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I'm looking at the liner notes for the disk
Volume I - HI KYOKU
In it, it talks about the first two pieces, Choshi and Hifumi-no-Shirabe:
Expressing the essential spirit of koten honkyoku, Choshi serves to help establish pitch and to center the musician. Many masters say, "If you can but master this simple piece you can understand the essence of koten honkyoku."
As an introduction to the study of koten honkyoku, Hifumi-no-shirabe is often the first piece attempted by the novice. This piece makes use of an intricate fingering technique that serves to limber up and relax the hands. "Hifumi" - meaning simply "1 - 2 - 3" - is usually considered the foundation of the koten honkyoku repertoire. By confining the music to the lower register (otsu) of the shakuhachi, tones are more easily produced by the beginner.
Okay, here's my problem: I have a Stan Richardson CD that has the piece "Choshi or Shirabe" on it. Is this song Choshi or Shirabe, because it looks as though they're supposed to be seperate pieces. Is this "Hifume-no-Shirabe" related to Shirabe, or a variation on it?
Thanks for any info you can offer.
Choshi and Honshirabe are the same piece. Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe is a different piece and the first of the 36 honkyoku learned by Kinko students.
Oh, wow, you're right. I have the Stan Richardson one and the Kohachiro Miyata version, and I guess they're played with different length Shakuhachi...I just never picked up on it before. Also, Stan's version is a whole minute longer than Miyata's.
So, I'm guessing that Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe is a more complex piece? Does it always go by that name?
Last edited by kyoreiflutes (2005-12-23 01:15:29)
I guess we're talking about 3 different pieces here.
Hi Fu Mi no Shirabe-simple Myoan warmup piece.
Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe-fundamental Kinko honkyoku, a difficult piece.
In honkyoku frequently one piece has several different names as in Choshi and Honshirabe. Other times pieces may have the same name but the music is different.
Yeah, I've wondered if there are sometimes naming standard differences between players over time. I've got some shakuhachi CDs on my iPod, and sometimes it plays what sounds like the same song twice, when it's just the same tune with a different name than the last piece. It's confusing, but probably won't be as much so if I can get some lessons next year.
I have some sheet music for Hon Shirabe (by Alcvin), and it doesn't look that simple in the least. I guess I have to bone up on notation and such. Also, as nice as the caligraphy is, I'd love to start out with something more formal. I'll just have to keep an eye out.
The calligraphy on Al's honkyoku sheet music IS formal. 'Bout as formal as you're gonna get...
It's called New Kinko.
I have the sheet music in Kinko notation for Choshi/Honsirabe by Tokuyama Takashi, Alcvin Ramos, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, Katsuya Yokoyama and Stan Richardson. Each seems very slightly different from the other both in terms of the calligraphy and when I listen to them on the CDs...all on 1.8s...but all are recognizable as Choshi/Honshirabe.
The sheet music to match Choshi Hifumi-no-Shirabe Hachigaeshi by Tokuyama is available from Monty at www.shakuhachi.com. It is three separate pieces...Choshi and Hifumi-no-Shirabe from HI KYOKU and Hachigaeshi from MICHI.
My brain hurts.
I guess I meant that I'd like the caligraphy to be a computer font, just for clarity. After I get notation down, then the hand-done caligraphy is great. I didn't mean any offense to Alcvin or Teruo.
Last edited by kyoreiflutes (2005-12-23 15:25:36)
It's not necessary to have the notation printed as a computer font to learn it, in fact if you wait around long enough to find something like that, it's likely that you will be too old and feeble to use the materials.
It's not really very difficult to learn to sight-read Kinko (or Tozan for that matter, but that's a different notation--I'd pick Kinko to work on first, then it's quite easy to learn Tozan down the line if you wish). It's MUCH easier than learning Western notation, because the symbols are not indicating PITCHES, but FINGERINGS. Things do get a little weird when you get into the notation for the higher octave pitches, because there are often more than one fingering for playing the same PITCH; the different fingerings have different tone colors, BUT you needn't worry about that now; the basic notation for the first two octaves is not difficult.
You just need to sit down and do it, BUT...
To do it alone (or even with a teacher, for that matter...) you will need some basic exercise sheets with the notation on it (not necessarily 'music' per se), and, hopefully, a proper recording of those exercises played on the same length flute you are using--this is so you can get a sense of the timing and of the correct pitches (and I'm not even talking about meri notes at this point).
One possibility: You can contact me off-forum and I can post you some basic materials. If you sit down with these for 30 minutes or so, twice daily, you will have the notation in hand (so to speak...) in about a week--basic notation, mind you, not the fancy stuff, but you don't really need it right now.
Once you've done this, it doesn't really matter who wrote the notation, you will understand it...just like you understand almost everyone's handwriting.
Let me know.
Also, for the development of some good basic playing habits, you might look into Nyokai's 6 videos: http://shop.nyokai.com.
Last edited by edosan (2005-12-23 19:34:46)
Thanks to Edosan for all the great materials. I start practicing today, as per my New Years' Resolution, and this will really help.
So, I was looking at the liner notes on the classic Koachiro Miyata cd, and it says this about Honshirabe:
"This short piece corresponds to a prelude or overture, and today is often used at the beginning of a program. The term "shirabe", which appears frequently in titles of Japanese instrumental compositions, means "investigation", specifically with respect to the instrument's tuning. The written character for "hon" means "central" or "primary", and with stringed instruments it alludes to the most frequently employed tunings."