Japanese Language Japanese Vocabulary: «Music»

From Polyglot Club WIKI

< Language‎ | Japanese‎ | Vocabulary
This lesson can still be improved. EDIT IT NOW! & become VIP
Rate this lesson:
(one vote)

Hi Japanese learners!

In this lesson, you will learn some vocabulary and expressions related to music in Japanese.

Good learning! :D

Generalities[edit | edit source]

Music is considered as the universal language that everybody can speak and understand.

Culture, influences, location bring differences but there are not a barrel to share. The emotion can be feel the same no matter who you are, let's your sensibility guides you.

Constitutive elements[edit | edit source]

Depending where you are on the planet Earth, the manner to note the music is not the same everywhere. Althought japanese use european system, there is also a "local" system.

The following table will show some kinds of notation.

England A B C D E F G
Germany A H C D E F G
Japan (kana)
Japan (romaji) HA NI HO HE TO HI RO

* The difference between England and germany is the using of B or H to express the note "SI"

This is the base. But there are some other elements, like mods.

In France, England and Germany each squale has at least 2 mods.

C squale

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C (major)

The ratio is : tone, tone, half-tone, tone, tone, tone, half-tone

C - D - Eb - F - G - A - Bb - C (minor)

The ration is : tone, half-tone, tone, tone, half-tone, tone, tone.

As you can, see there are seven notes is these mods.

But japanese music has 5-note mods.

The most famous are the following.


tone, half-tone, major third, half-tone, major third.

C - Db - F - Gb - Bb - C


half-tone, major third, tone, half-tone, major-third

C - D - Eb - G - Ab - C

The most famous traditional song (Sakura Sakura) is written in this last mod.

WARNING : This is a a transcription in C squale, but the mods can be moved in each other squale

* b added to a not means flat (moll in german)

Instruments[edit | edit source]

The main instruments in japanese traditional music are :

Koto : a kind of horizontal harp

Shamisen : looks like a 3 strings banjo.

Shakuhachi : Long reed-pipe.

"Sakura Sakura" is played by Koto.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Another song with koto. Made by the polyglot music group "Pink Martini"

Photos[edit | edit source]

Last year, in 2016 I've been to "Cite Universitaire Internationale de Paris" on the Music Day (June 21st). At "Maison du Japon" a Koto concert was held by a japanese artist. Here are few files taken by myself.

Score resize.jpg

This is the score of a piece.

Koto and Kimono.JPG

The Koto player and her instrument.


Bricej, Vincent and

Last Lessons

Create a new Lesson