Traditional Japanese music is the folk or traditional music of Japan. There are three types of traditional music in Japan: theatrical, court music (called gagaku), and instrumental.
Japan has several theatrical forms of drama in which music plays a significant role. The main forms are kabuki and noh.
Noh or nōgak music is a type of theatrical music. Noh music is played by an instrumental ensemble called hayashi-kata. The instruments used are the taiko stick drum, a big hourglass shaped drum called the ōtsuzumi, a smaller hourglass shaped drum called the kotsuzumi, and a bamboo flute called the nohkan. The hayashi ensemble is performed along with yokyoku, vocal music, in noh theater.
Kabuki is a type of Japanese theatre. It is known for its highly stylized dancing and singing as well as the elaborate make-up worn by the predominately all male cast. The first instances of kabuki used the hayashi from noh performances. Later on, kabuki began incorporating other instruments like the shamisen.
Court Music Gagaku is court music, and is the oldest traditional music in Japan. Gagaku music includes songs, dances, and a mixture of other Asian music. Gagaku has two styles; these are instrumental music kigaku and vocal music seigaku.