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Kuse (クセ)

A single Noh play is made up of a combination of numerous shōdan, or “modules,” and kuse is one name for shōdan. Kuse form the principal parts of stories about the shite, sung mainly by jiutai. Mainly in the latter half of kuse, the shite or kuse often sings one or two transitional lines, which are called the ageha. Plays with two ageha are called nidan-guse, or “double kuse,” and plays without ageha are called kata-guse. Plays in which the shite sits in the middle of the stage during the performance are called i-guse, and plays in which the shite stands and dances are called mai-guse. The name is said to derive from kuse mai, a type of performance popular in the middle ages.

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