Sakura: Cherry Blossoms.
Warfare Introduction to World Music October 19, 2009 “Sakura Sakura” (??? ??? ), Who is the voice of sakura in japanese? ” Chie Nakamura ” Sakura (??? ) is the name of a traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring, the season of sakura. Contrary to popular belief, the song did not originate from ancient times (as in, not from the Heian period or prior). It was first composed during the Edo period for children learning to play the koto. Originally, the lyrics “Blooming cherry blossoms” were attached to the melody.
The song has been popular since the Meiji period, and the lyrics in their present form were attached then. It is often sung in international settings as a song representative of Japan. Throughout the ages there have been many rearrangements of the song, but Michio Miyagi’s rendition is often regarded to be the best of them all. The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower and has for years appeared in the country’s poetry, paintings, and music, as well as on its craft, clothing, and other commercial items.
From January through June each year, there are numerous cherry blossom festivals held throughout Japan. Not surprisingly, there is even this popular traditional song, Sakura, Sakura (Cherry Blossom, Cherry Blossom), commonly sung to celebrate the national flower. Its melody and text date back nearly to Medieval times, and the song has been popular in Japan since at least the eighteenth century. The melody is simple and well-known to Westerners from various commercial incarnations, even if they recognize it only as some generic far Eastern tune. But it is hardly generic-sounding.
The melody is charming in its sweet melancholy and forlorn sense of innocence. Its rising, opening phrases lead to a gentle but lovely fall, after which sonorities remain mired in lower ranges until the theme is heard again. The text is just as simple, speaking of the fragrance of cherry blossoms and likening their appearance to clouds. Those with an interest in Eastern and far Eastern ethnic music will find this song of strong appeal. ‘Dream of the Cherry Blossoms’ by Keiko Abe, a Japanese virtuoso percussionist, is a 5 minute long piece for marimba based on an mprovisation on the tune of ‘Sakura sakura’, and has become one of the most played pieces in the marimba repertoire. Also, Yukijiro Yokoh, a Japanese classical guitarist made an arrangement for the instrument. Which is, like Keiko Abe’s version, a theme with variations in which he uses different guitar techniques to imitate the sound of the Koto. There are four main kinds of Japanese folk songs (min’yo): work songs, religious songs (such as sato kagura, a form of Shintoist music), songs used for gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and festivals (matsuri, especially Obon), and children’s songs (warabe uta).
In min’yo, singers are typically accompanied by the 3 stringed lute known as the shamisen, taiko drums, and a bamboo flute called shakuhachi. Other instruments that could accompany are a transverse flute known as the shinobue, a bell known as kane, a hand drum called the tsuzumi, and/or a 13 stringed zither known as the koto. In Okinawa, the main instrument is the sanshin. These are traditional Japanese instruments, but modern instrumentation, such as electric guitars and synthesizers is, also used in this day and age, when enka singers cover traditional min’yo songs (Enka being a Japanese music genre all its own… . Terms often heard when speaking about min’yo are ondo, bushi, bon uta, and komori uta. An ondo generally describes any folk song with a distinctive swung 2/2 time rhythm. The typical folk song heard at Obon festival dances will most likely be an ondo. A bushi is a song with a distinctive rhythm. In fact, its very name means “rhythm” or “time,” and describes the ostinato pattern played throughout the song. Bon uta, as the name describes, are songs for Obon, the lantern festival of the dead.
Komori uta are children’s lullabies. Many of these songs include extra stress on certain syllables, as well as pitched shouts (kakegoe). Kakegoe are generally shouts of cheer, but in min’yo they are often included as parts of choruses. There are many kakegoe, though they vary from region to region. In Okinawa Min’yo, for example, one will hear the common “ha iya sasa! ” In mainland Japan, however, one will be more likely to hear “a yoisho! ,” “sate! ,” or “a sore! ” Others are “a donto koi! ” and “dokoisho! ” A guild-based system exists for min’yo; it is called iemoto. Education is passed on in a family, and long apprenticeships are common. On a more personal note this melodies of the Sakura if heard as an instrumental or with lyrics has a profound conjunction of sound for my neural map. The distinct harp, flute, and viola sound is extremley intense for one who has the intrest in a variation of melody this is definatley the one piece you must listen to. I absolutley loved it.