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Title: Taming the Reciting Voice: 'Satsumabiwa' Text-scores and their Roles in Transmission and Performance
Contributor(s): de Ferranti, Hugh  (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: In the history of Japanese music, in which the great majority of genres involve song or melodic recitation, there have been few attempts to precisely represent the vocal element in graphic form. Notations that specify instrumental performance in minute detail abound, but with the exception of 'shōmyō' (Buddhist chant) and the vocal repertories of 'gagaku' (ensemble music of the Imperial court and some high ecclesiastical institutions), most inscriptions of the vocal part take the form of text-scores, that is, inscriptions of text with some associated shorthand symbols for musical patterns. In the 'katarimono' (narrative recitation) traditions, the quantity and specificity of the symbols written beside the columns of text vary with each genre, and moreover, reflect the particular and historically contingent norms of transmission and performance that have had a bearing on the uses to which text-scores are put. While it would seem logical for there to be a correlation between the quantity and kinds of musical representation of the vocal line and the degree of freedom afforded performers to make each rendition musically different, the existence of highly specific text-scores should by no means always be taken as evidence that a performance tradition placed strong constraints on the reciting voice, and that the text-score itself therefore held the status of a 'daihon' (a score memorised or used in performance). Any text-score must be considered as a document produced by an individual performer-teacher, and the representative status of the notational record therein can only be assessed in light of other evidence about the circumstances of the document’s production and circulation among performers of the tradition in question.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Context: Journal of Music Research, v.31, p. 137-149
Publisher: University of Melbourne
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1038-4006
Field of Research (FOR): 190407 Music Performance
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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