kawa”, but functions in sound and adjustment. Very special technic requires to make the best quality “Shirabeo” in unique strength and flexibility.

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“Ohtsuzumi”

Similar to “Kotsuzumi”, it’s lager and makes very hight note. They also call it “Ohkawa”. It has same structure as “Kotsuzumi”, the difference is the tightness of “Shirabeo”, it ties up very strong. Player holds it with left hand and puts it on left nee, then hits the “Kawa” straight with right hand.

“Doh”
Production technique is same as “Kotsuzumi”, 28-29.5cm long, about 750g. There is “Tsuba” decoration engraving in the middle of “Doh”. They also have “Kanname”, the mark of engraving knife just as “Kotsuzumi”.

“Kawa”
Horse leathers put on both end of “Doh”, about 23cm across in diameter. They are very thick and have no lacquer on. Different from “Kotsuzumi”, have to keep them very dry to create extreme high note. Player puts assembled “Ohtsuzumi” on original stand in front of “Hibachi”, a Japanese heating charcoal brazier, for about two hours before the performance. The performance life is about 10 times because of the severity use. Very interesting matter comparing to “Kotsuzumi” that needs humidity and lasts for hundreds of years.

“Shirabeo”
As same material as “Kotsuzumi”, they use twisted hemp yarn.

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"MAIBATARAKI"   "KAKKO"   "GAKU"
   
         
         
         
 

“HYAKUNINDO”

Traditional Japanese Musical Instrument

 

 


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