Study of Noh chanting (Utai) for composers
From 2010, a Noh performer, Ryoko Aoki, has organised "Noh×Contemporary Music" to commission international composers to write new pieces for Noh voice. So far, she has premiered 16 pieces in this series and she released her debut CD "Noh×Contemporary Music" in 2014.
In Noh we have our own traditional notation of Noh chanting, but it is not easy to understand unless you practice Noh. In this project, we explain what the basis of Noh chanting is and how to notate them in both Japanese and English online, in order to share them with composers all over the world.
written by Ryoko Aoki, Noriko Koide, Noriko Baba
supported by The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Nomura Foundation
The "doer" who is the principle actor (and character) in a Noh play, sometimes called the protagonist. Shite that wear Noh masks are women, old men and women, ghosts, demons, deities, and children. With a tiny number of exceptions, living (or supposedly living) men, such as priests and warriors, do not wear masks (hitamen). The shite often is accompanied by tsure, tomo and kokata (a child actor). Ths shite schools supply the stage assistants and the member of the chorus (jiutai).
The "side person" in Noh who serves as the secondary or supporting actor (and character) to the shite, and who may be referred to as the antagonist to the shite's protagonist. The waki, always an unmasked male, normally represents the objective position of the audience, asking questions of the shite.
Shite - Kanze, Hôshô, Konparu, Kongô, Kita
Waki - Hôshô, Fukuô, Takayasu
Musicians - Nô-kan (Flute) - Morita, Issô, Fujita
Ko-tsuzumi (Shoulder-drum) - Kanze, Kô, Kôsei, Ôkura
Ô-tsuzumi (Hip-drum) - Kadono, Takayasu, Ishii, Ôkura, Kanze
Taiko (Stick-drum) - Kanze, Konparu
Kyôgen - Ôkura, Izumi
Types of Noh plays
There are five types of Noh plays categorized by the leading role.
First Group : god
Second Group : male
Third Group : woman
Fourth Group : madness
Fifth Group : demon
The Component of Noh
Jo (beginning) [Waki] Shidai, Kotoba (words), Michiyuki (road travel)
Ha (break) [Shite] Issei, Sashi, Sage-uta (sage-song), Age-uta (age-song)
Kotoba (words), Kakaru, Ji-age-uta (chorus-age-song)
Kuri, Sashi, Kuse, Rongi
Kyu (rapid) [Shite] Sashi, Mai (dance), Kiri