Rei MUNAKATA: Tsutsu (2015) for voice, violin, and guitar

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Rei Munakata Tsutsu (2015) for voice, violin, and guitar

Introduction Tsutsu (2015 for voice, violin, and guitar is composed for Maki Ota (voice), Takao Hyakutome (violin), and Gaku Yamada (guitar). First performance: February 10th, 2015 in Gotanda Culture Center, Tokyo.


Voice (female)

Originally written for female voice with good sounding low register. The part can be performed by male voice with octave adjustment when necessary. [Paper tube]:

A tube with ca. 5 cm diameter made of cardboard or normal A3 paper rolled in a shape of a cylinder. Place very close to the performer on a small table for easy access.


Violin Scordatura: IV string tuned minor 3rd lower. [Hard round hairbrush]:

Round hairbrush with a lot of hard and long bristle made of artificial material. Place very close to the performer on a small table for easy access.

! [A glass of water]:

Ordinary water in a transparent glass. Place very close to the performer on a small table for easy access.


Guitar [Nylon texture gloves]:

Wear a pair of gloves with a lot of texture such as nylon massage gloves when indicated.

! [Small metal pot lid]:

A lid of a small metal pot with handle. For the first performance, the lid of a children’s small metal pot from IKEA was used.



As long and complex sounding rainstick as possible. Place very close to the performer on a small table for easy access without need of putting down the guitar when picking up the rainstick.


Program note The following text (or translation of the text in any language) should be included in the concert program, and no any other explanation about the piece should be presented. “Tsutsu” means “tube” in Japanese. Throughout his/her lifetime, the air constantly goes through one’s body in and out without any pause as if scraping and massaging the wall of one’s inner spiritual body to produce life energy, friction, heat, and tension to stimulate the meaning of life. The hairy texture of the inner bronchial tubes, even finer than high quality cashmere fabric, gently and quietly serves the duration of life. We are meant to breathe, and it is our responsibility.

Performance Notes General Linearity and continuity “Tsutsu” explores the musical linearity and continuous evolvement of the border between sound and noise. The metric structure of the piece is strictly framed with meters, but the majority of the rhythmic figures of the composition, on the other hand, is notated somewhat graphically and spatially proportional within a bar, and the traditional pulsation-based rhythmical notation is avoided as much as possible to achieve visual sense of linearity, complexity, and spontaneity. Small stems For the practical reason, small “stems”, representing each beat, are added above or below the system to help the performers the possibility to coordinate each other. The example shows small stems above the system to indicate approximately where and how long the note/noise should sound. !

Horizontal line Duration of a suspended note or a noise is also graphically and spatially notated as much as possible (excluding the space to notate bar lines and meters) with different length and thickness of horizontal lines. The example shows a duration of a note C# indicated by a horizontal line. The note starts somewhere after the second beat and ends somewhere after the fourth beat. !

The example shows a horizontal line that disappears and emerges again. The Db (the third note in the example) makes a diminuendo to niente (the horizontal line becomes thinner to nothing), and the same note emerges again before the next bar line (the horizontal line emerges again from thin to thick). The Db continues until the next note change, in this case, F. !

The example shows a discontinuous note disappearing and emerging back and forth. Often the music is very quiet and the sound is created by lightly scraped, bowed, or blown (flautando) that it is at the border between sound and silence. !

“Drunken” irregular rhythm Wave beam indicates irregular rhythm as if one is “drunk” and does not manage to keep things evenly. The amount of note change (stems) and proportion/distance among the notes are roughly notated graphically, but it is up to the performer to interpret the gesture. !

Dynamics and acoustics The acoustics of the performance venue is an essential element to consider when performing “Tsutsu”, and performers’ interpretation of the nuances and dynamics should be adjusted accordingly.


The dynamics are often indicated as in the example throughout the piece. The performer can decide whether he/she interprets the phrase to be performed in PPP, PP, or P according to the acoustics and spontaneous feeling. Going back and forth different dynamics within the given frame is also possible. This can be either decided at the spot (ad lib.) or during the rehearsals. In a preferred small, dry, and intimate venue, dare to play as soft as possible (almost inaudible) when indicated “PPP”!

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