The word hayashi 囃子 refers to the music of noh performance. The hayashi ensemble is composed of three or four instrumentalists (hayashi-kata) depending on the play. Each musician specializes exclusively in one instrument.
- Fue-kata 笛方: flute player. Plays a transverse flute called nōkan (lit. ‘noh flute’ 能笛) or simply fue (lit. ‘flute’ 笛). Flute player schools are: Issō, Morita, Fujita.
- Ko-tsuzumi-kata 小鼓方: small drum player. Plays a drum called ko-tsuzumi (lit. ‘small drum’ 小鼓) or simply tsuzumi (lit. ‘drum’ 鼓). In English, this drum is often called ‘shoulder drum’ because it is held in the left hand near the right shoulder (hence the name 'shoulder drum') and beat from below with the right hand. Small drum player schools are: Kō, Kōsei, Ōkura, Kanze.
- Ō-tsuzumi-kata 大鼓方: large drum player. Plays a drum called ō-tsuzumi (lit. ‘large drum’ 大鼓) or ōkawa (lit. ‘large skin’ 大皮). In English, this drum is often called ‘hip drum’ because it is rested on the left thigh and beat from the side with the right hand. Large drum schools are: Kadono, Takayasu, Ishii, Ōkura, Kanze.
- Taiko-kata 太鼓方: stick drum player. Plays a drum called taiko (thick drum 太鼓). This is a barrel-shaped drum that is suspended horizontally from a frame and played with two sticks. The taiko plays for only a portion of a piece and only in a limited number of noh plays, as well as a few kyōgen plays. Stick drum schools are: Kanze, Komparu.
Monica Bethe and Diego Pellecchia