Kyoto
Japan
FRANCAIS | ENGLISH


Responsable: Martin Nogueira Ramos

École française d'Extrême-Orient
Kitashirakawa bettô-chô 29, Sakyô-ku
606-8276 Kyoto
Japan
Tel: +81 75 701 0882
Fax: +81 75 701 0883
〒606-8276 京都市左京区北白川別当町29 martin.ramos@efeo.net
efeo.kyoto@gmail.com


PRESENTATION
Kyoto Lectures 2018-11
06 NOVEMBER 18
Monkey Business

Differing Approaches to the“Reconstruction” of the Bugaku Piece Somakusha


Speaker: Andrea Giolai
Tuesday, November 6th, 18:00h  


Japanese medieval musical treatises often provide engaging legends concerning the origins of bugaku suites, the graceful dances at the core of the repertory of Japanese“elegant music” (gagaku). One of these “origin stories” concerns a piece called Somakusha: according to Koma no Chikazane's Kyokunsho (1233), legend had it that Prince Shotoku Taishi was once playing the flute while riding on a horse when, suddenly, a mountain god charmed by the melody appeared before him in the shape of a monkey and improvised a dance. The monkey-face mask still used by the dancer could thus be taken as evidence that the bugaku piece is a depiction of this scene. This talk will focus on several contemporary attempts to reconstruct both the “original” melody of Somakusha and the very instrument mentioned in Chikazane’s treatise. Drawing on interviews with gagaku performers, instrument makers and scholars, but also on an analysis of the earliest notations available, the talk will argue that the reconstructions of Somakusha are creative re-inventions of tradition, and that, to quote Richard Taruskin, they reveal a great deal about “the presence of the past and the pastness of the present”.

Andrea Giolai is JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto. In 2017 he received a double PhD degree in Area Studies at Ca'Foscari University of Venice and Leiden University, where he also taught Introduction to Japanese Performing Arts. He has carried out research on gagaku at Kyoto University and at the Research Centre for Japanese Traditional Music of Kyoto City University of Arts. His research interests also include the use of the body in ethnomusicological research; the “reconstruction” of ancient notations and instruments used in Japanese “elegant music”; Japanese Buddhist chanting (shomyo); the shakuhachi fl­ute and its music. Since 2013 he is a member of the gagaku group Nanto gakuso.  

Please note that this lecture will be held at the Kyoto centre of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient
  École Française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
29 Betto-cho Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8276 Japan

Tel. 075-701-0882 E-mail efeo.kyoto@gmail.com  

École Francaise d’Extrême-Orient EFEO

Scuola Italiana di Studi sull'Asia Orientale ISEAS

Co-hosted by Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University

 kyoto lectures