I just noticed that the Vocabularia da lingoa de Iapam has an entry for shakuhachi:

Xacufachi. Certa frauta q̃ ſe tange direito como as noßas frautas.
Shakuhachi. A certain flute which is held upright like our flutes.

Huh — am I reading that correctly? Does that mean that in Portugal ca 1600 vertical flutes/recorders were still the norm, with transverse flutes considered exotic and foreign?

Shamisen is also in there, having been imported sometime in the previous century:

Xamixen. Certa viola de tres cordas.
Shamisen. A certain viol with three strings.

Note the pronunciation: shamishen. Today, pronouncing the /se/ mora she is considered quaint and rural, but back when the Jesuits were active it was the Eastern pronunciation se that was considered unusual and/or amusing.

And koto is there too:

Coto. Crauo de tanger de Iapão.
Koto. Japanese plucked clavier.

(It's possible that "cravo de tanger" is a set phrase that should just be translated "zither" or something. I need a much better Portuguese dictionary.)

Also noteworthy is the entry directly above that:

Coto. Couſa, ou palaura.
Koto. Thing, or word.

Not two words, but one word with two meanings. The Society of Jesus has spoken. (They do not have a definition for kotodama, more's the pity.)

Works cited

  • Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam. Nagasaki, 1603. Tokyo: Benseisha 勉誠社, 1978.

Popularity factor: 3

L. N. Hammer:

In 1600 western Europe, recorders were indeed much more common than transverse flutes. The models of the time were not nearly as loud or shrill as the modern versions (like most instruments, they were redesigned in the 19th century to make them louder in the large concert halls of the time and to give them more range as solo instruments), and were specifically tuned to play well together. There's a lot of lovely wind consort music from that time that's rarely played now, except on period instruments, because we basically have only two flute models instead of the four or five called for.



Thanks! I had the vague idea that transverse flutes had taken over the south by then with recorders more of a northern thing, but on reflection I have no idea where I got that idea. (Too much Dutch recorder music?)

L. N. Hammer:

It's possible there was regional variation in popularity, but there's also a buttload of Spanish recorder music from the time.


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