Core Values In Japanese Music

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This essay aims to showcase the development of Japanese music over 1500 years of history and to examine how Japanese core values can be seen in the country 's music; historic and contemporary. Many core values which are prevalent in Japanese everyday life can also be seen in its music. The essay will examine music from its earliest known introduction into the country from China and Korea, leading up to its current state. Traditional music used to be associated with different social classes, and this is also featured in the text. The relationship between the characteristics of the Japanese people and their music will also be examined. Furthermore, the impact of Japanese music on an international scale will be featured and the music of Japan will…show more content…
During the beginning of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), there was a dramatic change in the way the nation functioned. western influences took hold politically, socially, economically and musically. The earliest version of the national anthem, Kimi ga yo, was performed by a brass band with instruments imported from Britain in 1870 (Wade 2005: 12). The education system was refashioned, based on western models. Japanese music was challenging to include in the curriculum, since every musical genre was associated with a specific social class and setting. Teaching traditional music to children was in most cases inappropriate. At the beginning, there was an "east and west" methodology in teaching to integrate European and Japanese music, but by 1890, this method was completely abolished in favour of only teaching western music. Children learned to play orchestral instruments as part of team and character-building. Japanese children became exposed to western music at a very young age and this way western music became part of their identity. When new foreign styles and fads entered the country, such as jazz and foxtrot during the Taishō Period (1912-1926), the young Japanese generation accepted and embraced the trends with ease. However, in the beginning of the Shōwa Period (1926-1989), there was a strong campaign of nationalism, which was reflected in the music scene. Music in Japan was censored and un-westernised. By 1937, all music apart from Germany and Italy was banned (Wade 2005:…show more content…
In Ireland, the story of traditional music is a little different to that of Japan, but also shares some characteristics. Like gagaku, music arrived from the mainland to an island nation. The Celts are said to have brought their skills and music to Ireland from mainland Europe (Discover Dublin 2015). In stark contrast, traditional Irish musicians do not abide to a strict code or way of playing their instruments. In fact, traditional musicians noticeably perform in a very relaxed fashion. Yet Irish music tends to abide to a strict meter, contrary to gagaku. Gagaku has a very loose and adaptable meter, with musicians focusing on playing in synch with their breathing rather than following a strict tempo. Irish music almost always follows a constant tempo and is ideal as dancing accompaniment. As stated in (Discover Ireland 2015), its main setting were the houses and pubs of rural areas, and music was played mainly to be danced to. Also, Irish traditional music is seen as music of the common people, whereas gagaku is seen as very prestigious and therefore the music of the elite. Irish traditional music is known around the world, but traditional Japanese music and gagaku remains relatively

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