I have a very extensive history listening to music. I'm a fan of multiple contemporary genres, such as Indie, Hip-Hop, Jazz (New wave down tempo and classic), classic rock etc I even played in a high school orchestra, in which I gained an understanding of multiple instruments. This experience has enhanced my appreciation of music. This must be taken into consideration when assessing my evaluation of the music. My initial reaction to the piece was one that embodies what I know of ancient Japanese or samurai culture. It specifically reminded me of the 1969 Japanese film Double Suicide in which the two main characters commit the sacred act of Shinju (double suicide) to profess their love to one another. This song specifically reminds me of the final scene in the film where the two die. I also know that there are many martial arts forms in Chinese and Japanese culture that adopt names and styles compatible with that of animals in nature. This could partly explain the title of the piece. While the song is titled Nesting Crane, personally I envision someone doing movements in the form of a bird rather than and actual crane in a nest. This is just one particular image that comes to mind. The combination of the flute and the stringed instrument produces enough sound to make one think their might be another instrument in the mix. There is no apparent evidence of this, but it could also partly be credited to the fact that my western tastes expect their to be a baseline to this music.
The lack of a drum, or any form of percussion with this music is very prevalent and significant factor in my judging it. I also credit it as the reason why I recognize this piece as being therapeutic. The song feels more like something that one should recline and listen to, and not something that inclines one to dance in fashion. Even if this music has any spiritual significance, this concept widely contrasts that of western culture, where even our spiritually uplifting music utilizes some for of percussion. An example of this can be seen in Evangelist and Christian churches where the congregation is encouraged to clap to keep pace.
At this point, my gut interpretation of this work is that it is very eastern, and without knowing I would assume it is Japanese or Chinese. I would also assume that it was written in the before the 19th century. I like its subtly and therapeutic form, but I would prefer that their be a baseline added, or maybe another instrument to fill in the silent parts. I am impressed by the amount of breath the person playing the flute is able to produce. I also fail to see the significance of the stringed instrument. It seems to me as though the song could do without it, or it could be utilized in a way that would garner more notice.
After developing a good cultural sense of the piece, I have a better understanding of the aesthetic and historical relevance of the use of the shakuhachi (flute), and the shamisen (lute). The fact that the flute was considered to be a spiritual tool, and that there is a significant connection with the patterns of breathing and spiritual enlightenment, enhance my appreciation of the piece. Understanding the context in which the song is played is another major part of appreciating the work. Before knowing the specific scene from the kabuki play which the song supports, I had a very vague perception of the emotion expected to