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上賀茂神社 御戸代神事

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Kamo Mitoshiro Noh (賀茂御戸代能)
Kamigamo Shrine, Kyoto 

Mitoshiro is a divine paddy where the devotional rice for gods is cultivated. A special ceremony (Mitoshiro e-Shinji) at Kamigamo shrine takes place to keep the field free from damage by insects. The ritual dates back to 750 when Empress Koken presented the shrine with mitoshiro. In commemoration of the imperial devotion the Kanze style of noh is performed after the ceremony.

In addition to actors music has an important role in noh. It is composed of rhythms of the drums, reedy bursts from the flute, shouts of the musicians, and sharp pops of the hand drums. The instruments consist of a flute (noh-kan), an hourglass-shaped hand drum held on the shoulder (ko-tsuzumi), a slightly larger hourglass-shaped hand drum placed on the hip (o-tsuzumi), and a barrel-shaped drum played with sticks (taiko) placed on a small floor stand. 






























Ko-tsuzumi and o-tsuzumi

Ko-tsuzumi consists of a cherry-wood main body with two tanned horse leather heads attached by help of a linen cord. During a performance the player can breathe upon the heads of ko-tsuzumi to maintain a certain degree of humidity, whereas o-tsuzumi’s heads are dried before the performance and its cord is tied very tightly. O-tsuzumi produces higher and sharper sound than ko-tsuzumi. Further tuning of the drumheads is made by the application of small layers of paper (choushigami) to the non-playing head. The players bring out various sounds by changing the strength with which the drum is struck with the tips of the fingers.

























Noh-kan and hishigi

There is no other sound in the world like hishigi, which is a very high-pitched sound of noh-kan. This mysterious tone reflects ethereal powers. It calls back the spirits of the dead and guides gods down to the visible human world. 
Noh-kan and hishigi










The drummers also produce various unique shouts (kakegoe), which are very important in setting the tone of the play and expressing changes of emotions throughout the play. There are four basic types of kakegoe: yo, ho, iya and yoi. The quality, strength and intensity of shouts are very decisive in noh. Actually the shouts are more important for the rhythmic texture than the hitting of drums.