Posted by: musicnarts | December 14, 2011

Music and Arts of India

Indian Art is the visual art produced on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BC to modern times. To viewers schooled in the Western tradition, Indian art may seem overly ornate and sensuous; appreciation of its refinement comes only gradually, as a rule. Voluptuous feeling is given unusually free expression in Indian culture. A strong sense of design is also characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern as well as in its traditional forms.

The vast scope of the art of India intertwines with the cultural history, religions and philosophies which place art production and patronage in social and cultural contexts.

Indian art can be classified into specific periods each reflecting particular religious, political and cultural developments.

Fresco from Ajanta, c. 450-500


Pair of gold earings 1st Century B.C Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian subcontinent has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery-making, with a history of over 5,000 years.[1] One of the first to start jewellery-making were the peoples of the Indus Valley Civilization. Early jewellery making in China started around the same period, but it became widespread with the spread of Buddhism around 2,000 years ago.

[edit] Temple and Sculpture-art

Apsara, Dancing Celestial 10th Century.

The earliest Indian religion to inspire major artistic monuments was Buddhism. Though there may have been earlier structures in wood that have been transformed into stone structures, there are no physical evidences for these except textual references. Obscurity shrouds the period between the decline of the Harappans and the definite historic period starting with the Mauryas. Soon after the Buddhists initiated the rock-cut caves, Hindus and Jains started to imitate them at Badami, Aihole, Ellora, Salsette, Elephanta, Aurangabad and Mamallapuram.

Indian rock art has continuously evolved, since the first rock cut caves, to suit different purposes, social and religious contexts, and regional differences.It is an excellent art form.

[edit] Bronze Sculpture

Bronze Statue of Nataraja at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Chola period is also remarkable for its sculptures and bronzes.[2] Among the existing specimens in the various museums of the world and in the temples of South India may be seen many fine figures of Siva in various forms, Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, Siva saints and many more.[3]

Chola bronzes were created using the lost wax technique.[4] It is known in artistic terms as “Cire Perdue”. The Sanskrit Shilpa texts call it the Madhu Uchchishtta Vidhana.

[edit] Indian fresco

For more details on this topic, see Cave paintings in India.

The tradition and methods of Indian cliff painting gradually evolved throughout many thousands of years – there are multiple locations found with prehistoric art. The oldest frescoes of historical period have been preserved in Ajanta Caves from 2nd century BC. Despite climatic conditions that tend to work against the survival of older paintings, in total there are known more than 20 locations in India with paintings and traces of former paintings of ancient and early medieval times (up to 8th – 10th century AD).[5] The most significant frescoes of the ancient and early medieval period are Buddhist works in the Ajanta Caves, Bagh Caves, Ellora Caves, Sittanavasal.

The Chola fresco paintings were discovered in 1931 within the circumambulatory passage of the Brihadisvara Temple in India and are the first Chola specimens discovered.

Researchers have discovered the technique used in these frescoes. A smooth batter of limestone mixture is applied over the stones, which took two to three days to set. Within that short span, such large paintings were painted with natural organic pigments.

During the Nayak period the chola paintings were painted over. The Chola frescoes lying underneath have an ardent spirit of saivism is expressed in them. They probably synchronised with the completion of the temple by Rajaraja Cholan the Great.

Kerala mural painting has well preserved fresco or mural or wall painting in temple walls in Pundarikapuram, Ettumanoor and Aymanam and elsewhere.

[edit] Miniature painting

Mughal painting in miniatures on paper developed very quickly in the late 16th century from the combined influence of the existing miniature tradition and artists trained in the Persian miniature tradition imported by the Mughal Emperor‘s court. New ingredients in the style were much greater realism, especially in portraits, and an interest in animals, plants and other aspects of the physical world. Miniatures either illustrated books or were single works for muraqqas or albums of painting and Islamic calligraphy. The style gradually spread in the next two centuries to influence painting on paper in both Muslim and Hindu princely courts, developing into a number of regional styles often called “sub-Mughal”, including Kangra painting and Rajput painting, and finally Company painting, a hybrid watercolour style influenced by European art and largely patronized by the people of the British raj.

[edit] Folk and tribal art

Folk and tribal art in India takes on different manifestations through varied medium such as pottery, painting, metalwork,dhokra art, paper-art, weaving and designing of objects such as jewelry and toys.

Often puranic gods and legends are transformed into contemporary forms and familiar images. Fairs, festivals, and local deities play a vital role in these arts.

It is in art where life and creativity are inseparable. The tribal arts have a unique sensitivity, as the tribal people possess an intense awareness very different from the settled and urbanized people. Their minds are supple and intense with myth, legends, snippets from epic, multitudinous gods born out of dream and fantasy. Their art is an expression of their life and holds their passion and mystery.

Folk art also includes the visual expressions of the wandering nomads. This is the art of people who are exposed to changing landscapes as they travel over the valleys and highlands of India. They carry with them the experiences and memories of different spaces and their art consists of the transient and dynamic pattern of life. The rural, tribal and arts of the nomads constitute the matrix of folk expression.

The Taj Mahal built by the Mughals.

The folk spirit has a tremendous role to play in the development of art and in the overall consciousness of indigenous cultures. The Taj Mahal, the Ajanta and Ellora caves have become world famous. The Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

[edit] Art in the British period

Main article: Indian painting

Tipu’s Tiger, an 18th-century automata in the V&A, London, with the keyboard visible.

British colonial rule had a great impact on Indian art. The old patrons of art became less wealthy and influential, and Western art more ubiquitous. Abanindranath Tagore (1871–1951), referred to as the father of Modern Indian art introduced reworked Asian styles, in alignment with a developing Indian nationalism and pan_Asianism to create a new school of art, which is today known as the Bengal school of art. Other artists of the Tagore family, such as Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) and Gaganendranath Tagore (1867–1938) as well as new artists of the early 20th c such as Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941) were responsible for introducing Avant garde western styles into Indian Art. Many other artists like Jamini Roy and later S.H. Raza took inspiration from folk traditions.

In 1947 India became independent of British rule. A group of six artists – K. H. Ara, S. K. Bakre, H. A. Gade, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza and Francis Newton Souza – founded the Progressive Artist’s Group, to establish new ways of expressing India in the post-colonial era. Though the group was dissolved in 1956, it was profoundly influential in changing the idiom of Indian art. Almost all India’s major artists in the 1950s were associated with the group. Some of those who are well-known today are Bal Chabda, Manishi Dey, V. S. Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar, Tyeb Mehta, Devender Singh, Akbar Padamsee, John Wilkins, Himmat Shah and Manjit Bawa. Present-day Indian art is varied as it had been never before. Among the best-known artists of the newer generation include Sanjay Bhattacharya, Bose Krishnamachari, Narayanan Ramachandran, Geeta Vadhera, Devajyoti Ray, Satish Gupta, Nikhil Bhandari and Bikash Bhattacharya. Another prominent Pakistani modernist was Ismail Gulgee, who after about 1960 adopted an abstract idiom that combines aspects of Islamic calligraphy with an abstract expressionist (or gestural abstractionist) sensibility.

[edit] Contemporary art

Three Girls, by Amrita Sher-Gil, 1935, now at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi

From the 1990s onwards, Indian artists began to increase the forms they used in their work. Painting and sculpture remained important, though in the work of leading artists such as Subodh Gupta,Narayanan Ramachandran, Vivan Sundaram, Jitish Kallat, Jagannath Panda, Atul and Anju Dodiya, Devajyoti Ray, T.V.Santosh, Shreya Chaturvedi, Vagaram Choudhary, Bharti Kher and Thukral and Tagra, Bhupat Dudi, Ranbir Kaleka, they often found radical new directions.Bharti Dayal has chosen to handle the traditional Mithila painting in most contemporary way and created her own style through the exercises of her own imagination , they appear fresh and unusual .

Crucially, however, in a complex time when the number of currents affecting Indian society seemed to multiply, many artists sought out new, more polyvocal and immersive forms of expression. Ranbir Kaleka, Raqs Media Collective have produced compelling contemporary works using such assortments of media forms including video and internet. Narayanan Ramachandran created a new style of painting called Third Eye Series. This development coincided with the emergence of new galleries interested in promoting a wider range of art forms, such as Nature Morte in Delhi and its partner gallery Bose Pacia Gallery (New York and Kolkata) and Sakshi Gallery, Chatterjee and Lal, and Project 88 and kalpa:vraksha in Mumbai. In addition, Talwar Gallery in New Delhi, India and New York, NY, represents a roster of diverse, internationally recognized artists from India and the Diaspora maintaining that the artist is geographically located and not the art ( In the UK, in April 2006, The Noble Sage Art Gallery opened to specialise exclusively in Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani contemporary art. The Noble Sage, rather than looking to the mewar, Mumbai, Delhi and Baroda schools, saw their gallery as an opportunity to platform the South Indian contemporary art scene, particularly the work arising from the Madras School. At the same, ironically, the absence of gallery or white cube support for newer ventures, produced a lot of artists who were connected to the Bangalore art scene(like Surekha’s “Communing With Urban Heroins” (2008) and “Un-Claimed and Other Urban F(r)ictions”, 2010) and those who produced a sense of art-community or art-activism in a certain sense.

Contemporary Indian art takes influence from all over the world. With many Indian artists immigrating to the west, art for some artists has been a form of expression merging their past with their current in western culture. As Shyamal Dutta Ray[citation needed] was concerned about Bengal and village life , new artists like Shreya Chaturvedi feels art should speak for itself. She believes modern art must communicate with the general public, connecting to them and motivating them through some great idea or message behind it.[citation needed]

Also, the increase in the discourse about Indian art, in English as well as vernacular Indian languages, appropriated the way art was perceived in the art schools. Critical approach became rigorous, critics like Geeta Kapur, Shivaji K. Panikkar, Parul Dave Mukherji, R. Siva Kumar, Gayathri Sinha, Anil Kumar H.A and Suresh Jayaram, amongst others, contributed to re-thinking contemporary art practice in India. The last decade or so has also witnessed an increase in Art magazines like Art India (from Bombay), Art & Deal (New Delhi, edited and published by Siddharth Tagore), ‘Art Etc.’ (from Emami Chisel, edited by Amit Mukhopadhyay) complementing the catalogues produced by the respective galleries.

By: Wikipedia the Free encyclopedia.

Indian Music

Music has always occupied a central place in the imagination of Indians. The range of musical phenomenon in India, and indeed the rest of South Asia, extends from simple melodies, commonly encountered among hill tribes, to what is one of the most well- developed “systems” of classical music in the world. Indian music can be described as having been inaugurated with the chanting of Vedic hymns, though it is more than probable that the Indus Valley Civilization was not without its musical culture, of which almost nothing is known. There are references to various string and wind instruments, as well as several kinds of drums and cymbals, in the Vedas. Sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD, the Natyasastra, on Treatise on the Dramatic Arts, was composed by Bharata. This work has ever since exercised an incalculable influence on the development of Indian music, dance, and the performing arts in general.

The term raga, on which Indian music is based, was first discussed at any length in the Brhaddesi, a work from the 10th century attributed to Matanga. In the 13th century, the theorist Sarngadeva, who authored the large work Sangitaratnakara, listed 264 ragas; by this time, the Islamic presence was beginning to be felt in India. Some date the advent of the system of classical Indian music as we now know it to Amir Khusro. Muslim rulers and noblemen freely extended their patronage to music. In the courts of the Mughal emperors, music is said to have flourished, and the composer-musician Tansen was one of the jewels of Akbar’s court. Though songs had traditionally been composed in Sanskrit, by the sixteenth century theywere being composed in the various dialects of Hindi — Braj Bhasa and Bhojpuri among them — as well as Persian and Urdu. The great poet-saints who chose to communicate in the vernacular tongues brought forth a great upheaval in north India and the bhakti or devotional movements they led gained many adherents. The lyrics of Surdas, Tulsidas, and most particularly Kabir and Mirabai would henceforth be set to music, and bhajans, or devotional songs, continue to be immensely popular.

By the sixteenth century, the distinction between North Indian (Hindustani) and South Indian (Carnatic) music was also being more sharply delineated. Though music in the north, owing to the strong Muslim presence, had been more open to outside influences, in the eighteenth century South Indian musicians were to show themselves as being quite adept in adopting foreign instruments. Sometime in the mid-eighteenth century, the violin entered the repertoire of South Indian music, an instrument which in the late twentieth century has a dazzling array of extraordinarily brilliant performers. Classical music, both Hindustani and Carnatic, may be either instrumental or vocal: the connoisseurs of music maintain, as one might expect, that the vocalists represent the music in its greatest glory, but instrumental music has at least just as large a following. Though traditionally this music would have been performed in temples, courts, residences of noblemen and other patrons, and in small gatherings (called baithaks) of music aficionados, today most classical music concerts are held in concert halls.

In the 1960s, classical Indian music entered a new phase. It found adherents in the West, and the sitar of Ravi Shankar was to be heard on the famous Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Ravi Shankar, along with other well-known musicians like the Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, was to make his home in the United States, and for the first time Indian classical music began to acquire Western students. Satyajit Ray, the first Indian director to acquire world fame, and a common name in repertory art cinemas, also brought classical Indian music to the attention of Westerners, for the music of some of his early films was composed by Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan, sometimes described as India’s greatest sitarist. Finally, collaborations ensued between Indians musicians and Western musicians, as in the case of Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin, who collaborated on a number of East-West albums. In recent years, Ravi Shankar has collaborated with the American minimalist composer, Philip Glass, on Passages; there have also been successful collaborations between L. Shankar and L. Subramaniam, both violinists, and Western musicians. This music is now routinely described as fusion. Though a musicians such as Ravi Shankar can scarcely be described as a household name in the West, he is unquestionably one of the most well-known non- Western musicians in the West, and Indian classical music can fairly be described as having carved a niche for itself in the world of concert music.

In India, however, music is most commonly associated with film music. Popular Indian films, whether in Hindi, Tamil, or any of the other Indian languages, are most often described and understood in the West as “musicals”, as they are seldom without songs, though they by no means constitute a genre as did American musicals. Also popular are ghazals, poetic compositions that aspire more than do popular film songs to poetic qualities: the subject here is usually the loss, memory, and remembrance of love. Qawaalis, compositions in which the subject is also love, though here it is understood that it is the love of man and woman for the Divine, have also attained a certain following, and in recent years the Pakistani qawaali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has established a world-wide reputation.




Posted by: musicnarts | December 14, 2011

Music and Arts of the America

Music & Arts is an American record label based in Kensington, California.

Music & Arts is owned and operated by Music and Arts Programs of America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to informal education in the arts, established in California in 1984. The label first issued original digital recordings of classical music along with historical recordings of live performances and broadcasts. Recording premieres of new music by Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, George Crumb, Henry Cowell, David Del Tredici, Lukas Foss, John Harbison, Lou Harrison, Leon Kirchner, Charles Wuorrinen and other 20th century American composers earned Music & Arts international acclaim. Some of these projects were supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, and various private foundations. In 1989 new improv jazz and traditional jazz (presented in original digital recordings as well as reissues) were added to its offerings. The label has released classical co-productions with the Eastman School of Music, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (the central German radio archive), the Austrian radio system ORF 1, the German radio stations NDR, BR, HR, MDR, and DR, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

Music & Arts is distributed in the U.S.A. by Albany Music Distributors, in Australia by Mainly Opera, in Austria by Gramola, in Canada by SRI Canada Ltd, in China by Sunrise Music, in the Czech Republic by Euromusica S.R.O., in Denmark by Danacord, in Germany by Note 1, in Greece by Classical Disc Center, in Hungary by Rozsavolgyi, in Japan by Tobu Land System Co. Ltd., in Korea by C-sharp Media, in Mexico by Vergel Musical, in Poland by Gigi Distribution, in Sweden by Euroton, in Switzerland by Harmonia Mundi – Musicora AG and in France, the Benelux countries, Italy, the U.K. and Norway by Codaex.

The following are some jazz artists who have released new material on Music & Arts: Anthony Braxton, Tim Cobb, Marilyn Crispell, Andrew Cyrille, Joe Fonda, Georg Gräwe, Julius Hemphill, Gerry Hemingway, Larry Ochs, Ivo Perelman, Paul Plimley, John Rapson, Ernst Reijseger, String Trio of New York, Reggie Workman.



This lesson uses music and art in a vocabulary study of unfamiliar words from the song “America the Beautiful,” increasing students’ vocabulary while also increasing their knowledge of U.S. geography. A discussion to activate students’ prior knowledge about sights and scenery throughout the United States is followed by a read-aloud and introduction to the song “America the Beautiful,” which is then sung in each session of the lesson. Students learn the meanings of the song’s words through shared reading and the use of context clues and images. Students then use photographs, illustrations, and descriptive language to create a mural shaped like the United States. Finally, through pictures and words, students reflect on what they have learned. This lesson is appropriate and adaptable for any patriotic event or holiday, and many of the vocabulary strategies are adaptable for other texts or word lists, as well.

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“America the Beautiful” Extended Book List: This book list includes photographic and illustrated picture books based on patriotic songs about America.

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In her introduction to Lively Learning: Using the Arts to Teach the K-8 Curriculum, Linda Crawford describes her personal difficulty in learning geography when she was in elementary school, until one day her teacher gave students the opportunity to present information in any way they chose. Crawford found that the active and tactile experience of creating a paper-mâché map of North America helped her learn and remember the topography of the United States.

Also tapping creative learning strategies to teach content area knowledge, Michael Graves addresses the importance of teaching individual words using strategies such as giving students opportunities to use words more than once and in a variety of ways. In this lesson, students use visual art, music, and multiple vocabulary-related strategies to help them learn vocabulary words that describe many features of the United States. At the same time, they learn one of the most well-known patriotic songs in American culture.

Further Reading

Crawford, Linda. 2004. Lively Learning: Using the Arts to Teach the K-8 Curriculum. Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

By: Read Write Think


Posted by: musicnarts | December 13, 2011

Music and Arts of Korea

Traditional Korean music includes both the folk, vocal, religious and ritual music styles of the Korean people. Korean music, along with arts, painting, and sculpture has been practiced since prehistoric times.[1]

Two distinct musical cultures exist in Korea today: traditional music (Gugak) and Western music (yangak).

See Music of South Korea and Music of North Korea for contemporary Korean music.


Korean music history is divided into three periods: ancient, medieval, and modern. The first period, or the ancient one, dates from the ancient tribal states to the foundation of Goryeo dynasty. The distinguishing characteristics of this period can be found in the development of akkamu (music, songs, and dance) comprising the kamu (singing and dancing) or angmu (music and dance) performed in the worship rites of heaven and earth of the ancient society, the introduction of some instruments from Central Asia during the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-668 AD), and the development of hyangakki (indigenous instruments) in each of the Three Kingdoms. Thus, in southern Manchuria, music and dance developed in worship rites and rituals such as the Yonggo of the Buyeo state, the Dongmaeng of the Goguryeo state, and the Much’on of the Ye tribal state, while in the Samhan, the Kip’ungje provides an example of song and dance in connection with an agricultural ritual. Thus, the religious song and dance tradition of the ancient society of southern Manchuria and Korean peninsula became the root of the indigenous music, hyangak of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla during Three Kingdoms period. The concept of akkamu is also discussed in the music section in the Korean Samguk Sagi. With the rise of royal authority, the advent of Three Kingdoms brought about the creation of royal music institutions to support the cultural life of the royal and aristocratic families, and of palace musicians and dancers specializing in the songs, dances, and instrumental music supported by those institutions. Another historical development and outcome of these trends in the ancient period was the introduction of the music of the Three Kingdoms to the Japanese court of the music of Baekje (Kudaragaku in Japanese), of Goguryeo (Komagaku), and of Silla (Shiragigaku).

Buddhist and shamanistic dancing, and shamanistic drum music are extant, as well as a melodic dance music called sinawi.

Traditional Korean music can be divided into at least four types: courtly, aristocratic, scholarly, and religious.

[edit] Korean Folk music

Korean folk music is varied and complex, but all forms maintain a set of rhythms (called 장단; Changdan) and a loosely defined set of melodic modes.

Because the folk songs of various areas are categorized under Dongbu folk songs, their vocal styles and modes are limited. Therefore, currently scholars are attempting to categorize the Dongbu folk songs further based on different musical features. These songs are mostly simple and bright. Namdo folk songs are those of Jeolla Province and a part of Chungcheong Province. While the folk songs of other regions are mostly musically simple, the folk songs of the Namdo region, where the famous musical genres pansori and sanjo were created, are rich and dramatic. Some Namdo folk songs are used in pansori or developed by professional singers and are included as part of their repertories. Jeju folk songs are sung on the Jeju Island. They are more abundant in number than any other regional folk songs, and approximately 1600 songs are transmitted today. Jeju folk songs are characterized by their simple and unique melodic lines and rich texts.

[edit] Pansori

Pansori is a long vocal and percussive music played by one singer and one drummer. In this traditional art form, sometimes rather misleadingly called ‘Korean Opera’, a narrator may play the parts of all the characters in a story, accompanied by a drummer. The lyrics tell one of five different stories, but is individualized by each performer, often with updated jokes and audience participation. One of the most famous pansori singers is Pak Tongjin (hangul: 박동진).

The National Theatre of Korea provides monthly opportunities to experience traditional Korean narrative songs or pansori.

Where: National Theatre of Korea, Seoul City Hall, South Korea

[edit] Pungmul


Main article: Pungmul

Pungmul is a Korean folk music tradition that is a form of percussion music that includes drumming, dancing, and singing. Most performances are outside, with dozens of players, all in constant motion. Samul Nori, originally the name of a group founded in 1978, has become popular as a genre, even overseas. It is based on Pungmul musical rhythmic patterns and uses the same instruments, but is faster and usually played while sitting down.

[edit] Sanjo

Sanjo is played without a pause in faster tempos. It shifts rhythms and melodic modes during the song. The tempos increases in each movement. The general style of the sanjo is marked by slides in slow movements and rhythmic complexity in faster movements. Sanjo is entirely instrumental music that shifts rhythms and melodic modes during the song. Instruments include the changgo drum set against a melodic instrument, such as the gayageum or ajaeng. Famous practitioners such as Kim Chukp’a, Yi Saenggang and Hwang Byungki.

[edit] Chŏngak

Chŏngak means literally “right (or correct) music”, and its tradition includes both instrumental and vocal music, which were cultivated mainly by the upper-class literati of the Joseon society. The Yongsan hoesang is the main repertoire of instrumental chongak tradition and the most representative chamber ensemble of Korea. The title is derived from a Korean Buddhist chang with the short text ‘Yongsan hoesang pulbosal,’ which literally means “Buddha and Bodhisattvas meet at the Spirit Vulture Peak.” The Korean Buddhist music with the texts notated in the fifteenth-century manuscript Taeak Hubo was a vocal work accompanied by an orchestra.

[edit] Nongak

Nongak, means “farmers’ music” and represents an important musical genre which has been developed mainly by peasants in the agricultural society of Korea. The farmers’ music is performed typically in an open area of the village. The organization of nongak varies according to locality and performing groups, and today there are a great number of regional styles.

[edit] Shinawi

Shinawi, means in broadest sense, the shamanistic music of Korea which is performed during a Korean shaman’s ritual dance performance to console and to entertain deities. In this sense of word, the term is almost identical with another term, shinbanggok (lit. ‘spirit chamber music’), which indicated general shamanistic music performed at a folk religious ceremony known as kut.

[edit] Salp’uri

Salpuri is a dance for soul cleansing and literally means : “to wash away bad ghosts”. Salpuri’s modern movements represent the shown human hopes and aspirations.[2]

[edit] Court/Ritual music

Korean court music preserved to date can be traced to the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392. It is now rare, except for government-sponsored organizations like The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts.

There are three types of court music.

One is called Aak, and is an imported form of Chinese ritual music, and another is a pure Korean form called Hyang-ak; the last is a combination of Korean and Chinese influences, and is called Dang-ak.

[edit] Aak

Aak was brought to Korea in 1116 and was very popular for a time before dying out. It was revived in 1430, based on a reconstruction of older melodies. The music is now highly specialized and uses just two different surviving melodies. Aak is played only at certain very rare concerts, such as the Sacrifice to Confucius in Seoul.

[edit] Dang-ak

Modern dangak, like aak, is rarely practiced. Only two short pieces are known; they are Springtime in Luoyang and Pacing the Void.

[edit] Hyang-ak

By far the most extant form of Korean court music today, hyangak includes a sort of oboe, which is a small bassoon, called a piri and various kinds of stringed instruments.

[edit] Aristocratic chamber music

Originally designed for upper-class rulers, to be enjoyed informally, chongak is often entirely instrumental, usually an ensemble playing one of nine suites that are collectively called Yongsan Hwesang. Vocals are mainly sung in a style called kagok, which is for mixed male and female singers and is accompanied by a variety of instruments.

[edit] Traditional instruments

Bells and Piri.

Traditional Korean instruments can be broadly divided into three groups: string, wind and percussion instruments.

The gayageum (12-string zither) and geomungo (six-string plucked zither) are part of the string fold instruments. The haegum (two-string vertical fiddle) and the ajaeng (seven-string zither) is part of the string T’ang. Court string music also included use of the seven-string zither and the 25-string zither.

The daegeum (large transverse flute), piri (cylindrical oboe) and grass flute are all called wind folk. Wind T’ang includes the Chinese oboe, vertical flute and hojok or taepyongso (shawm). The saenghwang (mouth organ), panpipes, hun (ocarina), flute with mouthpiece, danso (small-notch vertical flute), and flute are wind court instruments.

Percussion folk instruments include jing (large hanging gong), kkwaenggwari (hand-held gong), buk (barrel drum), janggu (hourglass drum). The bak (clapper) and the janggu (hourglass drum) are the percussion T’ang instruments. Percussion court includes the pyeongjong (bronze bells), pyeongyeong (stone chimes), chuk (square wooden box with mallet)and eo (tiger-shaped scraper).



Posted by: musicnarts | December 5, 2011

Music and Arts of Japan

The music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji 音 (“on” sound) with the kanji 楽 (“gaku” funcomfort).[1] Japan is the second largest music market in the world, behind the United States,[2] and most of the market is dominated by Japanese artists.[citation needed]

Local music often appears at karaoke venues, which is on lease from the record labels. Traditional Japanese music has no specific beat[clarification needed], and is calm. In 1873, a British traveler claimed that Japanese music, “exasperate[s] beyond all endurance the European breast.”[3]

Biwa hōshi, Heike biwa, mōsō, and goze

The biwa (琵琶), a form of short-necked lute, was played by a group of itinerant performers (biwa hōshi) (琵琶法師) who used it to accompany stories.[citation needed] The most famous of these stories isThe Tale of the Heike, a 12th century history of the triumph of the Minamoto clan over the Taira[citation needed]. Biwa hōshi began organizing themselves into a guild-like association (tōdō) for visually impaired men as early as the thirteenth century. This guild eventually controlled a large portion of the musical culture of Japan.[citation needed]

In addition, numerous smaller groups of itinerant blind musicians were formed especially in the Kyushu area[citation needed]. These musicians, known as mōsō (盲僧 blind monk) toured their local areas and performed a variety of religious and semi-religious texts to purify households and bring about good health and good luck. They also maintained a repertory of secular genres. The biwa that they played was considerably smaller than the Heike biwa (平家琵琶) played by the biwa hōshi.[citation needed]

Lafcadio Hearn related in his book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things “Mimi-nashi Hoichi” (Hoichi the Earless), a Japanese ghost story about a blind biwa hōshi who performs “The Tale of the Heike

Blind women, known as goze (瞽女), also toured the land since the medieval era, singing songs and playing accompanying music on a lap drum.[citation needed] From the seventeenth century they often played the koto or the shamisen. Goze organizations sprung up throughout the land, and existed until recently in what is today Niigata prefecture.[citation needed]


The taiko is a Japanese drum that comes in various sizes and is used to play a variety of musical genres.[citation needed] It has become particularly popular in recent years as the central instrument of percussion ensembles whose repertory is based on a variety of folk and festival music of the past. Such taiko music is played by large drum ensembles called kumi-daiko. Its origins are uncertain, but can be stretched out as far back as the 7th centuries, when a clay figure of a drummer indicates its existence. China influences followed, but the instrument and its music remained uniquely Japanese.[4] Taiko drums during this period were used during battle to intimidate the enemy and to communicate commands. Taiko continue to be used in the religious music of Buddhism andShintō. In the past players were holy men, who played only at special occasions and in small groups, but in time secular men (rarely women) also played the taiko in semi-religious festivals such as the bon dance.

Modern ensemble taiko is said to have been invented by Daihachi Oguchi in 1951[citation needed]. A jazz drummer, Oguchi incorporated his musical background into large ensembles, which he had also designed. His energetic style made his group popular throughout Japan, and made the Hokuriku region a center for taiko music. Musicians to arise from this wave of popularity included Sukeroku Daiko and his bandmate Seido Kobayashi. 1969 saw a group calledZa Ondekoza founded by Tagayasu Den; Za Ondekoza gathered together young performers who innovated a new roots revival version of taiko, which was used as a way of life in communal lifestyles. During the 1970s, the Japanese government allocated funds to preserve Japanese culture, and many community taiko groups were formed. Later in the century, taiko groups spread across the world, especially to the United States. The video game Taiko Drum Master is based around taiko. One example of a modern Taiko band is Gocoo.



Posted by: musicnarts | December 5, 2011

Music and Art of China

China provides some of the earliest traces of music making. These are mainly in the form of well-preserved musical instruments, the tangible evidence of music. Over several millennia, musical instruments from regional indigenous traditions as well as from India and Central and West Asia were assimilated into the mainstream of Chinese music. Some of the most ancient instruments have been retained, transformed, or revived throughout the ages and many are in common use even today, testifying to a living legacy of a durable art. This legacy is frequently celebrated in the visual arts of China, documenting rituals and celebrations, or as status symbols of those whose lives were enhanced by the resonate sounds of instruments made from hide, clay, metal, stone, gourd, wood, silk, and bamboo.

 Archaeological Evidence of Musical Instruments
Eight thousand years ago, people in central China delighted to the airy timber of tonally precise flutes. Made from the wing bones of red-crowned cranes, these remarkable Neolithic end-blown flutes, the world’s oldest playable instruments, are witnesses to a dynamic musical tradition that was astonishingly sophisticated both acoustically and musically. Unearthed in Jiahu, Henan Province, in 1986 and preserved in the Henan Provincial Museum, Zhengzhou, the flutes, known as gudi, possess five to eight perfectly spaced and fastidiously drilled fingerholes. These rare instruments clearly document the maker’s hand in applying acoustic accuracy in the service of music. It is believed that the flutes played a role in ritual as music was often connected to cosmology and the stability of the state.

In the period between 3,500 and 2,000 years ago, Chinese rulers constructed elaborate tombs containing weapons, vessels, and remains of servants and, in some cases, full ensembles of musical instruments such as stone chimes (known today as qing), ovoid clay ocarinas (xun,2005.14), and drums. In addition to these instruments, Shang-dynasty finds (ca. 1600–ca. 1066 B.C.) include beautifully decorated dual-toned bronze bells with and without clappers (ling and nao49.136.10), barrel-shaped drums (gu), and bronze drums. Hints as to the use of these instruments were inscribed on small pieces of bone (oracle bones) dating from the fourteenth to the twelfth century B.C. These pictographs make reference to ritual dance and music and those depicting instruments are easily equated with modern Chinese characters.

Posted by: musicnarts | December 5, 2011

Music and Arts of the Philippines

Filipino Music and Art, both from cultures that have immigrated to this country have been affected. The first type of music that was developed in the Philippines, indigenous music brought here by native tribes that migrated from Taiwan. There are three basic groups of indigenous music styles: Southern styles, the styles of the North and other styles. The southern style of music usually consists of five different instruments, including the kulintang, the Agung and the gangdinagan dabakanbabedil. The styles of the northern indigenous music reflecting Asian gong music. Their music usually offers the gong called unbossed gangs. In addition to the tools of musical styles of the South and the North uses the other instruments in the Philippines are using the log drums, flutes, stringed instruments and bamboo Kudyapi.

Hispanic cultures in Spain and Mexico have greatly influenced the development of Filipino music. These cultures have musical forms like the Harana and Kundiman introducedRondalla. Most of these forms of music as a result of the merger between the styles of tribal music and traditional Spanish and Mexican music developed. Today, the influence of Spain and Mexico is still in modern Philippine music. modern popular music in the Philippines and a Spanish flavor.

Philippine art has its roots in indigenous traditions and colonial imports. Like most cultures, the Philippines, his own style of visual arts such as painting and sculpture. You can alsohas its own style of movement arts such as dance. Some of the most important artists from the Philippines, Fernando Amorsolo, David Cortes Medalla, Nunelucio Alvardao, Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, Rey Paz Contreras.

Traditional Music in the Philippines, like the traditional music of other countries, reflects the life of common folk, mainly living in rural areas rather than urban ones. Like its counterparts in Asia, a lot of traditional songs from the Philippines have a strong connection with nature. However, much of it employs the diatonic scale rather than the more famous pentatonic scale.

A Blending of East and West

Like the culture of the country itself, traditional Philippine music is a melting pot of the country’s historic past. Philippine Traditional Music is influenced by all the music that was ever brought there, so it may sometimes sound ‘European’, ‘Indian’, or even ‘Chinese’.

Like the people who use it, Traditional Music in the Philippines is either Western or non-Western. And while having more subdivisions, each form will surely reflect the culture of a specific group.Examples of popular Filipino folk songs in Tagalog: Bahay Kubo, Sitsiritsit Alibangbang, Leron Leron Sinta, Paruparong Bukid, Magtanim ay Di Biro, Lulay, Aking Bituin etc.

[edit] Vocal Music

Vocal music to be the most important form of music found in every ethnic group in the country. Although there is some music intended for dance, the best form of preserved traditional music is those intended for the voice.Though not known they use instruments to make it seem like vocal music at times. Regarded to have a wide range, as most of them stretch more than an octave, they are still considered singable even for an average singer.

[edit] Mobility

Borromeo also noted that one interesting feature of Western-Inspired traditional music is that a tune is not bound to a particular language or dialect. One must remember that the Philippines is an archipelago and the use of Filipino as a national language is just very recent. Thus, Filipinos did not have a unifying language during the time of the Spaniards.

Yet, the tune used for the Tagalog ‘Magtanim ay Di Biro’ is also used for the Kapampangan ‘Deting Tanaman Pale’ and the Gaddang ‘So Payao’. Just to give the reader a clear difference between these languages, Tagalog is related to Kapampangan in the same way that English is related to German. On the other hand, Tagalog is related to Gaddang in the same way English is related to Nordic languages.

Other examples of this tune sharing are the Visayan ‘Ako Ining Kailu’, the Ibanag ‘Melogo Ti Aya’ and the Kapampangan ‘Ing Manai’. One can also notice the same with the Bicolano.

[edit] Language used in traditional vocal music

It is interesting to note that although 90% of the 80 million Filipinos claim varying proficiency in the English language, no song was ever found out to have it as the original text. Only those traditional songs used by the Catholic Church, which probably entered the country through America, used English. And these body of songs were more associated with the church rather than the country. The largest body of songs are those using the various vernacular languages, especially the eight major languages in the country.

Most of the collected traditional songs have a translation in Filipino, the national language, but most scholars tend to ignore its existence.

Songs from the various minority languages rank second while those in Spanish ranks third. Though the Spanish used in the Philippines is generally called Chavacano, it is intelligible to anyone who can understand Castilian. The most famous songs in this classification are perhaps ‘No Te Vayas de Zamboanga’ and ‘Viva! Señor Sto. Nino’.

[edit] Dance music

After Vocal music, Dance music is the next most important form of Traditional Philippine Music. As mentioned above, the best form of preserved music are those with lyrics, this is also true for those music intended to accompany a dance. According to Francisca Reyes-Aquino, known for her voluminous collection of folk dances, the folks watching the dance sing the songs in the same way that cheerers chant in a game. This is very evident especially in songs where interjections ‘Ay!’, ‘Aruy-Aruy!’, ‘Uy!’ and ‘Hmp!’ are present.

Music falling under this type may be classified as those belonging to the Christianised Groups, Muslim Groups, and the other Ethnic Groups.

[edit] Dance Music from Christianised Groups

As Christianity came to the Philippines through its Western conquerors, Dance Music classified as belonging to the Christianised Groups are somewhat related to Western music as well. Dance Music falling under this category may also be called Habanera, Jota, Fandango, Polka, Curacha, etc. and has the same characteristics as each namesakes in the Western Hemisphere.

However, there are also indigenous forms like the ‘Balitao’, ‘Tinikling’ and ‘Cariñosa’. In a study made by the National Artist for Music Dr. Antonio Molina, the Balitao, famous in the Tagalog and the Visayan regions employ a 3/4 time signature that employs a ‘crotchetquaverquavercrotchet‘ beat. Others employ the ‘crotchetminim‘ scheme, while others use the ‘dotted quaversemiquavercrotchetquaverquaver‘ scheme.

This type of music is generally recreational and, like traditional music from the West, is used for socialising.

[edit] Dance Music from Muslim Groups

The court and folk dance music of the Muslim-Filipino groups have somewhat preserved the ancient Southeast Asian musical instruments, modes and repertoires lost to the islands further north which were colonized by Spain. It is important to note here that orthodox Islam does not condone musical entertainment, and thus the musical genres among the Muslim Filipinos cannot be considered “Islamic”.

Genres shares characteristics with other Southeast-Asian Court and Folk musics: Indonesian Gamelan, Thai Piphat, Malay Caklempong, Okinawan Min’yō and to a lesser extent, through cultural transference through the rest of Southeast Asia, is comparable even to the music of the remote Indian Sub-Continent.

Generally, music falling under this category tells a story. An example is the Singkil, which relates a story from the ancient Indian saga, the Ramayana (other examples of narration dance from the Ramayana are seen in other Southeast Asian nations see). The Singkil is considered the most famous in the Philippines under this category for its perceived elegance, and is also performed by Filipinos from other ethnic groups throughout the country. The Singkil recounts the story of Sita (known locally as Putri Gandingan) as she was saved by Rama (Rajahmuda Bantugan) from the clashing rocks. Only, for the purposes of the dance, the rocks are changed into bamboos.

Music is related in wars in some regions in the country.In fact it is the way of the commander on that particular region to show the emotions of winning or losing in wars.Philippine music also depends on the biographical factors.In cold regions,the beat of the music is so slow due to the temperature they encounter for example BAGUIO.And in some hot regions it is so fast.

[edit] Dance Music from Indigenous Groups

Like the secular songs from the same group, this form of music has a ‘beat’ even though it is hard to put it in a form of time signature. Percussions are mainly used for these type of music and sometimes, a gong is enough.

As closeness to Nature is a main feature of these ethnic groups, one can expect that dance steps falling under this category are a mimicry of the movements of plants and animals of a certain locality. Some music is simply called the ‘Monkey Dance’ or the ‘Robin Dance’ for identification.

Some of the music falling under this category is ritual music: thus there are dances used for marriage, worship, and even for preparation for a war.

[edit] Popularity

Unlike folk music in Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the neighboring Malaysia, traditional music in the Philippines never reached national popularity. Perhaps, it is partly due to the fact every region of the Philippines has its own language.

Though some groups tried to collect songs from the different ethnolinguistic groups, none has so far succeeded in making traditional music a part of the national identity, much more a national symbol. It is rarely taught in Elementary school, as in Ireland, aside from Children’s songs. This results in a mentality that traditional songs are children’s songs.

The decline was accelerated with the entry of television, making popular culture from Europe and the United States easily accessible to a common Filipino. Though most Europeans would say that Filipinos are music-loving people, traditional music is always at risk of being left in oblivion.

[edit] Attempts to Collect

Attempts have been made to collect and preserve Traditional Philippine Music but most of them focus only on the Vocal form. Under the 400 years of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, no collection of the traditional music was ever made. There are however studies made regarding this subject in the late 19th Century, when the Romanticists of Europe began to find the value of folk songs.

Even during the American occupation of the Philippines, attempts to collect traditional music came rather late. Perhaps the first collection was done in 1919 by Fr. Morice Vanoverberg, which is focused on the traditional music of the Lepanto Igorots of the North. Unfortunately, only the words and not the tunes are included in the collection.

The collection entitled ‘Filipino Folk Songs’ by Emilia Cavan is considered to be the earliest collection with tunes, published in 1942. Perhaps, the most important collection of Folk Songs is the ‘Philippine Progressive Music Series’ by Norberto Romualdez published in the late 1920s.

Unfortunately, the collectors who worked with Romualdez did not present the songs in their original languages but rather translated them into English and Filipino. This collection also included some songs aimed to promote National Identity, like the National Anthem of the Philippines, the Philippines Our Native Land and even Philippines the Beautiful and adaptation of America the Beautiful. The collection also included some folk songs from other countries.

For a period of time, Romualdez’ collection became the textbook for teaching music in the Primary School. It also ensured that folk tunes from every part of the country is preserved and will be passed to the next generation of Filipinos. Until now, this collection remains to be the most important collection of traditional music from the Philippines, since a copy of it is still available in major Municipal and Provincial Libraries in the country.

Other collections like the ‘Filipino Folk Songs’ by Emilia Reysio-Cruz caters to the so- called ‘Eight Major Languages’ of the country and according to some, the collection is the best representation of the songs from these ethnolinguistic groups.

Dr. Jose Maceda, former chairman of the Department of Asian Music Research of the College of Music of the University of the Philippines, also did some collection which began in 1953 and lasted until 1972. This was followed by collections from his students as well.

During the last years of the 20th Century until the early 21st Century, Raul Sunico, Dean of the Conservatory of Music of the University of Santo Tomas, published his own collection. He began with publishing a collection of lullabies, followed by love songs, then by work songs. Finally, he published a collection of songs about Filipino women, a major topic of traditional songs from all the ethnolinguistic groups. All these collections were arranged for the piano and the words are given in their original languages. A translation is also supplied, not to mention a brief backgrounder about the culture of the specific ethnic groups.