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Kotoba (コトバ)

Kotoba, or “words,” refers to parts of vocals that include words only and no notes. In chant books, verses are indicated with a goma note (given it’s name for its resemblance to a sesame seed, goma in Japanese) and the absence of a goma note indicates kotoba. Even though there may be no verses, kotoba in Noh are indicated with accents within the chant, known as hiraki. Kyōgen and aikyōgen include kotoba in places other than vocals, which are often called serifu, or “lines,” the individual cadence of which varies by school.

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