Buddhist musical instruments are divided into eight categories: metal, stone, silk, bamboo, leather, clay, horn,and wood. The metal instruments include, shoku (a large bell), hachi (large bronze cymbals), myo (large bronze gong), do-byoshi (small hand-carried timpani); stone includes kakko, and kei (suspended stone chime); silk includes kin, and biwa; bamboo has the teki (tranverse flute), sho (mouth organ), and fue (panpipe); leather consists of taiko, watashi-tsuzumi, and ko-tsuzumi; earth includes the kwan (clay whistle); horn and shell are kaku gai; and wood is a kugo (standing harp) (Harich-Schneider 339). Other string instruments include the biwa, so-no-koto, wagon, and the kin.
Noh had developed with its own music and dance, Nohgaku and Shimai, by the end of the 14th century. It is stylized and symbolic drama performed by a few male actors wearing masks. The music has two parts: instrumental and vocal. The vocal part originated from Buddhist chants and intonations. The instrumental part, Hayashi, includes the tranverse bamboo flute, otsuzumi, and kotsuzumi. The kotsuzumi is a percussion instrument held against the right shoulder and struck with two or four fingers. The otsuzumi is a bit larger and is held against the left hip as it is struck by three fingers of the right hand (Harich-Schneider 434).
Zeami used his genius to refine the art of noh to perfection. As a child, he studied noh song and dance with his father. After his father died, he took his father's position as chief of the school. He published his father's teaching methods. Later he published his greatest works: plays and treatises. He was the first Japanese artist to break tradional bounds of etiquette, tradition, and social protocol, and, as a result, he greatly influenced the development of noh (Harich-Schneider 421).
Tags: Music Culture