Other Woodwind Instruments

Traditionally, musicians from the gagaku orchestra perform any repertoire from gagaku’s three main bodies of music and dance. A few other woodwind instruments are used in these works, such as: kagurabue and komabue.

Kagurabue

This is a six-holed transverse flute made of bamboo. It is approximately 45 cm long (18 inches). With the exception of the mouth and finger holes, the entire instrument is wrapped in birch or cherry bark, and then lacquered. This flute is used in the accompaniment of kagura-uta.

From bottom to top: Kagurabue, ryûteki, and komabue

Figure 1

Tuning and transposition: The kagurabue sounds one octave higher than written, and it is tuned to an A-430Hz.


Range: This instrument has a range of 2 octaves. The kagurabue does not have an octave-hole, so over-blowing the pitches of the lower octave is the only technique to produce notes an octave higher. The pitches shown in whole notes are playable by opening/closing the instrument’s six holes, while the ones shown in black are produced by half-holing or breath manipulation.

Range of the kagurabue

Figure 2

Komabue

 This is a six-holed transverse flute made of bamboo. It is approximately 37 cm long (14.5 inches). It is used in Komagaku, music that originated from Korea, which is often played as a dance accompaniment. It is very similar to the kagurabue, but it is much thinner, it replaces the latter in the performance of azuma asobi.

 

 

Komabue

Figure 3

 

Tuning and transposition: The komabue sounds one octave higher than written, and it is tuned to an A-430Hz.


Range: Its range slightly exceeds 2 octaves. The pitches shown in Figure 4 in whole notes are playable by opening/closing the instrument’s six holes, and the ones shown in black are produced by half-holing or breath manipulation. Again, over-blowing the pitches of the lower octave produces those of the 2nd and 3rd octaves.

 

KomabueRange.jpg

Range of the komabue

Figure 4