uchiage


   Kabuki theater is a musical theater, with music provided by an offstage ensemble (geza) or an on-stage ensemble (debayashi). Geza ensembles are composed of a variety of instruments, one of the most important of which is the tsuke. The word is actually tsuke uchi, or "accompagniment beating," and is performed on the left side of the stage on a wooden board with two hard, wooden sticks. The tsuke player beats time to the movement of the actors' kata on stage. Mie gets four beats: one beat as the actor makes the first preparatory moves, and three beats slowly pounded out for the mie itself. These three beats counting out the mie are called battari. If the mie is particularly dramatic, such as the group mie that often close an act, the tsuke player builds a slow crescendo into the rhythm until by the beats roar through the theater, and then the beats soften, build again, and conclude in a thunderous battari . This type of tsuke playing, called uchiage, is the most exciting musical and performative part of the play.