“Music” Terms

Kakari (カカリ)

Kakari refers to the opening part of a dance. Dance pieces including chūno-mai, kami-mai and haya-ma...

Kataji (片地)

The basic unit of the Noh music rhythm is a simple octuple measure, and the rhythm is called honji. ...

Okuri (オクリ)

The basic unit of the Noh music rhythm is a simple octuple measure, and the rhythm is called honji. ...

Tori (トリ)

The basic unit of the Noh music rhythm is a simple octuple measure, and the rhythm is called honji. ...

Honji (本地)

The basic unit of the Noh music rhythm is a simple octuple measure, and the rhythm is called honji. ...

Ōbeshi (大癋面)

A type of music played when leading actors appear in the second half. The music is played dynamicall...

Gakuya (楽屋)

Rooms behind the Noh stage where the performers to carry out their preparations. Gakuya usually cons...

Jibyōshi (地拍子)

A rule of rhythmic structure for Hyōshiai, or Noh vocals that match the rhythm. There are three type...

Honji (本地)

Nohvocals are classified into hyōshi-ai , or vocals matching the rhythm, and hyōsyi-awazu, or vocals...

Yatsu-wari (八ツ割)

The basic unit of the Noh music rhythm is a simple eight beat, although variants exist such as six, ...

Chū-nori (中ノリ)

A vocal style linked to tempo and rhythm. Noh vocals sometimes take the rhythm of the music, and som...

Ō-nori (大ノリ)

A vocal style linked to tempo and rhythm. Noh vocals sometimes take the rhythm of the music, and som...

Kakaru (カカル)

Acceleration of strength and tempo as the vocals and music gain momentum. The term Kakarurefers to d...

Yatsubyōshi (八拍子)

The eight-beat Yatsubyōshi rhythm structure is the most basic in Noh. The vocals that match the rhyt...

Nanori-bue (名ノリ笛)

Music played on the flute at the beginning of a song or when the waki supporting actor enters the st...

Hariban (張盤)

A wooden board used during practice or mōshiawase in place of the taiko, kotsuzumi, and ōtsuzumi. Th...

Ryochūkan (呂中干)

Noh dances are made up of eight-beat measures known as kusari, and the ji, which make up the musical...

Ranjo (乱序)

A type of musical performance in Noh plays in which the music becomes the focus. One example is the ...

Yubizuke (指付ケ)

One type of musical notation for flutes which describes the performance in lettering. When singing “...

Tsuzuke-utai (ツヅケ謡)

One variety of hiranori vocals. Sung with a relatively even beat, tsuzuke-utai is a lively vocal sty...

MitsuJi-utai (三ツ地謡)

One variety of hiranori vocals. Relatively unrestricted by the rhythm and easily adaptable to the eb...

Hyōshiawazu (拍子不合)

The vocals matching the rhythm, or hyōshi, are known as hyōshiai, and the vocals not matching the rh...

Hyōshiai (拍子合)

The vocals matching the rhythm, or hyōshi, are known as hyōshiai, and the vocals not matching the rh...

Meru (滅ル/メル)

Meru is used to describe the quality of both the vocals and music. It is used in contrast to haru, ...

Hishigi (ヒシギ)

Hishigi refers to a high, sharp tone of the Noh flute, and includes two types: a “hee”-type kata-hi...

Banshikichō (盤渉調)

Banshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, tradit...

Ōshikichō (黄鐘調)

Ōshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, traditio...

Haru (ハル/張ル)

Haru is when the vocals or kakegoe are sung in a higher pitch. “More haru” thus means “increase the ...

Komi (コミ/込ミ)

Komi are the rest periods emphasized in different parts of the performance, including the vocals, mu...

Kakegoe (掛声/カケ声)

Kakegoe are the vocals performed by players of the percussion instruments, the kotsuzumi, ōtsuzumi a...

Tegumi (手組)

The smallest musical unit used by percussion instruments (kotsuzumi, ōtsuzumi, taiko) in Noh perfor...

Okuribue (送り笛)

The flute playing that indicates the entrance of the maeba-no-shite. Usually only the flute plays wh...

Tetsuke (手付)

Music using percussion instruments. The rhythm units performed by the kotsuzumi, ohtsuzumi and taiko...

Shibyōshi (四拍子)

Shibyōshi, or “four rhythms” is the collective name for the flute, kotsuzumi, ōtsuzumi and taiko. It...

Sandan-no-mai (三段之舞)

A type of dance in Noh and kyōgen. The shitetsure or kokata dance the naka-no-mai, officially a five...

Bōfuri (棒振リ)

“Stick waving” – a type of dance in kyōgen. In the play Nabeyatsubachi, a man selling kakko, double...

Hayatuzumi (早鼓)

Hayashigoto performed in Noh upon the frantic entrance of the ai performing hayauchi (a servant info...

Wataribyōshi (渡リ拍子)

One of the rhythms used in Noh and kyōgen. The narrow definition is a sagariha performed slowly as e...

Hayafue (早笛)

A hayashigoto played upon the entrance of the atoshite or atotsure. It is played at a high, heroic t...

Raijo (来序)

One of the hayashigoto of Noh (a part in a play where the hayashi plays the main role). The hayashig...

Hayashimono (囃子物)

Plays that are sung and danced in kyōgen with a unique, bright and airy rhythm. These often include ...

Maibayash (舞囃子)

One style of Noh performance danced in montsuki or hakama (or occasionally kamishimo) in which the m...

Ibayashi (居囃子)

A performance style in which important parts of Noh plays are dance with the inclusion of the hayash...

Notto (ノット)

Notto is a shortened form of norito, which means a blessing. The notto is chanted by the role of th...

Seme (責メ)

In kyōgen, a movement where the enmaō or devil banishes a dead person to hell. It is played with th...

Netori (音取)

One type of special hayashigoto in Noh (where the hayashi becomes the main part in a play). The net...

Sanbasō (三番叟)

The dance performed by the kyōgenkata after the dance of the words of happiness of the Okina, the S...

Okinamai (翁舞)

The Shinto rituals and plays of prayer, Shiki Sanban (Okina), that must be included in a Noh play. ...

Okitsuzumi (置鼓)

A special type of hayashigoto (a part within the play performed mainly by the hayashi). The okituzu...

Oshikihayamai (黄鐘早舞)

See "Ōshikihayamai"...

Ōshikihayamai (黄鐘早舞)

One type of dance in Noh. The soft dance of a male spirit soothing a heart filled with bitterness a...

Sagarihanomai (下リ端之舞)

One type of dance in Noh. Sagarihanomai is danced by the atozure/tennyo in Kuzu. Sagarihanomai is t...

Tennyonomai (天女之舞)

One type of dance in Noh. Nakanomai danced by the tsure female god in Chikubushima and Arashiyama a...

Gaku (楽)

One type of dance in Noh. A dance said to take from gagaku, it is danced often in Noh plays related...

Hanomai (破ノ舞)

One type of dance in Noh. After female spirits, fairies or other spirits dance the jonomai or nakan...

Kamimai (神舞)

One type of dance in Noh. It is danced by the form of a male god to portray fluid, pure godlike dig...

Shishi (獅子)

One type of dance in Noh. In the latter part of Noh’s Ishibashi, it is danced to portray a crazed s...

Kagura (神楽)

One type of dance in Noh. A very elegant dance danced by a female god or priestess holding treasure...

Sagimidare (鷺乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Sagi, or “heron” is danced by a heron in front of the emperor on the orde...

Midare (乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Noh’s shojōmidare or midare is danced by a shite or shojō. The typical sh...

Shojōmidare (猩々乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Noh’s shojōmidare (or midare) is danced by a shite or shojō. The typical ...

Banhayashi (番囃子)

Banhayashi is where the all the utai of Noh are sung with the hayashi. Banhayashi is performed seate...

Icchō (一調)

Performance of Noh with one percussionist (kotsuzumi, ōtsuzumi, taikō) and one utai. The performance...

Ikkan (一管)

The performance of the hayashigoto in Noh by only the fuekata. The ikkan is more difficult than typi...

Nohkan (能管)

The flute used by the fuekata in Noh and kyōgen. The nohkan is also simply called the fue. As the no...

Shagiri dome (シャギリ留)

A style of music in Kyōgen. At the finale, the leading actor jumps from side to side and to his fron...

Shirabe (調べ)

Tuning of musical instruments done in the room behind the entrance curtain. Usually known as "oshira...

Deha (出端)

Used for many different types of characters, the order of the deha performance also varies greatly d...

Shōga (唱歌)

A written representation of an instrumental performance. There are two types of shōga, those that in...

Kyū no mai (急之舞)

The fastest type of Noh dance. There are two types of Kyū no mai, performed with either the fue, kot...

Chū no mai (中之舞)

A basic type of dance in Noh danced between quieter dances and faster dances by shites playing beaut...

Jo no Mai (序之舞)

A type of very quiet, elegant dance in Noh often danced by the shites playing beautiful women, tree ...

Shidai (次第)

One of the hayashigoto of Noh (a part of the play where the hayashi plays the main role). While shid...

Shōgi (床几)

The kazuraoke, or chair used by the shitekata, wakikata and kyōgenkata. The shōgi is around 50cm tal...

Inori (祈り)

In scenes in which a monk or yamabushi (waki) uses magic to fend off an crazed witch (shite), inori,...

Dan (段)

Dan is a segment of a Noh play. Noh is made up of a collection of dan, and is used in phrases such a...

Haya mai (早舞)

A type of dance, literally “fast dance.” Haya mai is danced by characters playing ryunyo such as the...

Otoko Mai (男舞)

A type of dance, literally “male dance.” Danced by male characters playing actual historical figures...

Oshirabe (お調べ)

Oshirabe refers to the hayashikata tuning their instruments before the performance of Noh. The hayas...

Atoza (後座)

The area to the far left facing main stage past the line connecting the shite-bashira and the fue-ba...

Kakeri (カケリ)

Kakeri, or “anguish dance,” refers to the movement indicating the deranged state of warriors that ha...

Issei (一セイ)

Issei, or “one voice,” is a short vocal sung directly after the entrance of the shite. They are ofte...

Ageuta (上歌)

Noh chants are made up of numerous shōdan, and ageuta refers to the shōdan or their form. Beginning ...

Ashirai (アシライ)

Written with the same kanji as “to bow,” this extremely widely used term essentially means “to atten...


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