Here are a few photos of the new shakuhachi. I’ve done this twice, and will do it again after a few days; my shakuhachi seems to be absorbing the oil fairly quickly. Can I feel the connection between the breath and the music? The contrast could not be greater! I’ll have to try to convince my teacher to get me one. The shakuhachi is a raw instrument and therefore its fine to experiment with it to find ways to control the sound to what you are trying to achieve. The shakuhachi experienced another major change sometime around this period, which while not as dramatic, was equally enigmatic. If one is playing honkyoku correctly, the performer is by definition, breathing correctly. That first note tells me a lot about how I feel: is the note stable from beginning to end? This technique exploits the ‘open’ mouthpiece of the shakuhachi. With the same fingering position, one can produce any pitch from D sharp (or even higher) to B natural (or lower). I’m very happy to have a 2.0 shakuhachi, because since I have large hands, a 1.8 is a bit small, and the 2.2 I have (made by José Vargas, who learned from Kodama) is a bit long for me right now. It’s been several months since I’ve posted here, because I’ve been facing some difficulty in my playing. It’s a very good instrument to start on as an adult, whatever one’s age. It first arrived in Japan in the 8th century as one of many instruments in the court ensemble imported from Tang China. It is highly … Play the shakuhachi Flute - Part 7 of 14. Precision bore design, good tonal balance throughout the entire scale. I’ve recently gotten over my issues, and part of the difficulty, I think, is that a jinashi shakuhachi is more forgiving than a jiari. Because each piece of bamboo is unique in dimensions, density and bore, getting a shakuhachi to play well is mostly an intuitive process. The shakuhachi’s blowing end is cut obliquely outward, and a small piece of ivory or bone is inserted at the edge so that subtle varieties of tone colour can be produced. I got to that stage were I no longer had to think about what my hands and fingers were doing. (Jiari shakuhachi have a paste called “ji” in their bore; jinashi flutes are just bamboo with nothing added. Within a few centuries after its arrival in Japan, it disappeared from official lists of Japanese court musical instruments, to resurface in an entirely new social context and with a totally different function. I would also love to get a flute by my other shakuhachi hero, and my teacher’s teacher: Okuda Atsuya. The range of most shakuhachi … Even though there are theoretically an infinite number of lengths (I own well over a dozen flutes ranging from 1.1 shaku to 3.1 shaku in length), they are all called shakuhachi. Their musical function was subservient to their primary one, spiritual practice. At first, it was hard to play any notes because of leakages. I know some makers will make a flute more or less to measure; you trace your hands on paper, and they can use that to position the holes. All of my flutes were made especially for me. I’ve had a great deal of pain at the joint where the thumb meets the hand. List of shakuhachi playing guides and books available. But it’s not just ro; you can practice -buki with any note. In addition to playing more stable notes, I’m also starting to play in kan (the second octave) which was very difficult on my jiari. Read more about jinashi flutes in this Wikipedia article.). One can change the pitch of any fingering position by changing the distance between one’s lips and the blowing edge. As my teacher said when I first encountered this note, it is the “soul of the shakuhachi.” But it’s a mighty hard note to play, and it’s probably the biggest hurdle for beginners after they learn to make stable sounds. Individual shakuhachi, even those made by the same instrument maker, can differ greatly in tone colour, ease of playing, dynamics and in other ways. Every day I play this instrument I enjoy the moments, and every day I can play a bit more, a bit better. After cleaning, it was suggested that I oil the flute, at least on the inside. So my teacher recommended, in my last lesson, to play tsu no meri buki, and especially to start by playing another note: either ro, or re then tsu, to ensure that I get the correct interval and the proper pitch. The shakuhachi player would chose a flute length that played in a range comfortable for the singer, after which the traditional stringed instruments, usually the zither-like thirteen-stringed koto and the banjo‐like three‐stringed shamisen were tuned accordingly. See more ideas about shakuhachi flute, flute, japanese. However, there are times when something just isn’t right and I can’t get a stable sound. Dec 15, 2015 - Learn to Play Shakuhachi Japanese Flute. The shakuhachi is a notoriously difficult instrument to master, but if its enchanting sound gets into you, and if you fall in love with the ancient repertoire of mysterious Zen pieces, then learning to play the shakuhachi can change you in ways that go far beyond the simple act of learning a musical instrument. For example, the two most common modes in honkyoku, if played on a 1.8 length flute, are D, E flat, G, A flat C, and D, E flat, G, A, B flat. Play the shakuhachi Flute - Part 5 of 14. I’ve learned to appreciate the notes that I play, and to befriend my frustration to render it powerless. Do I have enough breath to play it as long as I want? I prefer the sound of the jinashi, and all three of these have really grown on me as I have played them. The bamboo used for shakuhachi is called madake – ‘true bamboo’). This 1.8 shakuhachi was made by Jose Vargas. There are, however, many different length flutes which all go by the name of shakuhachi. Flute Playing Guides & Videos Instructional books, tapes, CDs & videos to help you learn how the play the shakuhachi and read the traditional notation. For example, all finger holes open on a 1.8 shaku flute produces the fourth line D on treble staff. At first I thought it was tendonitis, but it seems more likely that it’s arthritis. The Shakuhachi Yuu is a quality, well tuned instrument, available at a very affordable price for anyone who wants to play shakuhachi. It’s interesting how the sound of a jinashi changes as it gets played; as the bamboo absorbs humidity from the breath. The name shakuhachi refers to the length of the standard size instrument, the 1.8 shakuhachi. I tried out a 2.4 by Kodama, but it was uncomfortable. This year, I want to try to get a longer flute: perhaps a 2.5. “Eight” in Japanese is hachi. Master craftsman Gyokusui Konô made my three oldest shakuhachi, in the 1970s, when he was nearly 80 years old. Kodama was a student of Okuda Atsuya, and they are my two favorite shakuhachi players. Robuki, or blowing ro – blowing the note on a shakuhachi with all holes covered – is a common practice routine, and some say that every shakuhachi player should practice robuki for ten minutes a day. , Komuso — Mendicant Priest — Playing Shakuhachi. My teacher, Kiku Day, was also a student of Okuda, and there is a specific style in this school, called Zensabo, that focuses on natural, earthy sounds played on (often very long) jinashi flutes. And mostly on the music notation. Honkyoku do not have a beat, much less meter. As the new year begins, I thought it would be a good time to post an inventory of my shakuhachis. Frequently, each phrase is complete in itself, that is, a single phrase can seem like a “mini piece”, with a beginning, middle and ending. There are three or four main shakuhachi notation systems and many derivatives, but all are basically tablature. Nevertheless, they are still music! Staff notation tells the musician what pitch to play; shakuhachi notation tells the musician how to play the note. HOW TO PLAY THE SHAKUHACHI: A Guide to the Japanese Bamboo Flute . What other musical instrument has become less complex over time? You can then use the oiled cotton wool on the outside of the flute, if you wish to oil that as well. Its sound is rich and full, and it is my favorite flute. The further away from the blowing edge, the higher the pitch; the closer the lips to blowing edge, the lower the pitch. The latest news from the world of shakuhachi. The pitches produced on a modern 1.8 shaku‐length flute with the five finger holes alone are D (all holes closed), F, G, A, C and D (all holes opened). At my level, as a beginner – I’ve been playing for a year and a half, but I still consider myself a beginner, as my progress has been quite irregular – I find there are days when I go to play my shakuhachi and I just can’t get a sound. Shakuhachi can be studied from all walks of life: philosophers, artists, doctors, lawyers, housewives, secretaries, nurses, fire fighters, police officers, grade school students. By Alcvin Ramos. And this was certainly a good change. By doing so, the top hole of the flute is partially opened (pitch goes up) or partially closed (pitch goes down). The oldest repertoire for the shakuhachi is called honkyoku. What I tend to do is just play long notes, up and down the flute, to “loosen up.” The sound eventually comes; I’ve learned that there’s no point in trying to rush it. good for begginer and seasoned flautist.Play Jazz "TAKE FIVE" .play traditional music.Zen Shakuhachi. This would get into the raw bamboo and protect it from humidity. Shakuhachi Pentatonic end-blown flute with natura bell root.Japanese KINKO-ryu 1.8 feet, 23.6 inch . Click through to watch this video on expertvillage.com. But at one point a couple of weeks ago, it clicked. For the past few months, I’ve been working with a teacher of the Alexander Technique (who is also a recorder player, so is familiar with an instrument of this type) to try to figure out how to hold the flute in what Alexander called the “position of mechanical advantage.” This has made me rethink a lot of what I do with my body: not just my thumb and hand, but also my shoulder and how I breathe. Most of them date at least from the 17th century, with evidence that they may have existed in Japan in the 14th century. OPEN: When we play shakuhachi, we often focus on our lips, fingers, head, and abdominal breathing. This term means “main” or “original piece”. For example, I have a very long flute whose fundamental is sort of a sharp F (or a very flat F#) below middle C. With honkyoku, it doesn’t matter what the absolute pitches are, so long as the relative pitches determined by the finger holes are correct. But I found a much simpler method, one that doesn’t waste much oil. What I think is that the sharp edge of the jiara requires a much more precise air flow than the rough edge of a jinashi. A different length shakuhachi has different tones; not exactly like western keys, but since shakuhachi music is scored using a sort of tablature, and you play the same fingerings for a piece on a flute of any length, this means that the same piece of music on a different length flute is effectively in a different key. So I have to learn to use “piper’s grip,” which looks like this: Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Easier said than done! HOW TO PLAY THE SHAKUHACHI: A Guide to the Japanese Bamboo Flute: This instructional guide provides clear and concise information covering all aspects of learning the shakuhachi and reading honkyoku musical notation. All of his ‘good shakuhachi’, he asserted, were flukes…. Nowadays, makers tend to make flutes with fundamentals that correspond to the standardised pitches used in most music heard on your local radio. How to make a Sound on the Shakuhachi Bamboo Flute. So if you do have pain, which can be exacerbated by overuse of the dominant hand – if, for example, you have “smartphone thumb” – it is possible to make the switch, but it takes time. For example, compare the baroque flute with the modern flute; the early keyboard instruments to the modern grand piano. With its precision bore design, the Shakuhachi Yuu plays easily, with a clear, bright and confident tone. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of vintage shakuhachi that do not play … The same symbol can represent any number of pitches, depending on what length flute was being used. Because the embrochure, the technique and everything else is so different, I could not play a flute. I think many people with normal sized hands would be able to play with their fingertips on a flute of this length, but it doesn’t work for me. One could say that there are no ‘alternative’ fingerings; all are equally important. Master craftsmen are still the only source of quality instruments. Shakuhachi Notation: Tsuru no Sugomori 鶴の巣籠 (Nesting of the Cranes). Here are two videos of Kodama, the first showing him playing a piece of honkyoku, and the second showing him working on making a shakuhachi, then playing a bit more. 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