Obi (帯)

This work was commissioned by and written for Tamami Tono.

Sho - Japanese traditional instrument. This is a mouth organ.

It is a beautiful instrument and I always thought that is the problem.

Anything played on Sho sounds beautiful. All the traditional Sho music sounds pretty much same to my ear (apparently it is very different if you know this sound world. How so, I have no idea).

Another unique part of the Sho is that it cannot play fast. Hence, all Sho music is sustained, rather meditative music. Pitches are also very high. Never low notes.

I thought to myself, I imagine “Obi” will be played in a Sho recital (which means no middle or low sounds for the entire concert!), how can I provide a low pitch in the electronics part. All the sounds in electronics parts are originally the sound of Sho.

I also experimented with Tamami to find out how “allegro” the Sho could play. What could I do, if I wanted her to play fast? This is the fastest it can go.

It has rather meditative feel to it, though I think it sounds vast. Even though all the sounds emanated from the Sho, the actual sound was made by exhaling and inhaling of Tamami’s breath - more natural to human nature than any western classical wind instruments, perhaps.

Dai Fujikura (edited by Alison Phillips)