There are many kinds of taiko drums, but they are roughly divided into two types. One is taiko with nailed heads, called byo uchi daiko. The other is taiko with heads stretched over steel ring and tensioned by ropes or bolts, called shime daiko. byo uchi daiko includes the most famous nagado daiko (also called miya daiko) and hira daiko, which has a shorter body. Usually, the word shime daiko refers to shime daiko that has a short body, used for accompaniment. shime daiko with a long body is especially called okedo daiko.
Nagado daiko is the most popular type of the taiko. A word, nagado means long body in Japanese. It's also called miya daiko because it's played in Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple. A, word, miya often refers to the Shinto shrine. In Japanese Shinto festivals, it's often played with the shime daiko and called odaiko (big taiko) compared to the small shime daiko. The sound produced is low, loud and deep and hears DON. There are various playing styles and special stands for them.
Hirado daiko has a thinner body than nagado daiko. A word, hira means flat in Japanese. The structure of the hirado daiko is same with the nagado daiko's. So it's smaller and has relatively lower price than nagado daiko, it is recommended to the person who needs many taiko. The sound produced is low and light. It's often set on the stand in the taiko performance and hung from the stand in the Japanese folk music.
Big nagado daiko is called odaiko (big taiko). Usually, it's bigger than 2-3 shaku size (the head diameter: about 60-90 cm) and too big to be carried by one person. It's played by two players (one player hits one side and another player hits another side). Or, it's played by one player as known as the odaiko solo. The sound produced is low, loud, and deep. It's one of the popular types of the taiko that many taiko players yearn to play someday.
Big hirado daiko is called ohira daiko. The powerful look makes the taiko performance great. The sound produced is low, loud, and deep as well as the odaiko. The difference is the length of the taiko body. Compared to the odaiko, the player can make thunderous big taiko sounds more easily due to the body size.
Shime daiko (tsuke shime daiko) is essential taiko drums for the modern taiko performance as well as the nagado daiko. Unlike the byo uchi daiko, the shime daiko can be tenshioned by the rope and the bolt. The sound produced is high-pitch and clear, and hears TEN. The more the taiko is tenshioned, the higher the pitch of the sound becomes. The thick cowhide is used for the drumhead and it sounds as loud as the nagado daiko does. Usually, it controls the tempo of the taiko ensemble by the high-pitch sounds.
This shime daiko is often used for the folk performing arts, folk song, the Shinto festival, and the traditional performing arts like noh and kabuki. It's often hung from the stand called teren dai. The drumhead is not as thick as the tsuke shime daiko's. It is tensioned with two ropes: one is used to tension heads and body by putting it through the holes and another is used to wind the rope and add more tension. The sound is more lower & muffled sounds than tsuke shime daiko.
Katsugi oke daiko is a kind of okedo daiko and popular among taiko players. It is made of the light material and the player play it by hanging from his/her shoulder. Due to the lightness, the player can move around while playing it. Because it's not made of the hard material, it shouldn't be played like okedo daiko and nagado daiko. It can be tuned by tensioning and loosening the rope. The sound produced is soft and bouncing, and hears PON. Unlike playing the okedo daiko, playing the katsugi oke daiko is close to playing the shime daiko. So, it can be played in quick tempo, too.
Oke means a tub made of wooden staves in Japanese. The body of the okedo daiko is crafted by the same technique of oke making. The birth place of the okedo daiko is Tohoku region, Northeast Japan. There were a lot of oke craftsmen and the culture of oke has been well established. In the festivals of Tohoku region, the okedo daiko is often used. It can be tuned by tensioning and loosening the rope. Unlike katsugi oke daiko, it is set on the stand and played like nagado daiko. The sound produced is harder than katsugi oke daiko.
Big okedo daiko is called ojime daiko. It is as big as the odaiko but not so heavy. It produces powerful sounds and strong vibration.
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