Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Nohkan - The Noh Flute

The flute - called a 'Nohkan' - is the instrument that begins a noh play and signals the entrances (and sometimes the exits) of characters. There are particular forms for the moments before the play starts, and for the entrances of different kinds of characters - both human and supernatural. Unlike wind instruments in other musics, the noh flute is part of the rhythm section - it leads the drummers and the singers, giving them a reference point around which to base their timings (which, in turn, are based on the actor's own timing). This clip is the Nohkan entrance music for the first character in the play Sumidagawa.