? The hichiriki ( ) is a double reed Japanese fue (flute) used as one of two main melodic instruments in Japanesegagaku music, the other being the ry teki. The hichiriki is difficult to play, due in part to its double reed configuration. Although a double reed instrument like the oboe, the hichiriki has a cylindrical bore and thus its sound is similar to that of a clarinet. Pitch and ornamentation (most notably bending tones) are controlled largely with the embouchure. The hichiriki is one of the "sacred" instruments and is often heard being played at Shinto weddings in Japan. Its sound is often described as haunting. The hichiriki is the most widely used of all instruments in gagaku and it is used in all forms of music aside from poetry recitation. The hichiriki is derived from the Chinese guan or bili, and is also related to the Korean piri. Notable non-Japanese musicians who have learned to play the hichiriki include Alan Hovhaness, Richard Teitelbaum, and Joseph Celli.


? The ry teki ( , literally "dragon flute") is a Japanese transverse fue made of bamboo. It is used in gagaku, the Shinto classical music associated with Japan's imperial court. The sound of the ry teki is said to represent the dragons which ascend the skies between the heavenly lights (represented by the sh ) and the people of the earth (represented by the hichiriki). The ry teki is one of the three flutes used in gagaku, in particular to play songs of Chinese style. The pitch is lower than that of the komabue and higher than that of the kagurabue. The ry teki is held horizontally, has seven holes, and has a length of 40 centimeters and an inner diameter of 1.3 centimeters. Unlike the western flute, the holes are not covered by the fingertips, rather, the fleshy part of the finger is used. This allows for better control of "half-holing" techniques and chromatic notes, by simply raising the finger slightly above the holes. Since the late 20th century, a few ry teki players have begun to specialize in the performance of new music. One such performer is Takeshi Sasamoto. Lois V Vierk is among the few non-Japanese musicians who have studied the instrument. Ron Korb (zh: , pingyin: Longdi) is a Canadian musician who has studied Ryuteki and incorporated it into his compositions. Hans Werner Henze calls for this instrument for his El Cimarrón.



The sh ( ?) is a Japanese free reed musical instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period (AD 710 to 794). It is modeled on the Chinese sheng, although the sh tends to be smaller in size. It consists of 17 slenderbamboo pipes, each of which is fitted in its base with a metal free reed. Two of the pipes are silent, although research suggests that they were used in some music during the Heian period. The instrument's sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix, and it is for this reason that the two silent pipes of thesh are kept - as an aesthetic element, making two symmetrical "wings." Like the Chinese sheng, the pipes are tuned carefully with a drop of wax. As moisture collected in the sh 's pipes prevents it from sounding, performers can be seen warming the instrument over a small charcoal brazier when they are not playing. The instrument produces sound when the player's breath is inhaled or exhaled, allowing long periods of uninterrupted play. The sh is one of the three primarywoodwind instruments used in gagaku, Japan's imperial court music. Its traditional playing technique in gagaku involves the use of tone clusters called aitake ( ), which move gradually from one to the other, providing accompaniment to the melody. A larger size of sh , called u (derived from the Chinese yu), is little used although some performers, such as Hiromi Yoshida, began to revive it in the late 20th century.


? The komabue ( ) is a transverse fue that is used in traditional Japanese court music. Construction The komabue is typically constructed from bamboo. It is a transverse flute with six finger-holes. It is 36 cm shorter than theryuteki flute. Use The koabue is used in both Gagaku and Komagaku. Historically the Oga family of musicians in Japan specialized in the komabue.


? The shakuhachi ( , pronounced [ ak hat i]) is a Japanese end-blown flute. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but versions now exist in ABS and hardwoods. It was used by the ? monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen ( , blowing meditation). Its soulful sound made it popular in 1980s pop music in the English-speaking world. They are often made in the minor pentatonic scale.


? The biwa ( ) is a Japanese short-necked fretted lute, often used in narrative storytelling. The biwa is the chosen instrument of Benten, goddess of music, eloquence, poetry, and education in Japanese Shinto.


The koto ( ) is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, similar to the Chinese guzheng. The koto is the national instrument of Japan.[1] Koto are about 180 centimetres (71 in) width, and made from kiri wood (Paulownia tomentosa). They have 13 strings that are strung over 13 movable bridges along the width of the instrument. Players can adjust the string pitches by moving these bridges before playing, and use three finger picks (on thumb, index finger, and middle finger) to pluck the strings. The character is often used for koto, but usually, have no bridges. One of the characters for koto, , is also read ass in certain contexts. Though often called by a number of other names, these terms almost always refer to similar, but different instruments, such as the Chinese guzheng ( ) or guqin ( , called kin in Japanese).


Ruan Xian (Chinese: ; pinyin: Ru n Xián; fl. 3rd century), a Chinese scholar who lived during the Six Dynasties period, is one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. He was a skilled player of the Chinese lute, an old version of pipa which has been called ruan after his name since the Tang Dynasty. His achievement in music reached such high as to be described as "divine understanding" in the Book of Jin.


? ? The yamatogoto ( ), also called wagon ( ), is a six- or seven-stringed zither which, unlike the koto and other stringed instruments, is believed to be truly native to Japan, and not imported from mainland Asia. Both names translate literally to "Japanese stringed instrument." According to Shint myth as written in the Kojiki, the yamatogoto played an important role in the origins of Japan itself. In the myth, Amaterasu, goddess of the sun, is insulted by her brother Susano-o no Mikoto and hides in a cave, refusing to emerge. The world is therefore plunged into darkness. Amaterasu is eventually coaxed out of her cave by the goddess Ame no Uzume, who performs a dance outside the cave, to music provided by the twanging of six hunting bows. Amused by the music, and by the entertained sounds of the other gods, Amaterasu leaves the cave and returns to the firmament. The six bows are lashed together to form an instrument, and the first wagon or yamatogoto is born. The instrument's form has changed very little since the eighth century. Similar in shape to the more commonly known koto, the yamatogoto is narrower, as it has fewer strings. Bridges are made from the natural forks of tree branches, particularly maple trees, according to tradition. Unlike many instruments, the yamatogoto'sstrings are not arranged in a scale, from low to high pitch, but in a preset melodic sequence which is played in rhythmic patterns. Another common playing technique involves a quick glissando across all the strings, with all but the last string played immediately muted with the hand, thus allowing only the last string to resonate. Today, the instrument is used only in the Shint ceremonial/court music called gagaku, and even then it is not common. Nevertheless, its central role in Japanese mythology allows it to retain some reverence.


? The kakko (é or ) is a Japanese double-headed drum. One way in which the kakko differs from the regular taiko drum is in the way in which it is made taut. Like the Shime-Daiko and tsuzumi, the skin of the heads are first stretched over metal hoops before they are placed on the body, tying them to each other and tightening them making them taut. Kakko drums are usually laid on their sides on stands so that it can be played with sticks called bachi on both heads. Kakko drums have been used in taiko ensembles, but they are also used in older Japanese court music called gagaku.

The kakko is derived from the Chinese jiegu, a drum popular in China during the Tang Dynasty, as is the Korean galgo.


The fangxiang (also fang xiang, fang hsiang; or in Chinese, pinyin: f ngxi ng) is an ancient Chinese metallophone. The instrument consists of 16 tuned rectangular iron slabs laid in a frame in two rows. The slabs are struck with a hammer and played melodically. Each of the slabs is of the same length and width but they are of graduated thickness, with the thinner slabs producing lower tones and the thicker slabs producing higher tones. In ancient times, the fangxiang was a popular instrument in Chinese court music. It was introduced to Korea, where it is called banghyang (hangul: ; hanja: ) and is still used in the court music of Korea. A similar instrument used in Japan is called the h ky (kanji: ). The fangxiang was used by the American composer Lou Harrison in his Music for Violin with Various Instruments: European, Asian and African (1967, revised 1969). Harrison had taken research trips to Japan and South Korea (1961) and Taiwan (1962).