Oboes belong to the classification of double reed woodwind instruments. Oboes are made of wood, but there are oboes made of synthetic materials; the most common oboe plays in the soprano range. A soprano oboe measures 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column; the distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist. Today, the oboe is used in concert bands, chamber music, film music, some genres of folk music, as a solo instrument, heard in jazz, rock and popular music. In comparison to other modern woodwind instruments, the treble oboe is sometimes referred to as having a clear and penetrating voice; the Sprightly Companion, an instruction book published by Henry Playford in 1695, describes the oboe as "Majestical and Stately, not much Inferior to the Trumpet."
In the play Angels in America the sound is described as like "that of a duck if the duck were a songbird". The rich timbre is derived from its conical bore; as a result, oboes are easier to hear over other instruments in large ensembles due to its penetrating sound. The highest note is a semitone lower than the nominally highest note of the B♭ clarinet. Since the clarinet has a wider range, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is deeper than the lowest note of the oboe. Music for the standard oboe is written in concert pitch, the instrument has a soprano range from B♭3 to G6. Orchestras tune to a concert A played by the first oboe. According to the League of American Orchestras, this is done because the pitch is secure and its penetrating sound makes it ideal for tuning; the pitch of the oboe is affected by the way. The reed has a significant effect on the sound. Variations in cane and other construction materials, the age of the reed, differences in scrape and length all affect the pitch. German and French reeds, for instance, differ in many ways.
Weather conditions such as temperature and humidity affect the pitch. Skilled oboists adjust their embouchure to compensate for these factors. Subtle manipulation of embouchure and air pressure allows the oboist to express timbre and dynamics. Most professional oboists make their reeds to suit their individual needs. By making their reeds, oboists can control factors such as tone color and responsiveness. Novice oboists may begin with a Fibrecane reed, made of a synthetic material. Commercially available cane reeds are available in several degrees of hardness; these reeds, like clarinet and bassoon reeds, are made from Arundo donax. As oboists gain more experience, they may start making their own reeds after the model of their teacher or buying handmade reeds and using special tools including gougers, pre-gougers, guillotines and other tools to make the reed to their liking. According to the late John Mack, former principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra, an oboe student must fill a laundry basket with finished reeds in order to master the art.
"Making good reeds requires years of practice, the amateur is well advised not to embark on making his own reeds... Orchestral musicians sometimes do this, co-principals in particular earn a bit on the side in this way.... Many professional musicians import their reed cane... directly from the growers in southern France and split it vertically into three parts themselves. Oboes require thicknesses of about 10 millimeters." This allows each oboist to adjust the reeds for individual embouchure, oral cavity, oboe angle, air support. The reed is considered the part of oboe playing that makes it so difficult because slight variations in temperature, altitude and climate will change a working reed into an unplayable collection of cane. In English, prior to 1770, the standard instrument was called a "hautbois", "hoboy", or "French hoboy"; the spelling of oboe was adopted into English c. 1770 from the Italian oboè, a transliteration of the 17th-century pronunciation of the French name. The regular oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century.
This name was used for its predecessor, the shawm, from which the basic form of the hautbois was derived. Major differences between the two instruments include the division of the hautbois into three sections, or joints, the elimination of the pirouette, the wooden ledge below the reed which allowed players to rest their lips; the exact date and place of origin of the hautbois are obscure, as are the individuals who were responsible. Circumstantial evidence, such as the statement by the flautist composer Michel de la Barre in his Memoire, points to members of the Philidor and Hotteterre families; the instrument may in fact have had multiple inventors. The hautbois spread throughout Europe, including Great Britain, where it was called "hautboy", "hoboy", "hautboit", "howboye", similar variants of the French name, it was the
Cambodia the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest; the sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 16 million. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practised by 95 percent of the population; the country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political and cultural centre of Cambodia; the kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name "Kambuja"; this marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth.
The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region, including the construction of more than 1,000 temples and monuments in Angkor alone. Angkor Wat is designated as a World Heritage Site. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was ruled as a vassal state by its neighbours. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, which doubled the size of the country by reclaiming the north and west from Thailand. Cambodia gained independence in 1953; the Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge; the Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and carrying out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed by a United Nations mission. The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots; the 1997 factional fighting resulted in the ousting of the government by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2018. Cambodia is a member of the United Nations since 1955, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, the WTO, the Non-Aligned Movement and La Francophonie. According to several foreign organisations, the country has widespread poverty, pervasive corruption, lack of political freedoms, low human development and a high rate of hunger. Cambodia has been described by Human Rights Watch's Southeast Asian Director, David Roberts, as a "vaguely communist free-market state with a authoritarian coalition ruling over a superficial democracy". While per capita income remains low compared to most neighboring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with growth averaging 7.6 percent over the last decade.
Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade. The US World Justice Project's 2015 Rule of Law Index ranked Cambodia 76 out of 102 countries, similar to other countries in the region; the "Kingdom of Cambodia" is the official English name of the country. The English "Cambodia" is an anglicisation of the French "Cambodge", which in turn is the French transliteration of the Khmer កម្ពុជា kampuciə. Kampuchea is the shortened alternative to the country's official name in Khmer ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា prĕəh riəciənaacak kampuciə; the Khmer endonym Kampuchea derives from the Sanskrit name कम्बोजदेश kambojadeśa, composed of देश deśa and कम्बोज kamboja, which alludes to the foundation myths of the first ancient Khmer kingdom. The term Cambodia was in use in Europe as early as 1524, since Antonio Pigafetta cites it in his work Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo as Camogia.
Colloquially, Cambodians refer to their country as either ស្រុកខ្មែរ srok khmae, meaning "Khmer's Land", or the more formal ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា prɑteih kampuciə "Country of Kampuchea". The name "Cambodia" is used most in the Western world while "Kampuchea" is more used in the East. There exists sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present-day Cambodia, which includes quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, in Kampot Province, although their dating is unreliable; some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited the region during Holocene: the most ancient archaeological discovery site in Cambodia is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower
The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most used saxophones; the tenor is pitched in the key of B♭, written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F♯ key have a range from A♭2 to E5 and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists"; the tenor saxophone uses a larger mouthpiece and ligature than the alto and soprano saxophones. Visually, it is distinguished by the bend in its neck, or its crook, near the mouthpiece; the alto saxophone lacks its neck goes straight to the mouthpiece. The tenor saxophone is most recognized for its ability to blend well with the soprano and baritone saxophones, with its "husky" yet "bright" tone; the tenor saxophone is used in classical music, military bands, marching bands and jazz.
It is included in pieces written for symphony orchestra. In concert bands, the tenor plays a supporting role, sometimes sharing parts with the euphonium and trombone. In jazz ensembles, the tenor plays a more prominent role as a member of a section that includes the alto and baritone saxes. Many of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians have been tenor saxophonists; these include Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. The work of younger players such as Michael Brecker and Chris Potter has been an important influence in more recent jazz; the tenor saxophone is one of a family of fourteen instruments designed and constructed in 1846 by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian-born instrument maker and clarinetist. Based on an amalgam of ideas drawn from the clarinet, flute and ophicleide, the saxophone was intended to form a tonal link between the woodwinds and brass instruments found in military bands, an area that Sax considered sorely lacking.
Sax's patent, granted on 28 June 1846, divided the family into two groups of seven instruments, each ranging from alto down to contrabass. One family, pitched alternatively in B♭ and E♭, was designed to integrate with the other instruments common in military bands; the tenor saxophone, pitched in B♭, is the fourth member of this family. The tenor saxophone, like all saxophones, consists of an conical tube of thin brass, a type of metal; the wider end of the tube is flared to form a bell, while the narrower end is connected to a single reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. At intervals down the bore are placed between 23 tone holes. There are two small speaker holes which, when opened, disrupt the lower harmonics of the instrument and cause it to overblow into an upper register; the pads are controlled by pressing a number of keys with the fingers of the left and right hands. The original design of tenor saxophone had a separate octave key for each speaker hole, in the manner of the bassoon.
Although a handful of novelty tenors have been constructed'straight', like the smaller members of the saxophone family, the unwieldy length of the straight configuration means that all tenor saxophones feature a'U-bend' above the third-lowest tone hole, characteristic of the saxophone family. The tenor saxophone is curved at the top, above the highest tone-hole but below the highest speaker hole. While the alto is bent only through 80–90° to make the mouthpiece fit more in the mouth, the tenor is bent a little more in this section, incorporating a slight S-bend; the mouthpiece of the tenor saxophone is similar to that of the clarinet, an wedge-shaped tube, open along one face and covered in use by a thin strip of material prepared from the stem of the giant cane known as a reed. The reed is shaved to come to an thin point, is clamped over the mouthpiece by the use of a ligature; when air is blown through the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates and generates the acoustic resonances required to produce a sound from the instrument.
The mouthpiece is the area of the saxophone with the greatest flexibility in shape and style, so the timbre of the instrument is determined by the dimensions of its mouthpiece. The design of the mouthpiece and reed play a big role in. Classical mouthpieces help produce a warmer and rounder tone, while jazz mouthpieces help produce a brighter and edgier tone. Materials used in mouthpiece construction include plastic and various metals e.g. bronze and stainless steel. The mouthpiece of the tenor saxophone is proportionally larger than that of the alto, necessitating a larger reed; the increased stiffness of the reed and the greater airflow required to establish resonance in the larger body means the tenor sax requires greater lung power but a looser embouchure than the higher-pitched member
The oboe d'amore, less hautbois d'amour, is a double reed woodwind musical instrument in the oboe family. Larger than the oboe, it has a less assertive and a more tranquil and serene tone, is considered the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family, between the oboe and the cor anglais, or English horn, it is a transposing instrument, sounding a minor third lower than it is notated, i.e. in A. The bell is pear-shaped and the instrument uses a bocal, similar to but shorter than that of the cor anglais; the oboe d'amore was invented in the eighteenth century and was first used by Christoph Graupner in his cantata Wie wunderbar ist Gottes Güt. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote many pieces—a concerto, many of his cantatas, the Et in Spiritum sanctum movement of his Mass in B minor—for the instrument. Georg Philipp Telemann frequently employed the oboe d'amore, its popularity waning in the late eighteenth century, the oboe d'amore fell into disuse for about 100 years until composers such as Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Frederick Delius, others began using it once again in the early years of the twentieth century.
It can be heard in Toru Takemitsu's Vers, l'arc-en-ciel, but its most famous modern usage is in Ravel's Boléro, where the oboe d'amore follows the E-flat clarinet to recommence the main theme for the second time. Gustav Mahler employed the instrument once, in one of his five Rückert-Lieder. American composer William Perry uses the oboe d'amore in his film scores and most in the third movement of his Jamestown Concerto for cello and orchestra. In his orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Vladimir Ashkenazy uses the oboe d'amore to highlight the plaintive solo of the Il vecchio castello movement. Modern makers of oboes d'amore include Howarth of London, F. Lorée in Paris and others such as French makers Rigoutat and Marigaux, Italian maker Bulgheroni, Japanese maker Joseph and German makers Püchner, Mönnig and Ludwig Franck. New instruments cost £8,250 at 2016 prices, comparable to the cost of a new cor anglais; this cost, coupled with the limited call for the instrument, leads many oboists not to possess their own oboe d'amore, but to rent one when their work dictates the need.
For the same reason, second-hand oboes d'amore surface from time to time with little wear, demonstrating they were well loved. Media related to Oboe d'amore at Wikimedia Commons Demonstration and talk on YouTube, Gonzalo X. Ruiz, Concerto in A major for Oboe, BWV 1055R
The cor anglais or English horn in North America, is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. It is one and a half times the length of an oboe; the cor anglais is a transposing instrument pitched in a perfect fifth lower than the oboe. This means that music for the cor anglais is written a perfect fifth higher than the instrument sounds; the fingering and playing technique used for the cor anglais are the same as those of the oboe and oboists double on the cor anglais when required. The cor anglais lacks the lowest B♭ key found on most oboes and so its sounding range stretches from E3 below middle C to C6 two octaves above middle C; the pear-shaped bell of the cor anglais gives it a more covered timbre than the oboe, closer in tonal quality to the oboe d'amore. Whereas the oboe is the soprano instrument of the oboe family, the cor anglais is regarded as the tenor member of the family, the oboe d'amore—pitched between the two in the key of A—as the alto member; the cor anglais is perceived to have a more plaintive tone than the oboe.
Its appearance differs from the oboe in that the reed is attached to a bent metal tube called the bocal, or crook, the bell has a bulbous shape. It is much longer; the cor anglais is notated in the treble clef, a perfect fifth higher than sounding. Some composers notated it in the bass clef, when the lower register was persistently used, several other options were employed. Alto clef written at sounding pitch is used by as late a composer as Sergei Prokofiev. In late-18th- and early-19th-century Italy, where the instrument was played by bassoonists instead of oboists, it was notated in the bass clef an octave below sounding pitch. French operatic composers up to Fromental Halévy notated the instrument at sounding pitch in the mezzo-soprano clef, which enabled the player to read the part as if it were in the treble clef. Although the instrument descends only to low B♮, continental instruments with an extension to low B♭ have existed since early in the 19th century. Examples of works requiring this note include Arnold Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, Heitor Villa-Lobos's Chôros No.
6, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Zeitmaße. Antonín Dvořák, in his Scherzo Capriccioso writes for the cor anglais down to low A, though it seems unlikely that such an extension existed. Reeds used to play the cor anglais are similar to those used for an oboe, consisting of a piece of cane folded in two. While the cane on an oboe reed is mounted on a small metal tube covered in cork, there is no such cork on a cor anglais reed, which fits directly on the bocal; the cane part of the reed is longer than that of the oboe. Unlike American style oboe reeds, cor anglais reeds have wire at the base 5 mm from the top of the string used to attach the cane to the staple; this wire serves to stabilize tone and pitch. The best-known makers of modern cors anglais are the French firms of F. Lorée, Marigaux and Rigoutat, the British firm of T. W. Howarth, the American firm Fox Products. Instruments from smaller makers, such as A. Laubin, are sought after. Instruments are made from African blackwood, although some makers offer instruments in a choice of alternative woods as well, such as cocobolo or violet wood, which are said to alter the voice of the cor anglais reputedly making it more mellow and warmer.
Fox has made some instruments in plastic resin and in maple. The term cor anglais is French for English horn, but the instrument is neither from England nor related to the various conical-bore brass instruments called "horns", such as the French horn, the natural horn, the post horn, or the alto horn; the instrument originated in Silesia about 1720, when a bulb bell was fitted to a curved oboe da caccia-type body by the Weigel family of Breslau. The two-keyed, open-belled, straight tenor oboe, more the flare-belled oboe da caccia, resembled the horns played by angels in religious images of the Middle Ages; this gave rise in German-speaking central Europe to the Middle High German name engellisches Horn, meaning angelic horn. Because engellisch meant English in the vernacular of the time, the "angelic horn" became the "English horn". In the absence of any better alternative, the curved, bulb-belled tenor oboe retained the name after the oboe da caccia fell into disuse around 1760; the name first appeared on a regular basis in Italian and Austrian scores from 1741 on in the Italian form corno inglese.
The earliest known orchestral part for the instrument is in the Vienna version of Niccolò Jommelli's opera Ezio dating from 1749, where it was given the Italian name corno inglese. Gluck and Haydn followed suit in the 1750s, the first English horn concertos were written in the 1770s; the Schwarzenberg Wind Harmonie of 1771 employed 2 Cor Anglais as well as 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns. The Prince Fürst Joseph Adam Johann Nepomuk Franz de Paula Joachim Judas Thaddäus Abraham von Schwarzenberg was a keen boar hunter and so most employed Oboe de Caccia players, which explains the preference for the new Cor Anglais as opposed to the Clarinet. Johan Went was 1st; the first Oboe Trios were co
The bullroarer, rhombus, or turndun, is an ancient ritual musical instrument and a device used for communicating over great distances. It dates to the Paleolithic period, being found in Ukraine dating from 18,000 BC. Anthropologist Michael Boyd, a bullroarer expert, documents a number found in Europe, the Indian sub-continent, the Americas, Australia. In ancient Greece it was a sacred instrument used in the Dionysian Mysteries and is still used in rituals worldwide. Along with the didgeridoo, it was a prominent musical technology among the Australian Aborigines, used in ceremonies across the continent. A bullroarer consists of a weighted airfoil attached to a long cord; the wood slat is trimmed down to a sharp edge around the edges, serrations along the length of the wooden slat may or may not be used, depending on the cultural traditions of the region in question. The cord is given a slight initial twist, the roarer is swung in a large circle in a horizontal plane, or in a smaller circle in a vertical plane.
The aerodynamics of the roarer will keep it spinning about its axis after the initial twist has unwound. The cord winds first in one direction and the other, alternating, it makes a characteristic roaring vibrato sound with notable sound modulations occurring from the rotation of the roarer along its longitudinal axis, the choice of whether a shorter or longer length of cord is used to spin the bullroarer. By modifying the expansiveness of its circuit and the speed given it, by changing the plane in which the bullroarer is whirled from horizontal to vertical or vice versa, the modulation of the sound produced can be controlled, making the coding of information possible. Audio/visual demonstration Sound modulation by changing orbital plane; the low-frequency component of the sound travels long distances audible over many miles on a quiet night. Various cultures have used bullroarers as musical and religious instruments and long-range communication devices for at least 19,000 years. For example, due to their eerie sound, some people used bullroarers in the southern United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s to play pranks on superstitious people.
Because of its pitch modulation, the bullroarer has been incorrectly used as an example of something exhibiting the Doppler effect. Such an explanation could be correct for an observer, but not for the user. For an observer other than the user, the bullroarer's blade alternately approaches, recedes from, him or her, leading to the instrument's pitch rising and falling respectively; such an explanation cannot be correct if the observer is the user, because for him or her, the blade remains nearly equidistant. Any pitch modulation, heard identically by a user and a different observer must be a property of the instrument, rather than from the Doppler effect; the greatest pitch variation are caused by the spinning blade's loosening the cord. When the twist in one direction gets tight enough, the blade spin will slow and it will reverse its spin and unwind and will continue that direction of spin until the cord twist tightens again. At that time, the blade will reverse its spin direction again. During the reversals the blade's rotational speed about its long axis falls.
This variation in its own rapid rate of spin is. This instrument has been used by numerous early and traditional cultures in both the northern and southern hemispheres but in the popular consciousness it is best known for its use by Australian Aborigines. Henry Cowell composed a composition for two violins, two celli, two bullroarers. A bullroarer featured in the Kate Bush Before The Dawn concerts in London 2014. Bullroarers have been used in initiation ceremonies and in burials to ward off evil spirits, bad tidings, women and children. Bullroarers are considered secret men's business by all or all Aboriginal tribal groups, hence forbidden for women, non-initiated men, or outsiders to hear. Fison and Howitt documented this in "Kamilaroi and Kurnai". Anyone caught breaching the imposed secrecy was to be punished by death, they are used in men's initiation ceremonies, the sound they produce is considered in some indigenous cultures to represent the sound of the Rainbow Serpent. In the cultures of southeastern Australia, the sound of the bullroarer is the voice of Daramulan, a successful bullroarer can only be made if it has been cut from a tree containing his spirit.
In 1987, Midnight Oil included a recording of a bullroarer on their album Diesel and Dust inadvertently causing offense to the Aboriginal people of Central Australia from whom the recording was taken. As a point of clarification on the preceding paragraph, the book "Midnight Oil" by Michael Lawrence cites an interview that Rob Hirst did with Modern Drummer where Hirst states "...it's a sacred instrument...only initiated men are supposed to hear those sounds. So we didn't use a real bullroarer. Instead we used an imitation bullroarer, it is a ruler with a piece of rope wrapped around it." The bullroarer can be used as a tool in Aboriginal art. Bullroarers have sometimes been referred to as "wife-callers" by Australian Aborigines. A bullroarer is used by Paul Hogan in the 1988 film Crocodile Dundee II. John Antill included one in the orchestration of his ballet Cor
The shō is a Japanese free reed musical instrument, introduced from China during the Nara period. It is descended from the Chinese sheng, it consists of 17 slender bamboo pipes, each of, fitted in its base with a metal free reed. Two of the pipes are silent, although research suggests that they were used in some music during the Heian period; the instrument's sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix, it is for this reason that the two silent pipes of the shō are kept—as an aesthetic element, making two symmetrical "wings". Like the Chinese sheng, the pipes are tuned with a drop of wax; as moisture collected in the shō's pipes prevents it from sounding, performers can be seen warming the instrument over a small charcoal brazier when they are not playing. The instrument produces sound when the player's breath is inhaled or exhaled, allowing long periods of uninterrupted play; the shō is one of the three primary woodwind instruments used in gagaku, Japan's imperial court music. Its traditional playing technique in gagaku involves the use of tone clusters called aitake, which move from one to the other, providing accompaniment to the melody.
A larger size of shō, called u, is little used, although some performers, such as Hiromi Yoshida, began to revive it in the late 20th century. A detailed book in English on the shō and the gagaku it is associated with is titled Music of a Thousand Autumns: The Togaku style of Japanese Court Music by Robert Garfias; the shō was first used as a solo instrument for contemporary music by the Japanese performer Mayumi Miyata. Miyata and other shō players who specialize in contemporary music use specially constructed instruments whose silent pipes are replaced by pipes that sound notes unavailable on the more traditional instrument, giving a wider range of pitches. Beginning in the mid-20th century, a number of Japanese composers have created works for the instrument, both solo and in combination with other Japanese and Western instruments. Most prominent among these are Toshi Ichiyanagi, Toru Takemitsu, Takashi Yoshimatsu, Jo Kondo, Maki Ishii, Joji Yuasa, Toshio Hosokawa, Minoru Miki; the American composer John Cage created several Number Pieces for Miyata just before his death, after having met her during the 1990 Darmstadt summer course.
Other notable contemporary performers, many of whom compose for the shō and other instruments, include Hideaki Bunno, Tamami Tono, Hiromi Yoshida, Kō Ishikawa, Remi Miura, Naoyuki Manabe, Alessandra Urso, Randy Raine-Reusch, Sarah Peebles. Peebles has extensively incorporated shō in improvised and electroacoustic contexts 1986-2016, including an album of music with photo essay dedicated to the instrument. Notable 20th-century composers who studied the instrument in Japan include Benjamin Britten and Alan Hovhaness, the latter of whom composed two works for the instrument. German avant-garde composer Helmut Lachenmann used the shō at the climax of his opera, Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern. Otomo Yoshihide, a Japanese experimental improv musician, incorporates the shō in some of his music; the instrument was introduced to a wider audience by the German musician Stephan Micus and the Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, who used it as the primary instrument in three songs performed by Miyata for the soundtrack album to Drawing Restraint 9, a film by her former boyfriend Matthew Barney, about Japanese culture and whaling.
Composer Vache Sharafyan used shō in his composition "My Lofty Moon" scored for five eastern and eight western instruments, premiered by the Atlas Ensemble in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw aan't IJ in 2007. It was played on the ISS by Koichi Wakata. Sheng Saenghwang Garfias, Robert. Music of a Thousand Autumns: The Tōgaku style of Japanese Court Music. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01977-6. OCLC 2001499. F. T. Piggot, The Music of the Japanese in: Asiatic Society of Japan. Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. Asiatic Society of Japan. Pp. 301–305. Retrieved 15 July 2012. History of the Free-Reed Instruments in Classical Music—History and sound sample Columbia House Japan—Photographs of modern-made instruments Randy Raine-Reusch's World Instrument Gallery—Photograph and sound sample “Resonating Bodies” integrated media site— Images of and information about the reeds of the shō, its tuning methods and materials and its historical ties to honey bees