• Nov 14 2015 | 8:00 pm

    The Chicago Koto Group

    $15 – $20
    Traditional Japanese Music
A Small World Series is proud to present:
The Chicago Koto Group

The Koto is a traditional Japanese instrument used today mostly in chamber music. It was introduced into Japan from China around the 6th century as part of the Imperial Court ensemble but quickly moved into the more popular culture. By the 17th century it was widespread within the culture and enjoyed in a chamber setting particularly with voice, Shamisen (a three stringed japanese banjo like instrument), and Shakuhachi (more on these other instruments a bit later).

Also included in the ensemble is a Bass Koto or Jushichigen. It is a 20th century invention created by the Koto master Miyagi Michio in 1921. The wood used for this instrument is the same as that for the regular Koto but is thicker and heavier. There are also extra strings on the Bass Koto, 17 in all (Jushichi means 17). The introduction of this instrument has added a new dimension to the traditional Koto ensemble. Some of the pieces today will be accompanied by the Shakuhachi. The Shakuhachi is an end blown bamboo flute that was also first introduced to Japan with Court music from China (around the same time as the Koto). It was much less popular than the Koto and didn’t, at that time, share the Koto’s widespread reach. Later it was reintroduced into Japanese culture when Zen Buddhism came down from China. Up until the 19th century it remained a meditation tool of the Zen monks. At that time it was incorporated into the traditional Japanese chamber ensemble and also became a popular folk instrument.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. To purchase advance tickets, click here:
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