DaisyFieldMusic!JapanAbout Matsuri-Bayashi Search

Daisyfield Archive of Japanese Traditional Music

About "Matsuri-Bayashi"

Back to the songs        Rudolf Dittrich

Song Title View or Listen
Matsuri-Bayashi 祭囃子 mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml

Title in English: "Festival Song "


Rudolf Dittrich (1861-1919), an Austrian musician and composer, learned this song during his stay in Japan, 1888-1894.  After returning to Europe, he published piano arrangements of this song and five others in 1894.  Ten more songs appeared in a second songbook published in 1895.

"Matsuri-Bayashi" celebrates the popular legend of an eighth-century girl, Tekona, who lived in the city of Mama, now part of Tokyo.  Her beauty was the cause of so much violence and tragedy that she drowned herself in despair.  A shrine to the memory of Tekona is the subject of a famous print by Hiroshige, and today you can visit the Tekona shrine in Tokyo at

4-6 Mama
Chiba Prefecture


In his 1894 song collection, Rudolf Dittrich gives the following lyrics, in Japanese, German, and English.


Koe kamabisushiku;
Wari-dake ni
Saki wo harawase;
Kanab? wa
Mama no *Tekona ka
*Tekomae ga,
Onna to mo mie
Otoko to mo miete;
Yasashiki ume yanagi
Iro ka wo masu no
Odori-yatai to
Migi hidari.

*Tekona, Tekomae:
Wortspiel (a pun).


(Auch als Zwischenakt-Musik im Theatre gebraucht.)

Überall lautes, geräuschvolles Stimmengewirr: mit oben gespaltenem, klapperndem Bambusstab lässt man nach vornehin Platz schaffen.- Ist die Trägerin des Eisenstabes mit klirrenden Ringen, die wie eine Frau und doch wieder wie ein Man aussieht, night gar die schöne Tekona aus Mama?- Der Zartheit des Pflaumen- und Trauerweidenbaumes vor dem Hause fügt ein schönes Mädchen am erhöhten Fenster noch Farbe und Duft hinzu; dazu überall Tanzbuden, so dass man nach rechts und links hin Schönes zu sehen hat.-


(Also played during the intervals in the theatre.)

Everywhere the loud and noisy hum of voices; with a rattling bamboo staff, split at the top, a way is cleared in front.- The girl with the iron rod with the clattering rings, who looks like a woman and yet like a man, is not she the beautiful Tekona from Mama?- A pretty girl at the raised window adds colour and fragrance to the tenderness of the plum and the weeping willow tree in front of the house; and then the dancing-stages everywhere, so that right and left there is something beautiful to see.-


Dittrich informs us that the original Japanese version of "Matsuri-Bayashi" is sung to shamisen accompaniment.

According to William Malm (p. 56), the word "Matsuri" is used to refer to the site where a festival is taking place; the term "Matsuri-Bayashi" is the generic phrase used to refer to the music of a festival.


Dittrich, Rudolf, Nippon Gakufu (“Six Japanese Popular Songs collected and arranged for the Pianoforte”), Breitkopf and Härtel, Leipzig, 1894, pp.2-3.  [Click here for further information about Rudolf Dittrich].

Description of Tekona Reido Shrine, in the OAG Travel Information Website, http://www3.oag.com/Cities/Detail?city=80&cat=26&item=100000

Hiroshige, Utagawa, "Maple Trees at Mama, Tekona Shrine and Linked Bridge", 1857, on Brooklyn Museum website, http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/online/edo/detail.php?view=Autumn.94

Malm, William, Traditional Japanese Music and Musical Instruments, Kodansha International, New York, 2000.


Contact:  feedback@DaisyField.com