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Hirojoshi scale

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CJY, May 8, 2001.

  1. CJY


    Apr 30, 2001
    Hi,i just want to share a scale which i think sounds great.It is called the hirojoshi scale and the formula is : 1 2 b3 5 b6.So in the key of D it would be D E F A Bb.You can try this over a minor chord or any chord that fits the scale.Have fun sounding Japanese!
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Yeah, this is the 1,2,3,5,6 notes of the relative minor scale(another penta(5)tonic scale) and sounds even nicer when you add the upper octave, ninth and tenth to it.

  3. This is a fun scale. Being half Japanese, and having lived in Japan, I am very familiar with that sound. Whenever you go to a traditional Japanese restaurant in Japan, you can hear it being played on a koto. I think it's interesting that even though all notes in this scale are contained in the Aeolian (natural minor) mode, the lack of 4th and 7th really changes the sound completely.

    Oh my God, I've finally reached my 100th post!!!!!
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    ALexssandro, is a koto what the woman plays in the jazz fusion band "Hiroshima"? She plays a long stringed instrument with supports. The instrument sits on a table. She plays it as she stands, leaningover it. The treble notes seem to be on the right side of the supports and the bass on the same strings, but the left side. She wears a type of pick on her right fingers. Sometimes she rakes the treble strings for a beautiful effect and sometimes she causes a tremolo effect by manipulating the bass strings.
  5. Hey JO, that sounds like a Chinese instrument, but I forget what it's called right now. Also, the instrument I'm referring to is played sitting down.
    Then again, a lot of Japanese & Chinese instruments are similar, so who knows? :)
  6. CJY


    Apr 30, 2001
    I think the instrument might be a chinese zither. Does it have many strings?
  7. Yeah. Somewhere around 20. :p
    Actually, according to my friend it's Chinese name is Yang Qin, but I dunno what it's called in english.
  8. CJY


    Apr 30, 2001
    I'm a half Chinese but i've never really paid attention to chinese traditional music.Maybe i should do some research and listening and add this as an influence.Who knows i may come up with an interesting sound!
  9. JO,

    That sounds like a koto. I've heard the koto being referred to as a Japanese harp. It could be set on a table or on the floor and is played with "claws" which are worn on the fingers. Wow, it seems like you've been exposed to some pretty "exotic" koto playing. I wish I knew more about Japanese music myself. I never really sought out any koto music before. Although the Japanese music scene is dominated by boy and girl bands and there is so much Western influence nowadays, you can still hear traditional music in jingles, movies, cartoons etc everywhere. I guess over the years, the sound of the Hirojoshi scale and the rhythm/articulation has sort of seeped into me that the basics come quite naturally to me. But I would like to seek musicians who have taken it really far because I'm sure there's so much I haven't heard.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Thanks for your answer, Alessandro. When I saw the band Hiroshima play, it was on TV, but the cameraman was excellent and took such good shots of the woman playing the koto, I almost felt like I could play it when the show was over. (Just kidding! I'm not that conceited.)

    Actually, the only Japanese instrument I have seen played "live" is the drum. What I'm talking about are those huge Japanese drums that a group of extremely fit-looking Japanese beat with tremendous energy and forcefullness. I heard some where, that these traditional drum beaters have a discipline much like a martial art. Anyway, when they beat those drums, they mean business. I really enjnoyed seeing that. They were athletic and musical at the same time.


  11. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    You mean Taiko drums? They rawk! :) They sound a lot different in real life than your average General MIDI samples, too.
  12. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Yes, taiko drums are amazing! A few years ago I got to see a touring taiko ensemble perform outdoors at Harvard... amazing!! For some great taiko on CD, check out The Gate by Joji Hirota, on RealWorld Records... Lotsa hirojoshi scale on there too! :)

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