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Supressing Strangeness February 14, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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I catch myself thinking so many things here are strange, or even wrong, and I am continuously reminding myself that it’s only through my American eyes.

Cars are not driving on the wrong side of the road. Brown sugar jelly tastes a lot better than it looks. Writing does not go in the wrong direction. Electronic toilets are totally normal.

And the sanshin player I saw perform in the hotel lobby tonight is not out of tune. The Okinawan musical scale, to our Western ears, can sound wincingly flat or sharp.

It’s a pentatonic scale based on that of the Chinese, and I’ve heard some pieces that are definitely in gamelan degung scale. It’s the first thing that sets Okinawan music apart from Japanese.

Our diatonically determined brains want to fill in missing notes, but with an open mind and ears it sounds beautiful.

Hear for yourself! I didn’t get this guy’s name, but here’s a clip of his show:

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Comments»

1. Laserbeak - February 16, 2010

Sounded pretty normal to me

2. Melanie - February 19, 2010

That sounded awesome! I love that you’re recording things down there!

3. Melanie - February 19, 2010

PS Why did I say “down there?” You’re not in Australia.


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