Monday, March 31, 2008

Questions? Ask Chikuzen.

Please ask a question by simply adding a comment here.


Cornelius said...

This is kind of related to both the "new flute" tips and the "pick one note or sound" practice you outline.
One of my goals right now is to develop Kan simultaneously with the Otsu on my new 2.65 Taimu flute. I find my usual approach (slow, experimenting) in otsu produces an exciting variety of sounds and possibilities, and Kan remains more elusive for me still. I feel like this process is taking on a unique character with the Taimu, obviously this is a process everyone deals with on any flute, especially beginners or those with new flutes.

Chikuzen said...

CB, you can get a feel for the kan note if you play the otsu note of the same pitch and try to 'pull' the kan note out of it. There are a combination of things that are useful: getting your lips closer to the utaguchi will make it easier to find and so might increasing the airspeed. One great note to use as a base for this is the U no San note: close all the holes except #3 and play in kari. If you start this sound in otsu and then slowly bring the airspeed up, you will experience a lot of harmonics. If you keep going you will come to just playing U no San itself. From this note, it should be easy to play all the other kan notes. In other words, play U no San then without taking a breath change to playing another kan note. It should be easier to play. I don't know if this helps you.
The Taimu doesn't have the horn insert which the cuts the air and brings clarity to the sound. It also is responsible for the thinner walls of the sound in the kan range.You should be getting a thicker walled sound with that flute-I did with my taimu. It's just a different beast.
Older flutes I've played also have the thicker walls in the upper octave. They're quite different from the newer made shakuhachi out there. Be sure and keep your lips relaxed even when playing the upper octave.

Kaley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaley said...

Before I knew about the shakuhachi, i was looking into finding a shamisen to purchase. I do not own either of them, but i would like to. Do you know of anywhere in or around Cleveland that sells them?"

Michal said...

Hi Chikuzen.
Can I ask something about Taniguchi notation? Maybe I should scan some cloudy parts...
Thank you, Michal

Chikuzen said...

Sure,what's on your mind?

High Desert Dream said...


First of all, thank you for your informative site. I have many questions, and I guess I will just launch them here together.

I managed to find several videos on YouTube of shakuhachi performances. One thing I notice is that of all the ones I have looked at, performers have a 7 hole shakuhachi. When I look on, I only seem to be able to find 5-hole shakuhachi. Can you comment on the difference, both in terms of instrument capability and in terms of learning the two different types?

What sort of an instrument would you reccomend for someone that has no particular musical talent and is basically starting from zip?

How much would one expect to pay for a beginner instrument?

Is it practical to think that one might be able to teach themselves at least the basics working with a book? If so, what one book would you reccomend to a beginner to work with?

I found this video on YouTube, and found it astoundingly beautiful:
I found a little bit about the guy who made the video, but can you tell me anything about the music itself? (e.g., what key instrumetn is it played in? Is this an exceptionally difficult piece to play? Do you know the source of the music? Is that piece probably played on a 5-hole or 7-hole shakuhachi?

I have heard about the summer retreat in CO (Loveland?). When is that? Is there a link to information about that festival/retreat somewhere on your web site?

Well, I guess that is about all I have on my mind at the moment. I will look forward to seeing your answers! ;)

Again, thank you for your site and for sharing your knowledge and music with the Internet community!


Chikuzen said...

High desert Dream, you should look real closely at the flutes again. it could be a coincidence but I'm guessing most of those flutes are 5 holed. Most people use 5 holed-I do in all mu Youtube videos. I would recommned that you start with a 5 holed shakuhachi.

You can find a beginner's flute for $120. (shakuhachi Yuu) or Monty's beginner's bamboo flutes are around $400. You can check Perry Yung's site too but if you're planning on taking lessons or making progress get something other than the Earth model flutes.

"m a firm believer that you should get a teacher from the beginning and not wait till you develope bad habits, including bad habitual ways of thinking about this activity.

I'll have to check the youtube video later and get back with you.

The Boulder camp is great. Try I believe.

High Desert Dream said...

Thank you for your reply, Chikuzen. Actually I had already gone back and reviewed the videos I was referring to and concluded that I misinterpreted things. Because of the way they were holding the flute I thought they were covering six holes down the front, but I am now sure that you are quite correct: they are in fact 5-hole shakuhachi.

I can't buy a shakuhachi right now, but I hope in the not too distant future I will be able to. I see the licenses section on your website as well as the lessons area. About how many lessons would you estimate are necessary to get through the first grade license?

I will look forward to your answers and your comments on the video when you get a chance. ;)

Thank you! :)

Ryan said...

Hello and thank you for all that you are.
I recently recieved the 4 disc/LARGE book set of Yoshinobu Taniguchi's honkyoku transcriptions. I LOVE it. More or less, this set combined with the ISS Annals and the internet are my teacher. To clear things up, I am not a beginner per-se, as I have been playing flutes for about six years and have been making them for a year. I play every style of embouchured flute I have discovered thus far--transverse, rimblown, inter-dental, fipple, diagonal and, sometime, i will put some effort into nose. However, I have never put any effort into the study of tranditional styles on any of these flutes. Honkyoku is my first dive into really studying the compositions and styles of others. A lot of this new direction has to do with the quantity of information available regarding the philosophy of "zen music" as well as the emphasis on tone color and dynamics rather than melody and constancy...and this is what I am really writing a question about (forgive my wandering uncertain words) I am now realizing that not all people play with the liberal use of mura iki like long tones, flutter tongues, and varying harmonic coloring found in Yoshinobu Taniguchi's recordings. I have come across more music lately that is stable and sweet--even-keeled I would call it. I believe that Taniguchi's sound (forgive the lack of -san, -sensei, etc. I am unclear as to how the Japanese language really works) is more or less what would be called dokyoku. I have been very much influenced/inspired by the little I have read and listened to from/about Watazumi Doso Roshi. I saw a few of your youtube videos and loved them. What it is that I aim to ask you are your thoughts on the nature of the dynamic sounds found on the Taniguchi set. Do you have a philosophy built around this style of playing? I am not quite sure how to frame a question around my thoughts. I guess I am hoping that you have words that can give me a stronger relationship to this style of playing. Some sort of encouragement from someone who has progressed down this road and is continuing to march on. Some sort of fodder from a student of "my teacher". I will try to make it to the Florida Camp. Thank you for your consideration and your dedication to such a magnificent form.