On imitating the teacher’s voice

A small piece of advice for those who practice Noh utai (chant). If your teacher’s voice is that of an elderly man, it doesn’t mean that you have to sound elderly, too. What I think the student should do when imitating the teacher’s chant is grasp its ‘essence’, focusing on melody and rhythm, if possible simplifying the ornaments and embellishments that you might hear and concentrating on the core of the chant. Listen to how young actors (of the same group) chant and try understand what the link between their young voices and that of your teacher is.

Remember that imitating requires a great deal of personal commitment.

2 thoughts on “On imitating the teacher’s voice

  1. An important point, and something that’s easy to overlook or to not realize. I would imagine this is all the more an issue in Noh (ie more than in ex. kabuki), where there’s an even stronger sense of the voice carrying age, experience, a particular sort of depth of tradition within its sound that I don’t really know how to put into words…

    1. Thank you Travis. Yes, I guess this is something that one realises with time and experience. Although the student only has one teacher, it is important to listen to a variety of voices. It all adds up to our understanding of the chant.
      I would think that the same applies to Kabuki – or do you think the difference is that you can rely on more than just one source during training?

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