The article describes the results of research and observation carried out by the authoress among the Ainu people on Hokkaido (Japan). She discusses in detail the construction, notation and functions of the tonkori - the wooden musical instrument, and presents a brief account of the Ainu's history, from prehistoric to present times, with particular reference to the influences which have shaped Ainu culture. The first chapter offers a detailed discussion of the structure of the tonkori. A discussion of performance practice is undertaken in the second chapter, which gives an extensive exposition of the manner of playing the tonkori, i.e. postures adopted during play, the technique of sound production, characteristics of the melodies, kinds of notation and the construction of the compositions. In the third and final chapter the authoress discusses the functions of the tonkori in everyday life and in the rituals of the contemporary Ainu. The text closes with an annexe of illustrations showing the tonkori in museum collections and in performance.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.