Index of Intermedia

The focus of our website suggested that we design a graphic representation of a Noh, that shows how the intermedia characteristics of its various shōdan evolves throughout the play. Taking into consideration particular qualities of text, dance, singing, and music, as well as the type of coordination between them, we developed a ranking system of the shōdan by assigning each one with an Index of Intermedia (IoI), that represents the combined effect of its various media. While turning rich theatrical experience into numbers and graphs is highly reductive, but we found the abstraction informative when comparing the flow of intermedia development between plays.

The following explains the rationale of our ranking system for each media.


Because a shōdan with text contributes to the development of the narrative, it was assigned a higher IoI than one without text. Typically, the text of a shōdan is either in prose or poetry. Because poetic texts are seen as heightened artistic expression, a shōdan with poetic text was given a higher IoI. Finally, there are two methods of delivering text, it can either be spoken or chanted. Because spoken shōdan have an introductory function, they were assigned lower IoI compared with chanted ones.

IoI Text Expression Type of text
Higher Shōdan with text Sung Poetry
Lower Textless shōdan


The musical characteristics that determine the IoI are: rhythmic organization and instrumental density. There are three main types of rhythmic organization that we used for our calculations: 'unmetered,' 'non-congruent,' or 'congruent.' While a spoken shōdan is 'unmetered,' a chanted one is either 'non-congruent' or 'congruent.' The heightened artistic expression of chant dictated that both 'non-congruent' and 'congruent' shōdan rank higher than 'unmetered' ones. Because ‘congruency’ results in increased energy and is used in moments of dramatic climax, it ranks highest of the three. Finally, 'congruent' chants are either set in hiranori, ōnori, or chūnori. Ōnori and chūnori chants have a steady pulse, whereas those set in hiranori can have a fluctuating one. The pulse through the course of a play moves in waves from no pulse, to fluctuating, to steady. Considering the steady pulse as the targeted state, ōnori and chūnori chants have a higher degree of congruency than those set in hiranori, and therefore rank higher in the IoI.

IoI Rhythmic organization Chants
Higher Congruent Ōnori/Chūnori
Lower Unmetered

The correlation between instrumental density and IoI was direct – shōdan with larger instrumentation were ranked higher. Consequently, a shōdan with two vocal parts (identified with a '2' in the IoI ranking figure) were ranked higher than those with only one.

IoI Instrumentation
Higher Larger
Lower Smaller


Danced shōdan bring an additional layer into the intermedia experience, hence, they have higher IoI than those without dance. There are two types of dance: 'dance-to-text' and 'instrumental' dance. In the former category, the dance serves the text, as it provides a visual rendition of the sung words. On the other hand, the 'instrumental' dance, is largely autonomous. Performed by the shite, it is the expressive climax of a play. Because of this, it is the highest ranked shōdan of a play.

IoI Dance
Higher Instrumental dance
Lower No dance

The figure below shows the IoI ranking for thirty-four combinations:

IoI Voice Drums Flute Dance Hashitomi Kokaji
34 Strict Congruent Jonomai Maibataraki
33 Strict Non-congruent
32 Ō/Chūnori-2 Strict Non-congruent Kiri Kiri
31 Hiranori-2 Strict Non-congruent Kuse Kuse
30 Ō/Chūnori Strict Non-congruent Noriji 2
29 Hiranori Strict Non-congruent
28 Ō/Chūnori-2 Strict Noriji 3
27 Hiranori-2 Strict
26 Ō/Chūnori Strict
25 Hiranori Strict Ageuta 3
24 Strict Congruent Hayafue
23 Ō/Chūnori-2 Strict Non-congruent
22 Hiranori-2 Strict Non-congruent Rongi Ageuta 1
21 Ō/Chūnori-2 Strict Noriji 1
20 Ō/Chūnori Strict Non-congruent
19 Hiranori Strict Non-congruent Ageuta 1 Ageuta 2
18 Ō/Chūnori Strict
17 Hiranori Strict Sageuta
Ageuta 2
16 Non-congruent-2 Strict Non-congruent
15 Non-congruent-2 Strict
14 Non-congruent Strict Non-congruent Issei Kuri
13 Non-congruent Strict Waka
12 Strict Non-congruent Raijo
11 Non-congruent-2 Flexible Non-congruent Sashi
10 Non-congruent Flexible Non-congruent
9 Non-congruent-2 Flexible Kakaru 1
Kakaru 2
Kakeai 1
Kakeai 2
8 Non-congruent Flexible Kakaru 3
7 Flexible Non-congruent
6 Non-congruent Song
5 Spoken-2 Flexible
4 Spoken-2 Kakeai Mondō 1
Mondō 2
3 Spoken Nanori Nanori
2 Flexible Ashirai
1 Non-congruent Nanoribue

The IoI method was used to create the 'Shōdan Map' that visualizes the intermedia flow of the two featured plays. Hashitomi is composed of 17 shōdan compared to 21 for Kokaji. Their respective 'Shōdan Map' appears as blocks under the video. The height of a block represents the shōdan’s IoI, the width its duration, and its background color, the dan it belongs to, according to Zeami/Yokomichi formal model. Hence, our formal representation is an expansion of that model, by adding and merging with it an intermedia dimension.