Saibara ('Drover's Songs') is the title of a genre of measured Japanese court song, traditionally believed to have been derived from the songs of pack-horse drivers bringing tribute from the provinces to the Heian capital and known to have formed part of the official court repertory at least since AD 859. From literature of the Heian period (782-1184) it is evident that these songs enjoyed great popularity at court as entertainment music practised by noble amateurs. Six songs are still performed today, albeit vastly modified. As well as being of value to musicologists, these volumes will interest readers concerned with early Japanese literature and paleography.
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