Author Archives: Yasuharu Nagura

About Yasuharu Nagura

Born in 1989. Executive. Investor.

Japanese Classical Music “Gagaku”

Gagaku has a history of over 1200 years and has been highly appreciated as Japanese classical music and also as a world classical music in foreign countries.

Gagaku is a traditional Japanese ceremonial music and dance, and music and dance transmitted from the continent of  China and the Korean Peninsula during the 400 years from the Asuka  to the beginning of the Heian period, Music that is arranged in style.

Since the Nara period and the Heian period, the performance of Gagaku was performed vigorously in temples and shrines as well as court. And for more than 1000 years, it continued being handed down by professional musicians in Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. During the Meiji era, The Board of the Ceremonies of Imperial Household Agency was founded and handed down Gagaku. Recently, private group Gagaku music performance organizations are on the rise.


Poplar Music in East Asia

The article is about popular music in East Asia including J-pop, K-pop, and C-pop.

First, J-pop ( abbreviation of Japanese pop) is a word that refers to popular music produced in Japan, since about 1993 after the word and concept were born around 1989. It becomes one of genres of songs sung by young people.

Next, K-pop is a concept called “Korean pops” at the end of the 1980s, mass music of Korea. From the late 1980s, it was affected by the fact that the word “J-pop” began to be used in popular music in Japan. From around the late 1990’s, the term “K-pop” was used by Japanese media to refer to Korean popular music as a comparative term in Japan.

Lastly, generally speaking, the popular music of Grater China is called C-pop. Many are sung in Mandarin and Cantonese. Many of Mandarin (Taiwanese) are from Taiwan, and in Singapore and Malaysia it is not as much as English or Malay but it is sung. Many of Cantonese originate from Hong Kong. (Hong Kong Pops) In recent years, Hong Kong artists who are conscious of the continent (People’s Republic of China, PRC) market and sing even in Mandarin is increasing.

Intoroductory notes on the modes

In the theory of western music, a mode is a type of musical scale coupled with a set of characteristic melodic behaviors.  For example, the gregorian mode (greek mode) is a mode used for classification of Gregorian chant.


In Jazz, from around the 1960’s, modern modes has been used. The first method is to use as an available note scale in certain code. The second method is to use mode as a tone, and to phrasing and harmony on it. In the second  method, emphasis is placed on the dominant tones and characteristic sounds.

In modern times, mode is used for the purpose of escaping from music by traditional narrow sense of tonality, that is, major and minor. For this reason, Ionian is not used because it makes it feel like a major tonality which is too much conventional tonality.

The definition of Ambient Music

Ambient music is a genre of music that puts an emphasis on tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as a sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness. Intended to relax, the genre is said to evoke an “atmospheric”, “visual”, or “unobtrusive” quality.

Ambient music focuses on creating a mood or atmosphere through synthesizers and timbral qualities, often lacking the presence of any net composition, beat, or structured melody. It uses textural layers of sound without prevalent musical tropes, rewarding both passive and active listening. Nature soundscapes are usually included, and the sounds of acoustic instruments such as the piano, strings, and flute, among others, may be emulated through a synthesizer.

 As a genre, it originated in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, when new sound-making devices were being introduced to a wider market, such as the synthesizer.  Ambient music may have elements of new-age music due to usage of (synthesized) instruments, and drone music, as some works may use sustained or repeated notes. 

Ambient did not achieve large commercial success, being criticized as having a “boring” and “over-intellectual” sound. Nevertheless, it has attained a certain degree of acclaim throughout the years, especially in the internet age.  Due to its relatively open style, ambient music often takes influences from many other genres, ranging from classical, avant-garde music, folk, jazz, and world music, among several others.


The difference between EDM and IDM

Electronic dance music (also known as EDM) is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals.  It is generally produced forplayback by disc jockeys (DJs) who create seamless  selections of tracks, called a mix segueing from one recording to another. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called ‘dance music’, or simply ‘dance’.

On the otherhand, Intelligent dance music (commonly abbreviated as IDM) is a form of electronic music that emerged in the early 1990s, characterized by an abstract or “cerebral” sound better suited for home listening than dancing. Inspired by a variety of sources, including techno, acid house ambient music, and breakbeat. IDM tended to rely upon individualistic experimentation rather than adhering to characteristics associated with specific genres.


New Single – Lake Biwa Rowing Song

Lake Biwa Rowing Song

by Yasuharu Nagura


Yasuharu Nagura has performed new live recordings entitled 『Lake Biwa Rowing Song』that is released October 1, 2018.

He stayed in Otsu city, Shiga prefecture on August 13, 2018. After crossing the Biwako Bridge, he found a piece of music at the Biwako Ohashi Kome Plaza. It is called Biwako Shuko no Uta which is translated as Lake Biwa Rowing Song. Based on the score, he expressed Lake Biwa and its flow of water. He has made a few adjustments to the composition.

The photograph of the album is Lake Biwa in Shiga prefecture. It was taken from the mountaintop of Mt. Uchimi (altitude 1,096m).


releases October 1, 2018

Yasuharu Nagura – music and photo
Chiaki Yoshida – composition


all rights reserved

Filed Recording at Riverside (September 2018)

What is Filed Recording?

“Filed Recording” is the term used for an audio recording produced outside a recoding studio, and the term applies to recordings of both natural and human-produced sounds. Field recording of natural sounds, also called phonography, was originally developed as a documentary adjunct to research work in the filed, and foley work for film. “Field recordings” may also refer to simple monaural or stereo recordings taken of musicians in familiar and casual surroundings.


Yasuharu Nagura has performed a new live recording entitled 『Bugs in A Silent』that is recorded September 17, 2018. First, he recorded field sounds of insects at riverside under the moonlight. Next, in accordance with the sound, the sound of water was expressed with a step/sequencer. Finally, he improvised with a synthesizer using the blue note scale.


elektron analog four mk II + iphone (dictaphone) + ipad (s/s)


recorded September 17, 2018

written, performed, and recorded by Yasuharu Nagura

©2018 Hideout Records All Rights Reserved.


The Principle of the Analog Modular Synthesizer

What is the analog modular synthesizer?

The analog modular synthesizer is a type of synthesizer which exists in both physical and virtual forms, consisting of separate specialized modules. The specialization is usually in the module being designed to allow the modification or processing of one parameter of a signal, such as the frequency (oscillator), spectrum (filter), or amplitude (amplifier). The modules are not hardwired together but are connected together with patch cords, a matrix patching system, or switches to create a patch. The voltages from the modules may function as (audio) signals, control voltages, or logic conditions.

In general, when introducing modular synth, selection of modules for assembling the system is an important event before purchase, and it is the real pleasure of modular synth. But for beginners of analog modular synthesizer, it will be the first major hurdle. Choosing a module yourself is a very difficult problem unless you understand what you need and what you want, clear vision and knowledge. Therefore, I will explain the basic knowledge of the sound source circuit, the circuit in charge of the control signal, and the control standard.

Configuration of sound source circuit
The analog modular synthesizer is basically composed of the following circuits.

Circuit in charge of audio signal
The three functions in charge of the audio signal are as follows.

Abbreviation for voltage controlled oscillator. An oscillator that creates a basic waveform.

Abbreviation for voltage controlled filter. A circuit for processing waveforms.

Abbreviation for voltage controlled amplifiers.  A circuit for controlling volume.

Circuit in charge of control signal
The main circuits for controlling the above three functions are as follows.

Envelope Generator
A circuit that generates a voltage that varies with time by four parameters: Attack / Decay / Sustain / Release (Reverberation).

Abbreviation for low frequency oscillator. Send a low frequency as a control signal to the control circuit of the audio signal, giving a periodic change (For example, if you send it to the VCO, you can create a vibrato).

Keyboard or Sequencer
Function to input performance information.

Control Standard
An analog modular synthesizer roughly controls each function by sending and receiving two types of information as voltage.

Signal on / off information. Control the length of the sound.

Abbreviation of controlled voltage. Control the value of each function, beginning with the interval.

In the case of a modular synthesizer, it is possible to more flexibly modulate the audio signal with a patch cable.

Photography in Shiga (August, 2018)


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latest collections | 『Otsu』,『Omi Hachiman』,『Hikone』, 『Samegai』(2018)


I stayed in Otsu city, Shiga prefecture. After crossing the Biwako Bridge, I looked at the Biwako Bridge from the Biwako Ohashi Kome Plaza. The view of Lake Biwa from the balcony at the second floor was outstanding. At the restaurant, I ate Omi beef. It is one of the best beef in Japan. Omi beef is raised in the rich nature represented Lake Biwa. It is the roots of Tajima cattle that was originally used for aguriculture. We call the mix of meat and fat “sashi.” Omi beef has fine sashi overall. In the Edo periodo, there was a history that it was eaten by Daimyo, and it is still popular now.


I climbed to the mountaintop station of Mt. Uchimi (1,105m) by a ropeway. From there, I moved to the top of Mt. Horai by the lift. The highest peak of Mt. Horai is 1,174m. I could see sea of clouds and Lake Biwa. On sunny days, you can see Lake Biwa, Mt. Ibuki, and Mt. Hira.  It was a luxurious space in the sky that can be reached by ropeway.


I stayed in Omi Hachiman city. I took a walk through Hachiman moat, Himure Hachiman Shrine, and Shinmachi street (the street of Omi merchant). I felt the life of Omi merchant with frugality, simplicity, and fortitude. Next, I went to Hikone castle in Hikone city. I watched Hikone Castle from Genkyuen. Genkyuen is a stroll garden with a central pond. You can watch the scenery around Hikone Castle as a large garden in the early Edo period. Finally, I went to Samegai, Maibara city. Along the Jizo river at Samegai, the cityscape is still continuing. Jizo river is famous as a group of “Bai-ka-mo”(plum, flower, and algae) in a river made of fresh water spring from the area. Samegai is selected as a Japan heritage as a culture of water and prayer.


The Difference between Mixdown and Mastering

mix down & mastering by Yasuharu Nagura | the highest sound quality with 44.100 kHz, 16 bit, wav file

“Mixdown” is to adjust the volume and sound quality of each instrument in the song. It is like rasping on furniture. Because each musical instrument is played on a separate track, each unit can be raised and lowered. You can apply echo and other effects to songs. You can also adjust the pitch of the song.

Making the final polishing work is called “mastering”. Throughout the album, it is to match volume and sound quality so that you do not feel uncomfortable even if you listen to each song. It is like painting varnish on furniture. You can adjust the sound pressure using designated software. Currently, there are mastering service by artificial intelligence.