銀河 “Ginga” – Tadao Sawai (1984)

for koto and sangen

“Ginga (The Galaxy) is a piece for koto & shamisen. “Many people call the koto a Japanese harp, but I’m not very fond of that description. However, it is true that the koto produces a sound very similar to the harp because of its construction. I believe that the different musical directions and sounds that are produced by these instruments depend on the individuals who foster the instrument, and it is their daily lifestyle and experiences that affect those sounds. It is like comparing ballet, a dance reminiscent of lightness and flight, and Japanese dance which is more rooted to the earth.  With those things in mind, I intentionally used the koto to create a harp like sound, and paired it with the shamisen, which carries a more folk like sound to draw contrast and bring those two opposing worlds into one piece.” -Tadao Sawai