“Sandan no Hibiki” Kodo Performance Videos




Message from the Composer

I wanted to compose a One Earth Music piece centered around playing the O-daiko—the big taiko drum. I had an ensemble featuring O-daiko in mind from the get go, rather than just O-daiko. We haven’t had any O-daiko parts in the Kodo One Earth Music series to date, so I looked at a wide range of group performances for inspiration, considering different styles of playing and combinations of instruments. Through a lot of thought and discussion, I honed the piece into this particular shape.

It has a nagado-daiko (chu-daiko) rhythm as a driving force, and a shime-daiko part with the “ten ten su-tenga” rhythm—played as “ten ten s’teng”—that is often featured in traditional Japanese musical accompaniments. These two rhythms support the mighty O-daiko part, which adds bold accents and deep resonance to the mix. These three parts are the pillars of this ensemble piece.
In the video, there are seven performers, but you can play it with as few as three people.

I composed this piece with a traditional three-part flow—an opening, a middle section, and a finale. The first half has traditional Japanese accompaniment rhythms, which I wove together in a handcrafted, classical Japanese way. Part way through, there are surging waves of sound crashing up against triple-time beats, with the tempo increasing as it goes. It progresses into a punchy round of solos and call-and-response session, ramping up to a climactic finish.

In Japanese, this piece is called “Sandan no Hibiki,” which means trinity of resonance. Sandan means three stages or steps. This piece uses three types of taiko and has three parts, so the number three is a key element to its formation. Hibiki means echo or resonance. For this title, it’s written with a kanji character that can be read as “rai” or “hibiki.” This character is used in kanji compounds such as “tenrai” for sounds conjured above the earth, like the sound of the wind; “chirai,” also used for the sound of the wind, and skillful prose written in natural rhythms; and “jinrai” for the range of sounds crafted by humans. These words all served as my inspiration for naming this piece. 

This composition incorporates O-daiko phrases that every Kodo member learns during their training at Kodo Apprentice Centre, and rhythms played on small taiko (ko-daiko, or shime-daiko) from traditional festival accompaniments such as Chichibu Yatai-bayashi from Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture, and Minakuchi-bayashi from Koka in Shiga Prefecture.
While there’s a lot of repetition in the base rhythms, the phrases change little by little to help the beat move seamlessly into the next part as the piece progresses. So there’s a lot to learn. I hope you’ll dive into this piece headfirst and enjoy experiencing this Kodo-style composition firsthand. Please give it a go! I look forward to hearing your ensemble’s rendition.

Tomohiro Mitome

About Kodo One Earth Music

Kodo One Earth Music compositions are original pieces composed by Kodo, created so people around the world can enjoy playing our music more freely. Anyone, anywhere, any time.

To help make it easier for many people to learn and perform this music, we have:

・posted Kodo One Earth Music reference videos on YouTube.
・made free downloadable sheet music available.
・relaxed some of the usage restrictions, such as the need to request copyright permission.

Learn More


Kodo One Earth Music Around the World

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Kodo One Earth Music Around the World

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