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■ 雅楽とは

その起源は古代シュメール文明ともいわれ、合奏形態で演奏される世界最古の伝統音楽とされています。紀元前2000年 頃から、林邑(南ベトナム)・天竺(インド)・渤海(満州付近)・チベットおよびトルコやペルシャまで、様々な国 の音楽と楽器がシルクロードを経由して中国にもたらされました。その後5世紀前後から仏教とともに日本に伝わり、大宝元年の大宝令によってこれらの音楽とあわせて日本古来の音楽や舞踊を所管する雅楽寮(うたまいのつかさ)が創設されたのが雅楽の始まりであるとされています。雅楽寮創設当初は、400名近い楽師と各国から運ばれてきた様々な楽器と多様な旋律で編成されていましたが、以降永い年月をかけて淘汰され精錬されて現在の雅楽が出来上がりました。







■ 笙について

「匏(ふくべ)」とよばれる木製の漆塗りの器の上面にあけた穴に十七本の竹管を差し込んだもので、その優雅な姿かたちから鳳凰が羽を休めている姿に例えられ「鳳笙」と呼ばれます。 竹管に空けられた穴を押さえ、匏の横側にある吹口より息を吸ったり吐いたりして、竹管の下部にある金属製の簧(した:リード)を振動させて音を出します。 東大寺の正倉院には唐から伝来した当時の姿の楽器が三管保管されており、現存する伝世品としての楽器としては他の収 蔵品の楽器とともに世界最古である。なお、大陸から日本に伝来して笙となったこの楽器は、西方のヨーロッパ圏では金属からなるパイプ・オルガンとなり、笙と同様に神前楽器として演奏されています。 




What is “Gagaku”? (Japanese Imperial Court Music)

Gagaku is said to have its origins in ancient Sumerian civilization and is regarded as the oldest
traditional music in the world to be played in the concert style. From around 2000 B.C. various
types of music and musical instruments from different countries (including South Vietnam, India,
Bo Hai, Tibet, Turkey and Persia) were brought to China via the Silk Road. Together with the
spread of Buddhism, several of the resulting musical styles made their way to the shores of Japan
around the fifth century. Based on the Taiho Code enacted in 701, a government agency known
as “Utamainotsukasa” was set up to supervise Japanese traditional music and dances as well as
music from China. This is thought to be the origin of Gagaku. At the time when Utamainotsukasa
was established, it supervised nearly 400 musicians, various types of musical instruments and various melodies from d!ifferent countries. These were then merged, selected, refined and compiled to form present-day Gagaku.


Gagaku consists of 8 types of musical instruments including the “San-kan” which are wind instruments (Hosho, Ryuteki, HIchiriki), the San-ko which are percussion instruments (Kakko, Shoko, Taiko), and the Ryo-gen which are string instruments (Wakin, Biwa). Gagaku creates a unique spiritual atmosphere by fusing the sounds and melodies of t!hese various musical instruments.

・Hosho : represents light streaming down from the heavens and the cry of the Phoenix

・Ryuteki : represents the dragon crisscrossing the sky between the earth and heaven

・Hichiriki : represents the voices of living creatures reverberating on the ground


About the“Ho-Sho” (Shinto Flute)

The Sho consists of 17 bamboo pipes inserted in the holes on the upper face of the lacquer- coated wooden part called the “Fukube”. Since its elegant figure resembles that of a Phoenix with its wings closed in the high position, it is called “Hosho”, meaning “flute of the Phoenix”. By covering the holes on bamboo pipes with your fingers and breathing in and out through the mouthpiece on the side of the Fukube, the metal reeds called “Shita” in the bottom part of the bamboo pipes vibrate to make a sound. “Shosoin”, the world’s oldest museum at Todaiji Temple in Nara, houses three Sho from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), which are some of the world’s oldest musical instruments in existence. 


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