Tosa no Sunayama

This folk song is about a tragic tsunami in 1340AD, which killed over 100,000 people in Northern Japan. Tosa no Sunayama means “Sand Mountain of Tosa”. After the incident, mountains of sand was piled up and the Japanese people would think, “How we wish the mountains of sand were mountains of rice!” Despite the sorrow of the story, it is one of my favorite Japanese folk songs, as it expresses the feeling from that moment in time.

In Part One, we learn the simplified melody without use of special techniques. This is suited best for beginners who are wanting to learn more songs while still getting comfortable with the shamisen.

In Part Two, we kick it up a notch by learning the full version including all the special techniques. The section is best for players who are already comfortable playing melodies and feel ready to add techniques like upstrokes and such.

In Part Three, the emphises moves to adding dynamics and personal feeling to the piece. To help spark your creative side, I offer example of how another well known player adds his creative flavor to the beginning of the song. This section is ideal for those completely comfortable with playing the piece with techniques at full speed, and are ready to take it to the next level.

Finally, I demonstrate Tosa no Sunayama with dynamics preferences.

Adventure starts now!

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