Sahoogaku - Music of the Left. The body of gagaku music and dances were organized into the Music of the Right and the
Music of the Left in the 9th century. Sahoogaku includes gagaku compositions from China and Southeast
Asia as well as Japanese compositions in those styles. Visually, sahoogaku is associated with the color red,
the mitsu-domoe, and the images of dragons surmounted by the sun. See dadaiko, gagaku, samai,
Sairei-nagado - Also ohayashi-daiko. A style of nagado-daiko that has a longer body than normal (more “cigar shaped”
than round). Used for festivals, and available in a limited range of sizes.
Saku - Hard paper mache caps worn on the fingers and used to strike the Ootsuzumi.
Samai - Dances of the Left. Samai includes dances from China and Southeast Asia as well as Japanese compositions in
that style, and is always accompanied by sahoogaku. Samai generally have slow, elegant movements, which are
based on the melody. Visually, Samai is associated with the color red. See also gagaku, sahoogaku, uhoogaku,
Sambon Ashi-dai - Literally, “Three leg dai”. A low stand that holds a hira-daiko at a slight angle. Used to play the hira
-daiko while seated.
san - equal numeral 3 (three).
Sanko - Also called San no Tsuzumi. A highly decorated hourglass shaped drum used in gagaku. Two heads are stitched
onto rings, which are then laced to the body with a cord (oshirabe). A tensioning cord (koshirabe) is then wound
around the oshirabe. It is played on a low stand using a slender hard wood bachi held in the right hand, although it
was once played by dancers similar to the ikko. Associated with the Music of the Right, it is used instead of the
kakko in the orchestra when Bugaku dances of the right are played. It is similar to, but larger than, the ikko. Also
see Ikko and kakko.
Sanshin - A banjo-like instrument with three strings. Similar to the shamisen, which it inspired. The sanshin is smaller,
played with a pick rather than a plectrum, and is skinned with rock snake rather than cat or dog. Originated in
Okinawa, inspired by an instrument from Tailand. See also jamisen and shamisen.
Seiichi – Master teacher.
Sen - Japanese wood used in making taiko. Softer, less durable and less expensive than keyaki. Used in making kuri-nuki
Sensei – Teacher.
Shaku - Traditional Japanese measure. Each Shaku is subdivided into 10 units called sun; 10 shanku make on jyoo. There
are several different shaku measuring systems depending on the industry or region of Japan. Taiko are measured
using the “kana” shaku system where one shaku is equivalent to 30.3 cm or roughly one foot. Kana is also the
system used for carpentry. “Kujira” shaku are longer, roughly equivalent to 38cm, and this system is not used to
Shakuhachi - A bamboo end-blown flute, with four holes in front and one in back. Takes its name from the standard
instrument size of one shaku, 8 (hachi) sun, although a wide variety of sizes are available. It is known for its
delicate tonal shadings and evocative, breathy sounds.
Shamisen - A banjo-like instrument with three strings. Played with a plectrum or a pick. Often claimed to be the best
instrument to express Japanese sensitivities and feelings. Common on the Japanese main islands, and
developed from the Okinawan sanshin. The shamisen is larger and heavier than the sanshin, and is skinned
with cat or dog. See also sanshin and jamisen.
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