Q: What is difference between Kouta and Hauta?
A: Hauta were the songs that were popular among the common people around Edo, during the mid Edo-period, which became the base of Kouta. The sound of the samisen in Hauta is larger and flashier than Kouta, because it is played by using the plectrum instead of plucking the strings by hand, although the actual music is not really very different. In the late Edo-period, after Utazawa-Bushi (Slow tempo compared to Hauta) developed out of Hauta, Kouta was created by a woman named Kiyomoto Oyo, who was a performer in the Kiyomoto style. The characteristic of Kouta is that the base of the song is fast tempo compared to Hauta and Utazawa, and the rhythms are Edo style, fast tempo too, which raised sympathy at that time. This is called Edo Kouta today.
Q: What is difference between Joruri (such as Tokiwazu and Kiyomoto), and Kouta?
A: Think of Joruri as the general term of Samisen Music’s Katarimono, which are songs with a story. The history goes way back to the 15th century. Compared to Joruri, Kouta is Utaimono. Utaimono are songs that include emotions of men and women.
Q: How can you simply explain the attractive point of Kouta?
A: First of all, the song of Kouta is very short. In the short song, class and chic is included expressing people’s emotion which is quite unique from others type of songs. This type of music suits today’s fast tempo living. When you have the chance, please listen to it.
Q: Why isn’t the plectrum used in Samisen for Kouta?
A: In the beginning, Oyou’s Edo-Kouta used the plectrum to play like other Samisen Music. In the mid Meiji-period, the style of playing the Samisen changed from using the plectrum to finger plucking. This is because Kouta was performed not on a stage but as informal entertainment at dinner parties in small receptions halls. Therefore, playing the Samisen with the plectrum at late hours was hesitated. Also at the core, Kouta wanted a differentiation from other styles. The Edo-Kouta’s finger plucking advanced its tone to a soft touch and artistic one, opening a new field.
Q: Are there English Speaking teachers?
Q: Kabuki is played only by male. Can women play Kouta?
A: Yes, of course. Both men and women are welcome.
Q: Is it possible to learn only the Samisen? If so, do I need to bring the Samisen?
A: It is not impossible, but in Samisen music, the balance of the song and Samisen is important, therefore, we recommend you to learn the songs first.
Q: Is it possible to have a group lesson?
A: Basically the general rule is to have a one-to-one lesson. However, at some Culture Centers, there are
places where group lesson are held.
Q: How many lessons are there in a month?
A: It differs by teachers, but it seems that most classes have 4 lessons per month.
Q: How much is the tuition per month?
A: An average tuition starts from about 10,000 yen per month. (When enrolling to a class, an admission fee occurs. Standard admission fee is about one month worth of tuition.)
Q: What happens to the tuition when you miss a class?
A: Think of it as the same as school or other classes. Even if you miss a class, you need to pay tuition. When you are taking a long break, it will be best that you talk to your teacher.
Q: Do you need to wear a Kimono at lessons?
A: There is no dress code during lessons. If you are interested in wearing a kimono, there are opportunities to wear one.
Q: Do you need to sit in seiza formal kneeling position?
A: If you are not used to seiza or you cannot sit in a seiza position, there are other ways to sit, so you should talk to your teacher.