Traditional Music

There are several types of traditional, Japanese music (hogaku). Some of the most important ones are listed below:

  • Gagaku:
    Ancient court music from China and Korea. It is the oldest type of Japanese, traditional music.
  • Biwagaku:
    Music played with the Biwa, a kind of guitar with four strings.
  • Nohgaku:
    Music played during Noh performances. It basically consists of a chorus, the Hayashi flute, the Tsuzumi drum, and other instruments.
  • Sokyoku:
    Music played with the Koto, a type of zither with 13 strings. Later also accompanied by Shamisen and Shakuhachi.
  • Shakuhachi:
    Music played with the Shakuhachi, a bamboo flute that is about 55 cm long. The name of the flute is its length expressed in shaku an old Japanese unit of length.
  • Shamisenongaku:
    Music played with the Shamisen, a kind of guitar with only three strings. Kabuki and Bunraku performances are accompanied by the shamisen.
  • Minyo:
    Japanese folk songs.
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Page last updated: June 9, 2002