"“For God sake’s people, it’s been the same Roku Dan for the past 30 or 40 years. We have new techniques today, new phrases, a whole new outlook on the tonal and technical possibilities for Tsugaru Shamisen. "
Yes, it seems that there is a whole attitude toward music that approaches it all as being finished (as in not needing to be improved upon or changed). Thinking about it, I blame the competitions for standardizing the songs, while fun, it’s benignly discourages innovation, suggesting that there is a “right” way to play music. Of course, they help hone your chops and are fun to participate in. The reality, though, is that standardized teaching, tests and competitions are an extremely new phenomenon and somewhat of a historical aberration.
It’s a cool instrument, why choke it to death? Let it fly free and wondrous (haha).
There are lots of innovative players out there, though.