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All About Shamisen

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All About Shamisen

Post  AnaIkimaru on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:53 am

All About Shamisen!

The shamisen is generally thought to be in three main sizes. They are:

• Hosozao (Nagauta Style) Smallest

• Chuzao (Jiuta Style) Medium

• Futozao (Tsugaru Style) Largest

Traditionally, the Hosozao shamisen is used in conjunction with the kouta and kabuki theater styles with the iconic geisha performers. Jiuta is also used in Ochaya as well- the medium size allows for more mellow timbre. One wishing to play both the nagauta and jiuta styles have the good option of switching out their bachi (plectrum) and koma (bridge) to alter the sound.

The Tsugaru shamisen, however, is a relatively modern adaptation of shamisen. A bright, clear tone rings further, its peircing egde making it perfect for Banraku theater, as well as...shamisen rock! This style of shamisen is much more “user friendly” when it comes to merging with other styles of music. The following artists use Tsugaru shamisen to blend and create new with old:

Yoshida Brothers

God of Shamisen



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