Composition Tools

Compose By Numbers

Compose By Number: A step-by-step guide to composition for taiko by Kristofer Bergstrom

“2164” one of the fruits of the Compose by Number Workshop. PDF score, midi file, and mp3 can be found here.


Kuchi-shōga (shouga), kuchi shoka (shouka), kuchi showa (shouwa) — “mouth writing”, “mouth singing”, “mouth chatter”; mnemonic system of vocalizing taiko sounds and patterns in a type of solfege solmization; part of the oral tradition in teaching/learning Japanese music; different instruments have their own vocabulary (e.g. shime-daiko, chu-daiko, atarigane, fue); different groups or regions may use different vocabularies as well; thetaiko adage, “if you can say it, you can play it” is an expression referred to learning kuchi shoga first before playing it on a drum. 

Tatsumaki Taiko

Video: Kuchi Shoga practice during STI 2009

Kuchishoga Periodic Table

Videos: Example of pieces using this notation system

Here is a very rough draft of the score for the piece [Squarepusher using the Kuchishoga Periodic Table Notation]. It’s incomplete in parts and hasn’t been split properly into pages, but for the brave taiko explorer, it has the tone and sticking notation.

The Kuchishoga Periodic Table is a graphic notation system for taiko — including kuchishoga — for documentation and communication of a wide variety of sounds on the Taiko drum as well as movements.

See also: Los Angeles Taiko Institute (LATI)