Shakuhachi (尺八)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

Japan’s most iconic wind instrument, the shakuhachi (a root-end, longitudinal bamboo flute) became popular during the Edo period (1615–1868) among the wandering komusō monks of the Fuke sect and was considered more of a tool for meditation than a musical instrument. As shakuhachi music slowly left the confines of religious practice where it was primarily performed solo, it was modified slightly to adapt to the more urban music of Edo (now Tokyo). In order to accommodate ensemble playing, the instrument was elongated which further led to certain technical improvements, creating better balance throughout multiple octaves. The instrument can still be heard today, both solo and accompanied, in modern and classical works.

Shakuhachi  (尺八), Bamboo, Japanese

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