Orality and literacy in the transmission of Japanese Tōgaku: Its past and present

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Abstract

Transmission of music is never carried out solely through writing; rather it occurs through both oral and written traditions. Tōgaku, a repertory of entertainment music imported to Japan from China between the seventh and the ninth centuries AD, was initially transmitted with a great reliance on the written tradition. However, during the course of its historical development, there was a gradual increase in the reliance on oral transmission. This paper studies changes in the oral and written traditions of tōgaku in Japan by investigating the notations and mnemonic devices used to resemble the melodies during the learning process. Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-56
JournalEthnomusicology Forum
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

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literacy
present
music
Japan
historical development
entertainment
learning process
China
Literacy
Orality
Reliance
Music
Entertainment
Melody
Repertory
Learning Process
Mnemonic Devices
Notation
9th Century

Citation

Ng, K.-W. (2011). Orality and literacy in the transmission of Japanese Tōgaku: Its past and present. Ethnomusicology Forum, 20(1), 33-56. doi: 10.1080/17411912.2011.549359

Keywords

  • Tōgaku
  • Shōga
  • Notation
  • Oral transmission
  • Mnemonic device