Gagaku, meaning 'elegant music' is the ancient court music of Japan. It is one of the most unique forms of music in the world, influenced by music from India, China and Korea. By the Heian period, gagaku had become popular at court and an integral part of ceremonies. It is the earliest instrumental and orchestral form of music in Japan. The instruments fall under either the percussion, strings or winds categories. Percussion instruments include huge dadaiko drums, gakudaiko, the shoko gong, the kakko (small horizontal drum) and san no tsuzumi (hourglass drum). Stringed instruments are the wagon (6 stringed zither) koto (13 stringed zither) biwa (lute) and wind instruments the hichiriki (double reed woodwind) three flutes, kagurabue, ryuteki and komabue and sho, 17 reed pipes in a cup shaped wind chest. Listen to the seven traditional tunes on this CD and you can imagine you are in ancient Japan. The musicians are from the Music Department of the Imperial Household Agency.