Integration and opposition of Western and Japanese traditional instruments in Takemitsu’s November Steps




November Steps, Takemitsu, Yōgaku, Japanese traditional instruments, Trans-culturalism


This article examines the combination of Japanese and Western musical traditional instruments in regards to Tōru Takemitsu’s November Steps. The composer brought into an yōgaku (Western music style) composition not only two traditional instruments but also their traditional music, with the intention of creating an opposition of Japanese and Western musical characteristics, and shaping them as irreconcilable forces. In order to give a fair consideration of the matter, it is necessary to know the circumstantial and historical factors that have contributed to the predicaments involved in this pioneer act of incorporation of traditional Japanese aesthetics and culture in the world of musical composition.


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Author Biography

Luigi Antonio Irlandini, University of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Composer, pianista, shakuhachi player, and Music Professor at UDESC in Florianópolis, Brazil, researches musical temporalities and the presence of non-modern contents in contemporary composition. His writings have been published in Perspectives of New Music (U.S.A.), Gaudeamus MuziekWeek (Netherlands), Per Musi, Opus and Vórtex (Brazil) among other venues. Significant recent performances of his music are Axis Mundi, for strings orchestra, Bienal de Música Brasileira Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, 2021, and Ākāśa, for shakuhachi and fixed media (CD Ākāśa and digital platforms in 2019). Irlandini studied composition with H. J. Koellreutter, Franco Donatoni and Brian Ferneyhough.


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How to Cite

Irlandini, Luigi Antonio. 2022. “Integration and Opposition of Western and Japanese Traditional Instruments in Takemitsu’s November Steps”. Per Musi, no. 42 (January):1-15.