musica japonica

2015 | at least 6 minutes | harmonium and electronics

“my breath through your feet
air through my lungs your bellows
my tongue is your amp”

musica japonica’s title is an allusion to Franz Philipp von Siebold’s book Flora Japonica – the first documentation of Japanese horticulture for the Western world. musica japonica, like Von Siebold’s book, at first tries to describe the harmony of the Japanese free-reed mouth organ, the shō, in a western, chorale-like setting on the harmonium. Gradually, though, the static language of the shō takes over, the counterpoint devolves into clusters. The quaint chorale gets supplanted by extreme stillness, replete with ‘flatterzunge’-like effects produced by electronics.

It was written for the anniversary of the Dutch Harmonium Society (Harmonium Vereniging Nederland).

Performed by Gonny van der Maten, harmonium