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Shōmyō (声明) is a style of Japanese Buddhist chant, used mainly in the Tendai and Shingon sects.[1] There are two styles: ryokyoku and rikkyoku, described as difficult and easy to remember, respectively.

Shōmyō, like gagaku, employs the Yo scale, a pentatonic scale with ascending intervals of two, three, two, two, and three semitones.[2]


  1. ^ John Whitney Hall (1988). The Cambridge history of Japan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521223520.
  2. ^ "Japanese Music". Cross-Cultural Communication: World Music. Green Bay: University of Wisconsin. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13.


  • Hill, Jackson (1982). Ritual Music in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism: Shingon Shōmyō, Ethnomusicology 26 (1), 27-39

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