Noh and Kabuki

Topics: Noh, Kabuki, Drama Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Noh Drama and Kabuki

Noh, the oldest remaining theater art in the world, is known for its simple and strictly defined movements, for its use of beautiful, artistically crafted masks, and for its unique form of dialogue reminiscent of a bygone age. Noh drama reveals universal human frailties, especially the ephemeral nature of love, and has a strong emotional appeal for the audience. Noh also weave into a story the inner workings of the human heart at each moment, while conveying inner tension and spiritual strength. A program of Noh always includes Kyogen; comedy plays that taught morality to the common people in medieval times and provided comic relief from the serious tone of the Noh play themselves. Most performances are in-door but the stage (butai) retains its original, outdoor design complete with pebbles and small pine trees. In the scene from the play Takasago on the left, the shi-te is the principal actor (center stage), supported by a companion, the tsure (stage left) and a secondary actor, the waki (far right). There is four different traditional musical instruments are used in the Noh drama: one flute called nohkan and three different drums called kotsuzumi, otsuzumi and taiko. Noh flute is the only one of the instruments that is capable of creating a melody. As three out of the four instruments are percussive, it is easy to see that the main characteristic of Noh music is that it is built upon rhythmic patterns, All of the drum players can produce various sounds by changing the strength with which the drum is struck, and they also produce various unique shouts, which help to create the rhythm. Also the Noh has a chorus of six or eight people, accompany the performance. Each performer has his prescribed place on the stage. The progress of the play can be determined by the positions of the two main actors. There are four types of performers in Noh, and the actors in each type are exclusively male. The Shite perform many functions, and have several...
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