The sound of the shamisen evokes the scene and the emotional fluctuations
Next to the narrator who is sitting upright and reciting with high engagement and all his might, the shamisen player plays the shamisen looking straight ahead, without changing his expression. He uses a variety of techniques to evoke the scene of the setting or the emotional fluctuations of the characters. However, the shamisen does not simply add rich atmosphere or depth to the story. It also plays a major role as the narrator's partner that supports and leads the narrator.
The mechanisms and the playing of the shamisen
Shamisen is an instrument having a square body (do) covered with leather, attached to which is a long throat (sao) . Three strings (gen) are stretched across this body and throat. To play the shamisen, a plectrum (bachi) in the shape of a ginkgo leaf is used to pluck the strings and strike the leather.
Gidayu-bushi uses a type of shamisen called "futozao" that is large and has a thick neck. It produces a low, sonorous sound that resonates loudly. At the same time, it is good for depicting subtle expressions. This instrument not only plays the melody; it also has a percussion-like role in giving rhythm and adding punctuation.