Digital Preservation of Gion Festival's MusicRitsumeikan University Records Musical Performance8 January 2013 - Education/University
The Acoustics and Signal Processing Labs of the College of Information Science and Engineering at Ritsumeikan University is recording and editing a digital video of the festive music performance of Gion Festival, hoping to contribute to training successors of musical accompanists of the "Gion Matsuri Fune Hoko Hozonkai," or the preservation society of the Fune Hoko float of the Gion festival, at Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City. The recordings will be displayed in the Kyoto City Intangible Cultural Property Exhibition Room on the first floor of the Kyoto Yodobashi Building in Shimogyo Ward.
The recording is a part of the Digital Museum Project conducted by Ritsumeikan University to hand down traditional culture to future generations. They have so far recorded videos of the parade, the festive music, and others with the cooperation of the preservation society of the Fune Hoko float. Although the preservation society made a studio recording of the festive music around 20 years ago to pass on their skills, those tapes have been deteriorating. The recording was redone in digital form to preserve a reliable music source and show the techniques of musical performance.
At the beginning of the December, 2012, approximately 20 musicians who play gongs, flutes and drums gathered at the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University in Kita Ward. As there is a large gap between the volume of the gongs and the flutes, 14 microphones were arranged in consideration of balancing them. It took about four hours to record 32 pieces of music. Students of the College of Image Arts and Sciences filmed the session using four cameras, especially focusing on hand movements. The combined audio and video images reproduce a realistic festive music performance.
The preservation society will utilize the finished music source and video for practice. The public exhibition is scheduled to open within the 2012 fiscal year at the Kyoto City Intangible Cultural Property Exhibition Room. Associate Professor Takanobu Nishiura said, "We succeeded in making a faithful recording. I hope visitors can enjoy the atmosphere of the festival. I would also like to record festive music of other floats."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)