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Awa odori (dance) : instruments


Awa odori is popular dance for bon festival (August 13th-15th). As the name shows, Awa odori is from Awa province, now Tokushipa prefecture.

Nowadays, it is practiced widely throughout Japan. I visited one of Awa odori groupe, Love-Hei-ren in 2012 while their practice, and the day of performance.


The Love-Hei-ren is small Awa-odori groupe mainly consisted by marchants of Heiwa street in Otsuki city, Yamanashi. ren means groupe of dancers.


The instrumental ensemble, instrumentalists, or instruments are called as nari-mono, can be translated as acoustic things.





Nari-mono of Love-Hei-ren are as below; 1 or 2 shinobue (bamboo flute), 1 ōdaiko (vertical-set drum in photo), 1 shime-daiko (horizontally-set drum), and 1 metallic plate attached to woody stick.




Shinobue is transverse flute for Japanese folkloric instrumental ensemble. In Kabuki theatre, it is used to make atmosphere of country side. This is symbolic sound of Japanese folkloric music.


There are various sizes of shinobue and they are numbered. They used size 6 (B flat), called roppon.

Its inside is lacquered. Normally we can play three octaves with this by changing air pressure.




This is called as ōdaiko (big dram), precisely byōuchi-daiko, tack-fixed drum. (The membrane is tacked. So you cannot change pitch.) The drummer beats both sides with wooden stick called bachi.




You see the image of drum sticks and shime-daiko in upper-left side. Contrary to former drum, its membrane is attached by orange rope. You can change the pitch by tightening or loosing the rope. (I add that I have never seen drumer changes the pitch throughout my fieldwork.) It is fixed at the height of drummer's waist, and he uses only one side (upper side of the drum).




Here, you see kane. It is metallic idiophone shaped like a dish. You chime inside dish-like shape with mallet (the hitting part is made from bone, with wooden stick.) This is also typical for folkloric music, especially (according to my impression), Buddhism-related ensemble.







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