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'Sounding' Japanese : traditions of music in Japanese cinema

Binns, Alexander, 1977-


The cinema of Japan, known as nihon eiga [日本映画] is vast and is not easily encapsulated because of the wide range of cultural practices that have informed its identity, including the music it deployed. And yet, it arguably presents a distinctive sound world not merely because of the traditional instruments that are sometimes used but also because of the ways in which the use of music in early Japanese cinema was closely connected to the pre-existing traditions of theatrical music and narration that preceded it and continued alongside it. This brought an already-understood repertoire of musical association and rhetoric that enabled a distinctive aesthetic to emerge and develop. Such a mixture of adherence to traditional practice and a subsequent embracing and adapting of a wider range of musical styles created a musical-cinematic sound which became characteristically Japanese.

Book Type Book Chapter
Journal The Routledge companion to screen music and sound
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781138855342
Keywords Japanese cinema, Nihon eiga, Film music
Publisher URL Full details of the book are available at
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