Duo for Shamisen and Cello
Instrumentation: Japanese shamisen and cello
Duration: 6.5 minutes
Year of Composition: 2019
Premiere: March 2020, Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology-Southwest conference.
Notes: Commissioned by Jittapim (Nan) Yamprai.
The Duo for Shamisen and Violoncello is a composition inspired by both traditional and contemporary Japanese shamisen music. The form of the piece is in three parts and roughly follows the Juita style of shamisen playing, consisting of two outer slow sections encompassing a faster inner section. The musical language makes use of two transpositions of the Japanese “In” scale: one on D, the other on C. Throughout the piece the cello and shamisen trade off roles as accompanist and soloist, and at times even both compete with each other as soloists. I intended with this composition to weave together and integrate not only Eastern and Western instruments, but their musical influence and history as well.
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