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Song And Music In The Traditional Village

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers music life in the traditional countryside. 'Traditional' refers to the situation prior to full integration into a modern national culture characterized by near-universal literacy, access to print and broadcast media, widespread mechanization, ease of travel. Particular villages, and even individuals, attained each of these features at different times. Mechanization of agriculture still proceeds, long having been hindered by the small size of paddy plots, and many elderly people have still never strayed far from their home village. The chapter intends to give the reader a feeling for the nature and context of musical performance in the traditional village, in the days when min'yō were still uta and the professional folk singer was a rara avis. min'yō lyric collections contain very few verses expressing class antagonism or dealing with sex. The antagonistic verses were in fact uncommon but that verses with sexual content were abundant in traditional song.

Keywords: agriculture; min'yō; musical performance; rara avis; traditional village; uta



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