- Henry Johnson
Musical bow of Japan. The name refers to the quintessential material used for the bow (azusa: catalpa) and the form (yumi: bow). Other names for the instrument include azusa and yumidaiko (daiko/taiko: drum). It is nowadays made of wood such as catalpa or mulberry and is about 1 metre long, has an independent resonator (usually an upside-down box), and is sounded by a wooden beater usually held in the player’s right hand. The single string is normally made of flax. The player, who normally kneels with the string placed horizontally in front, presses the bow on to the resonator with the left hand and beats the string without any change of pitch. The azusayumi is used especially by female itako (shamans) to accompany religious chanting, and is particularly well known in the northern parts of Honshū. A musical bow has been known in Japan since ancient times and is mentioned in the 11th-century book ...