Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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3. Buddhist.

The traditional music of Japanese Buddhism comprises primarily chant (and its instrumental accompaniment) for the various liturgies (hōe; alternatively, hōyō). However, one should also include music for dances or dance-dramas on Buddhist themes; songs or ballads with Buddhist content; solo music for end-blown flute; and works on Buddhist themes by modern composers. Japanese Buddhist chant has distinctive tonal structures that were greatly influenced by court music (gagaku) but in turn influenced later secular music, especially for the theatre. It also has distinctive and ancient notation systems (see §III above). An immense wealth of source material has come to light in monastery and other archives; scholarly assimilation of this continues, especially in Japan. A need remains for more detailed historical and analytical comparison with the music of other Buddhist traditions and of other major religions.

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