Sin Musume Dojoji

 I tried to write in English about Japanese traditional Sankyoku song “Sin Musume Dojoji”. “Shin” means “new”, and “Musume Dojoji” is a famous Kabuki performance, derived from Noh's "Dojoji". Dojoji is a temple in Wakayama. In Noh story, a big bell fell on the dancing woman, and she turned into a snake.


It’s one of the famous “jiuta” shamisen tunes, composed in the early 19th century in Kyoto. The title is often abbreviated as “Shin-musume”. I heard the composer is unknown or Kikuoka-Kengyo, written in some books or dictionaries , but lots of Kinkoryu Shakuhachi players believe that Shin-musume was composed by Ishikawa-koto. He also composed “Yaegoromo” which is one of the most popular sankyoku pieces.


This song starts as “Honchoshi”, which is the most standard tuning of Shamisen. Its 1st string is “Ro”, 2nd is “Re”, 3rd is higher “Ro”. In that case, Shakuhachi scale starts on “Re”, and it is also the most standard one for Shakuhachi. “Honchoshi”’s sound is strong and clear.


In the middle of “Mae-uta(It is the first half of the song)”, tuning is turned to “San-sagari”. This tuning’s name means “the 3rd string was lowered” , and its sound is calm and sad. Shakuhachi scale usually starts on “Ri”. This part is an especially attractive phrase, I think. Ikura players(usually living in the west of Japan) sing as “east Japan(includes Tokyo) girls are vulgar”, but in the same point, Yamada players (Tokyo and the east Japan) sing “Kyoto (it is the west of Japan) girls are vulgar”. It's a characteristic and interesting part of this song. Incidentally, this tune is called “Kanegamisaki” in Yamada.


After that, Shamisen turning returns to “Honchoshi” again, and “Tegoto”starts. This section is instrumental. There are some differences between Ikuta and Yamada.


Then, the “Ato-uta” starts. It's the last song in this tune. Beautiful lyrics are sung as flowing. Generally, the song is focused on the tune.


Playing this tune on Shakuhachi is quite difficult. First, it's difficult to listen to songs and Shamisen at the beginning of this tune.
Second, in “Sansagari”, there is a need for expressiveness to complement the song, without standing out. Overall, Shakuhachi players are required to listen to songs. These genre is “Kyofu-Tegotomono”, which was composed in Kyoto. Usually, instrumental music part is often emphasized rather than songs. But “Shin-Musume” requires the Shakuhachi players to think about song expressions.


Special thanks to a kind friend, who taught me how to correct this English article!!

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