Other percussion instruments

Traditionally, musicians from the gagaku orchestra perform any repertoire from gagaku’s three main bodies of music and dance. Additional percussion instruments are used in these works, such as:


1. San-no-tsuzumi


1A. Description


The kakko is replaced with the san-no-tsuzumi in the performance of komagaku. This is a double-headed hourglass-shaped drum of approximately 45 cm in length and with heads of 42 cm in diameter (18 inches long with heads of 16.5 inches of diameter). It is played on a single head with a wooden stick. The san-no-tsuzumi’s material is simple, limited to a single stroke by itself or preceded by a ricochet.






Wooden stick used to hit the san-no-tsuzumi

Figure 1



1B. Traditional patterns


Example 1 shows two traditional patterns of 2 measures.


San-no-tsuzumi -Traditional pattern #1

San-no-tsuzumi -Traditional pattern #2




Example 1



2. Shakubyôshi


2A. Description


The only percussion instrument used in all in kuniburi-no-utamai as well as saibara is the clapper shakubyôshi. It is made of two flat pieces of wood of about 36 cm in length (14 inches).  The side of one hits the face of the other in a single stroke to create sound.







Hitting method


Figure 2