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8 SONGS FROM vol.02 - Ryukyu Archipelago


Here are some songs that originate in the Ryukyu Arc (of which the most famous island is Okinawa). Musically. the old Kingdom of Ryukyu has developed two distinct styles: koten and min'yō. While koten is the court music of pechin class (the equivalent of the feudal Japan samurai class), the min'yō is the folk music.

Traditionally, the min'yō music is played on one or more sanshin (precursor of the Japanese shamisen), various percussion, kutu, or even the Chinese erhu. The ryukyuan music is heterophonic, with only one melodic line played by all instruments. One of the trademarks of the music is that the pentatonic scale which is employed most of the times follows the format 1,3,4,5,7. Half-steps are the main feature of the Okinawan folk music which also gives it its distinct sound.

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