Chidori no Kyoku [Song of Plovers]

千鳥の曲 Chidori no Kyoku [Song of Plovers] –  Yoshizawa Kengyo (1800-1872)

Chidori no Kyoku is one of a set of compositions for voice and the koto entitled Kokin no Kumi, in which a new tuning (and mode) for the koto, called Kokin-choshi, was introduced.  Two waka poems are sung in this piece: the first waka is from the Kokin Waka Shu, a tenth century anthology of court poetry compiled by imperial command.  The second one, sung after the tegoto (instrumental interlude), is from the Kinyo Shu, a twelfth century anthology.


Shionoyama                                        At Shionoyoma

Sashide no iso ni                                 Frequenting the sand spit

Sumu chidori                                       Plovers call out:

Kimi ga miyo woba                              “You, my lord,

Yachiyo tozo naku                               may you live eight thousand years!”


Awajishima                                          At Awaji Island

Kayo chidori no                                 The call of the plovers,

Naku koe ni                                         flying to and fro.

Ikuyo nezamenu                               How often they have awakened

Suma no sekimori                            the guard at Suma Pass