Rokudan

六段の調べ Rokudan no Shrabe (Six Movements) – Composer unknown

Music of Six Steps (Rokudan-no-shirabe) is a representative style of koto music composed by Yatsuhashi Kengyo (Kengyo is an honorary title given to blind koto masters) who died in 1685. Yatsuhashi was an epic figure in the history of the koto, and his compositions have been widely handed down.

Music of Six Steps is an “absolute” music consisting of six sections of 52 beats. Though this piece was originally composed for the koto, it later became fashionable to play it on the shamisen (three-stringed guitar-like instrument). The popularity of Rokudan was such that succeeding composers often adapted the melody.