Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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(iv) Notation.

The notation for the first end-blown flute used in the Japanese court music ensemble is not known. However, in 1664 a book entitled Shichiku shoshin-shū gave a system of hitoyogiri notation of 13 syllable-characters, each representing a different fingering. This system was successively altered by the Meian, Kinko and Tozan schools. The pitch-determining characters in shakuhachi notation are stylized versions of katakana, one of the Japanese syllabaries. They are written in customary Japanese fashion, in vertical columns from right to left. High and low registers and rhythmic indications are also included in the notation, as is the text in the case of songs.

Rhythmic detail remains largely minimal in notations for the free-rhythm honkyoku of the Kinko school, but the more metrical style of most Tozan honkyoku led to a much more precise rhythmic notation. Gaikyoku of all schools are notated comparatively precisely, with vertical lines corresponding to the horizontal ones of the Galin-Paris-Chevé system (see §VI, 3, and fig.24 below).

Japan, §II, 5: Instruments and instrumental genres, Shakuhachi.

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