This chapter sketches the contours of recent Japanese scholarship on the musical recitation of sutras in and around the Japanese court, engaging directly with a number of recently discovered musical treatises. The essay argues that medieval acoustic and performance-based practices – and their attendant literature of codification (manuals, secret transmission records, and so forth) – opened an interlingual space in which the tones of Chinese were dropped, without syntax being altered to fit Japanese semantic norms, such that meaningful sound in Chinese was derailed without meaningful sound in Japanese becoming entrained. This, however, was not an emptying out of meaning. Rather, by dwelling on, swelling out, breaking through, and melismatically extending the sound of each phoneme, the performers turned the incommensurability of language with meaning into the object of an extended, vocalized meditation, which itself became appropriated, as cultural capital, by the imperial court.