Biwa


Biwa
/bee"wah/, n.
Lake, the largest lake in Japan, on Honshu, near Kyoto. 260 sq. mi. (673 sq. km). Also called Omi.

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 Japanese short-necked lute, distinguished by its graceful, pear-shaped body. The biwa has a shallow, rounded back and silk strings (usually four or five) attached to slender lateral pegs. The instrument is played with a large wedge-shaped plectrum called a bachi. The strings are tuned in fourths, and the melody is played almost exclusively on the highest pitched string.

      The biwa may be used to accompany various types of narrative, as part of a gagaku (court music) ensemble, or as a solo instrument. Although typically it is used to play short standardized phrases between lines of vocal text, it may be used for longer programmatic pieces depicting battles, storms, or other dramatic events. Performers on the instrument frequently pluck two notes simultaneously, producing a variety of intervals, especially when the singer is silent.

      The biwa is related to the Chinese pipa, an instrument that was introduced to Japan in the late 7th century. Over the centuries, several types of biwa were created, each having a certain size plectrum, a specialized purpose, a unique performance technique, and varying numbers of strings and frets. Among the major variants are the gakubiwa (used in court music), the mōsōbiwa (used by Buddhist monks for the chanting of sutras), the heikebiwa (used to chant stories from the Heike monogatori), the chikuzenbiwa (used for an amalgam of narrative types), and the satsumabiwa (used for samurai narratives).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • biwa — [ biwa ] n. m. • av. 1895; mot jap. ♦ Didact. Luth japonais utilisé dans la musique traditionnelle. Des biwas. ● biwa nom masculin (mot japonais) Luth japonais piriforme à plusieurs touches et cordes en soie. biwa [biwa] n. m. ÉTYM. XXe, attesté; …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Biwa —   die, / s, eine mit Plektron gezupfte, birnenförmige japanische Kurzhalslaute mit 4 6 Saiten, abgewinkeltem Wirbelkasten, langen seitenständigen Wirbeln und 2 5 Bünden. Die Biwa, ein Abkömmling der chinesischen Pipa, erklingt als… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Biwa — Biwa, mandolinenartiges, viersaitiges, japanisches Musikinstrument mit vier Bünden, wird mit einem breiten Plektrum (Batsi) gespielt …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Biwa — Biwa, japan. Gitarre [Tafel: Musik I, 19] …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Biwa — er en japansk lut med fire silkestrenge …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Biwa — Infobox Instrument name=Biwa names= classification= *Necked bowl lutes *String instruments range= related= *Angélique (instrument) *Archlute *Balalaika *Barbat (lute) *Bağlama *Biwa *Bouzouki *Charango *Chitarra Italiana *Daguangxian *Đàn tỳ bà… …   Wikipedia

  • Biwa — La biwa (琵琶, biwa?) es un instrumento de música tradicional japonesa que puede describirse como un laúd de mástil corto con trastes y como una variante muy semejante del instrumento tradicional chino denominado pipa. La biwa es el instrumento… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Biwa-ko — Der Biwa See Sonnenaufgang am Biwa See …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Biwa — Gogenbiwa Die Biwa (jap. 琵琶) ist ein klassisches japanisches Musikinstrument, eine vier oder fünfsaitige Laute, die mit einem großen Plektron angeschlagen wird. Sie ist eng mit der chinesischen Pipa Laute verwandt und wurde in früheren Zeiten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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