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Tube of delight!

#1 2007-10-08 12:56:39

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Kyotaku

The discussion regarding the difference between ji-nashi/hocchiku/kyotaku has been going on for a while. I will here post a translation of a text written by Nishimura Koku himself on 'his' kyotaku.
The text is from the book 'Koku' which has just been published (only limited 500 copies) by his son,  Nishimura Koryu. It is a beautiful book with pictures of his artwork (Nishimura Koku was a Tokyo University of Art graduate) and kyotaku.
The text was translated by Agar (Noiri Kyosui).

Any comments on this is welcome!
Kiku


The Kyotaku by Nishimura Koku.

According to the ancient book of “Kyotakudenki”, the Kyotaku is a bamboo wind instrument  developed in the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD) by Chohaku, a disciple of an odd Zen monk  Fuke.  Chohaku’s flute was designed to imitated the tone of Fuke’s “Taku” bell, as used in mendicancy (religious begging) and was constructed with no finger holes, able to make only a single pitched note.

During mendicancy, Chohaku would follow Fuke. just as the Taku bell's sound`boon' would dissipate into the air, Chohaku would reply the sound `buun'made by his bamboo flute - this is why it was called Kyo-taku. (“Kyo” means false ). However that flute and its name have disappeared a long time ago.

Now a bamboo flute called 'Kyotaku' has been created by me, Koku Nishimura
I have utilized very old  traditional bamboo flute making techniques . After a number of  researches and trials, I was finally able to complete my own Kyotaku design, which is  a secret traditional craft. With deep low sounds we can calm down our minds more than with shallow high sounds. The longer a bamboo flute become, the lower sounds it makes.

Originally, my bamboo flute design had no name, however the flute came to be called Kyotaku after I was invited to a meeting of cultured individuals (Shiko Munakata, Kan Misumi, Katsukiyo Koyama, Kanji Koyana, Koume Akasaka) at the Nihon Club in Yuuraku-cho, Tokyo in 1954. At that time, I played a piece of music ‘Ajikan’ with my bamboo flute ; after listening to the music, they understood that my bamboo flute was quite different from Shakuhachi in terms of its length and sound, and that it needed its own name suitable to express the originality of this bamboo flute.
I told them about the story of Fuke and Chohaku and they agreed that Kyotaku was the appropriate name for the bamboo flute. After the meeting, the bamboo flute I created came to be called Kyotaku.
In creating a Kyotaku, the resonant qualities of th bamboo, that is, the sounds from  Nature are vitally important and should be taken care of carefully-  So far it has not possible to create Kyotaku through computer science. The quality of each Kyotaku is highly dependent on the quality of the whole bamboo.

In Japan, there are now several dedicated schools (Dojyo) to learn Kyotaku, and at each Dojyo, the Dojyo-master teaches his followers. Abroad, there are also many eager followers and fans of Kyotaku - in Denmark a CD called “Kyotaku” was produced and was sold internationally.
I am always impressed to hear Kotaku played around the world. Kyotaku is played only for the true classical music of Zen.
Presently many people enjoy the majestic sounds of Kyotaku.  And they are now trying their best to hand down Kyotaku to the future generations of our world.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#2 2007-10-10 04:38:05

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Hello!

Since nobody wanted to comment on Nishimura's words, I will try to kick off a discussion:

1. First of all, what did you get out of this text? What IS the difference between shakuhachi and kyotaku? (The reasons why I ask is also because I am not quite sure myself, and perhaps we can all help each other to clarify).

2. I find some of the things Nishimura mentions to be interesting:

Nishimura Koku wrote:

Now a bamboo flute called 'Kyotaku' has been created by me, Koku Nishimura
I have utilized very old  traditional bamboo flute making techniques . After a number of  researches and trials, I was finally able to complete my own Kyotaku design, which is  a secret traditional craft. With deep low sounds we can calm down our minds more than with shallow high sounds. The longer a bamboo flute become, the lower sounds it makes.

In this quote, he writes he designed his own Kyotaku design.... at the same time, he says it is a secret traditional craft.... Do you feel there is a contradiction here? Or what do you think?

He also clearly states his taste for lower sounding pitch. But is this enough to distinguish between shakuhachi and kyotaku?

Nishimura Koku wrote:

Originally, my bamboo flute design had no name, however the flute came to be called Kyotaku after I was invited to a meeting of cultured individuals (Shiko Munakata, Kan Misumi, Katsukiyo Koyama, Kanji Koyana, Koume Akasaka) at the Nihon Club in Yuuraku-cho, Tokyo in 1954.

So, if the secret traditional craft was not 'making kyotaku' before 1954... what was it then before?

Nishimura Koku wrote:

At that time, I played a piece of music ‘Ajikan’ with my bamboo flute ; after listening to the music, they understood that my bamboo flute was quite different from Shakuhachi in terms of its length and sound, and that it needed its own name suitable to express the originality of this bamboo flute.

As I suspected, I feel what Nishimura originally distinguished himself from, was the modern ji-nuri 1.8 shakuhachi. But why then insisting on distinguishing between ji-nashi shakuhachi today and kyotaku?

The reason for me to ask these questions is obviously not to test you guys out, but to start a discussion. I feel a discussion would be great help for myself to understand more.

Blow in peace,
Kiku


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#3 2007-10-10 07:47:55

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Kyotaku

Hi Kiku,
I kind a see ji-nuri as an "industrial revolutionizing" of the instrument, driven by the developing organization and complexity of the musical compositions.....I don't play the ji-nuri by the fire out of fear of cracking it, I play the ji-nashi because the chikuin and earthy, buzzy sound is much more relative. Maybe we're at a time where focusing on ji-nashi and kyotaku is that modern need to return closer to the source.smile  -kerry


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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#4 2007-10-10 09:12:05

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Kiku,
I don't think there was a contradiction in Nishimura's words regarding his Kyotaku design and using a secret, traditional craft.  It seems to me that he made some 'modifications' to an older design using building techniques that could be called secret simply because very few people had that knowledge passed down to them, traditions being what they are in Japan.  The more poignant question is: what modifications did he make to the previously existing designs? 
That would seem to be found in his comment about pitch; relative though it is.  How low is low?  At any rate, his comment was obviously born of personal experience.  Since the standard shakuhachi of his time was and still is the 1.8, it would seem that anything lower pitched than that could rightfully be called Kyotaku, though I understand that he was partial to 2.8 length as a suitable length and certainly the many that I saw in his house a few years before he died suggested that.
I suspect that the 'secret traditional craft' he refers to is that of making shakuhachi.  As I mentioned above, it was and still is something of a secret to most Japanese.
I think Nishimura's distinction between the Kyotaku and the prevalent 1.8 jinuri was only a partially defining aspect of the Kyotaku .  He clearly points out that a longer, deeper pitched instrument was a distinguishing feature.  The term 'jinashi' only signifies the lack of 'ji' in the bore which was typically a combination of tonoko and urushi.  Therefore, it would be quite possible to have a 1.8 jinashi that clearly wouldn't qualify to be called a Kyotaku because of its relative lack of depth in pitch and corresponding length compared to the standard.
That being said, can we distinguish between a Kyotaku of Nishimura's design and a jinashi chokan made by any other equally skilled maker?  Perhaps Agar or other deshi of Koku sensei could answer that best. -Jeff

Last edited by Jeff Cairns (2007-10-10 09:14:24)


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#5 2007-10-10 12:00:40

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Kyotaku



1. Everybody wants what they're contributing to be 'unique'.

2. Everybody wants to have a useful, important 'secret'.

3. There is not much new under the sun.


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#6 2007-10-10 14:16:13

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Well said Edosan.

I had one of Nishimura Koku's kyotaku for a while. It was a nice Myoan jinashi 2.1. There was nothing very different about it compared to any other good Myoan 2.1. I have also played some kyotaku made by Koku's student Tilo Burdach. They were long jinashi flutes. If there was anything secret about it I was not able to detect beyond the differences you find between makers anyway.

We make long jinashi flutes and call them "Taimu" because we like the name. There are a few ideas we put into the flutes which are if not unique, unusual, but they are not really secrets. Except the part about mixing Bombay Sapphire in with the urushi. That is a secret so don't tell anybody.

It is an interesting commentary that long jinashi flutes were so rare in Koku's day that a group of intellectuals decided that they should have a special name. Maybe they're more common now. Although I recently showed a Japanese koto player my 3.0 Taimu and she just shook her head and said, "Not available in Japan."

kikuday wrote:

Nishimura Koku wrote:

Now a bamboo flute called 'Kyotaku' has been created by me, Koku Nishimura
I have utilized very old  traditional bamboo flute making techniques . After a number of  researches and trials, I was finally able to complete my own Kyotaku design, which is  a secret traditional craft. With deep low sounds we can calm down our minds more than with shallow high sounds. The longer a bamboo flute become, the lower sounds it makes.

In this quote, he writes he designed his own Kyotaku design.... at the same time, he says it is a secret traditional craft.... Do you feel there is a contradiction here? Or what do you think?

Kiku

Maybe he means that jinashi had become so out of favor that he was a revivalist and that's why he says "very old traditional techniques".

kikuday wrote:

He also clearly states his taste for lower sounding pitch. But is this enough to distinguish between shakuhachi and kyotaku?

Nope. I have an Edo period 2.7 which proves that even hundreds of years ago somebody was doing that. However the kyotaku are clearly different than the typical 1.8 jiari around Koku at the time.

kikuday wrote:

Nishimura Koku wrote:

At that time, I played a piece of music ‘Ajikan’ with my bamboo flute ; after listening to the music, they understood that my bamboo flute was quite different from Shakuhachi in terms of its length and sound, and that it needed its own name suitable to express the originality of this bamboo flute.

As I suspected, I feel what Nishimura originally distinguished himself from, was the modern ji-nuri 1.8 shakuhachi. But why then insisting on distinguishing between ji-nashi shakuhachi today and kyotaku?

Interesting question because anyway the music is not new or original. "Ajikan" is representative of shakuhachi playing.

In the end Nishimura Koku was an interesting and good player of Myoan music grounded in tradition, but also adding his own ideas to the mix. If calling his long jinashi by a different name was part of his artistic process, more power to him.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#7 2007-10-11 02:19:26

Hans van Loon
Member
From: Steenbergen, The Netherlands
Registered: 2005-10-16
Posts: 16
Website

Re: Kyotaku

I had a talk about this with Tilo Burdach , my kyotaku teacher and maker of kyotaku , last weekend.
One of the differences of kyotaku with common ji-nashi shakuhachi is that there is actually some lacker in the bore, though very thin, sometimes a very thin urushi or just common lacker ( for example acrylic lacker ). the lacker is not to fill up spaces iin the bore, but to make a smooth finishing and to prevent moist in the bamboo.
He also told me that kyotaku have more work done on the bore than most ji-nashi flutes, are more refined, so that the sound is a bit smoother than on most ji-nashi flutes.
Agar, who translated the article, and who is kyotaku maker too, uses for example a thin urushi layer.


Kyotaku, the ZEN flute with the warm and serene sound

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#8 2007-10-11 03:16:20

Hans van Loon
Member
From: Steenbergen, The Netherlands
Registered: 2005-10-16
Posts: 16
Website

Re: Kyotaku

And another difference is, that kyotaku have an inlaid utaguchi.
Wether and how much this differs in sound is something I cannot judge.
Some say it does, others say not.


Kyotaku, the ZEN flute with the warm and serene sound

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#9 2007-10-11 08:18:11

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Thanks Hans,

Those statements seem to compare kyotaku with hocchiku.

Inlaid utaguchi, detailed work on the bore and a single coat of lacquer are pretty common with jinashi shakuhachi. But any of those things might be omitted by certain makers depending upon the flute.

Some hocchiku are more primitive, with no inlaid utaguchi, a raw and unworked bore and sometimes strange node configurations.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#10 2007-10-11 08:34:05

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Brian,
I posted this somewhere here before, but shakuhachi longer than 2.0 are typically not played publicly here in Japan if the 100 or so players that I regularly see in concert of both kinko and tozan lineage are at all representative.  That's not to say that they aren't played at all.  There's a picture on my out of date web site of me playing a 2.8 in concert.  It is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination though.
Edo-san, I completely agree with you elegant statements.  I think Koku-sensei was no exception, though like his kyotaku, he was an unusual guy and stood out visually in a crowd.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#11 2007-10-11 09:34:54

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1039
Website

Re: Kyotaku

edosan wrote:



1. Everybody wants what they're contributing to be 'unique'.

2. Everybody wants to have a useful, important 'secret'.

3. There is not much new under the sun.

Thanks Edosan!

I recently read an inspiring book for makers. It's not a great book in the scope of a great literary novel but it's perfect for instrument makers and maybe players. It's called The Violin Maker by John Marchese. In it, Marchese follows Brooklyn Violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz through a commission for a world class virtuoso violinist. The goal was to make a replica of a Stradivarius violin that reacts well for touring, and hopefully just as good a player.  Marchese starts the book out by posing the question everyone asks, "Did Antonio Stradavarius have a secret?" By the end of the book we find out that many could not tell the difference between the Strad and the Zygmuntowicz.  After observing Zygmuntowicz at work witnessing the passion he put into his instruments, Marchese surmises that perhaps there is no secret at all. Perhaps Stradivarius simply loved his work more than anything else.

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#12 2007-10-11 10:13:43

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Yungflutes wrote:

Marchese surmises that perhaps there is no secret at all. Perhaps Stradivarius simply loved his work more than anything else.

Namaste, Perry

Great! In terms of shakuhachi it sure seems that the guys who love their work make instruments with more soul than the ones who are just cranking them out.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#13 2008-07-09 15:18:48

david
Member
Registered: 2006-07-25
Posts: 71

Re: Kyotaku

From what i've read and heard, I think that the koku nishimura style kyotaku is definitley its own breed! He said he was trying to duplicate the ancient original shakluhachi that were originaly played. It seems to me that he created the perfect shakuhachi in terms of what the instrument is supposed to be! I've heard that kyotaku are not as dynamic and don't have the range of a regular jinashi, but yet that is what its supposed to be about...imitating a bell, meditation, serenity.....
Everything  since chohaku is evolution of the instrument! When you think about it..who put the fingerholes in (if chohakus original was holeless)? And why is the sect named after the crazy guy with the bell and not the guy who made the very first shakuhachi(chohaku)?
Nobody knows what chohakus shakuhachi sounded like or looked like. nobody knows what kyorei sounded like back then. I think it is wonderful what the shakuhachi has become! And it really is incredible the amount of variations we have on such a simple (the most basic) instrument!
Maybe Koku didn't feel he had the right to name his style flute a kyotaku, so he left it up to others.


david
'Listen to the words of no man; listen only to the sounds of the wind and the waves of the sea.,~Claude Debussy

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#14 2008-07-10 05:17:48

Frankenflute
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 23

Re: Kyotaku

Hello People

After looking at this discussion, I listened to my recording of Koku-san playing his brand of Honkyoku, and it seems to me that whether the flute is unique or not, his playing style is definitely unique. I have other recordings of early Myoan Players, and even they don't seem to be as stark and simple as Koku-san, there is a true "mendicant" quality to his music, as if he is starving and needs to retain his energy, playing only the bare minimum with the utmost of feeling. The recording sounds like it is recorded out of doors too, but I could be wrong.

Perhaps there are plenty of other Myoan style players that sound like this and I simply haven't heard them yet?

Namaste

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#15 2008-07-10 10:10:15

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Kyotaku

david wrote:

From what i've read and heard, I think that the koku nishimura style kyotaku is definitley its own breed! He said he was trying to duplicate the ancient original shakluhachi that were originaly played. It seems to me that he created the perfect shakuhachi in terms of what the instrument is supposed to be! I've heard that kyotaku are not as dynamic and don't have the range of a regular jinashi, but yet that is what its supposed to be about...imitating a bell, meditation, serenity.....

Well... I would then like to ask which shakuhchi is the "original shakuhachi"?
The gagaku shakuhachi with 6 holes? We know by now, that historical likelyhood of a Zen priest coming back to Japan from China with the type of shakuhachi we call Fuke shakuhachi in his hand and kyorei in his heart is very slim. Then which shakuahchi, hitoyogiri (which is much smaller)?... miyogiri?
If looking at Edo period shakuhachi, it is also clear that Nishimura's kyotaku is very different. First of all, most of Nishimura's kyotaku are around 2.7 ~ 3.1, which is far longer (and fatter) than most Edo flutes. They are in fact very different to the ca 120 Edo flutes I have measurement data from.

david wrote:

Nobody knows what chohakus shakuhachi sounded like or looked like. nobody knows what kyorei sounded like back then. I think it is wonderful what the shakuhachi has become! And it really is incredible the amount of variations we have on such a simple (the most basic) instrument!

Yes, that surely is wonderful not to know how it sounded even 150 years ago. And we should cherish the variations! I agree !

Frankenflute wrote:

After looking at this discussion, I listened to my recording of Koku-san playing his brand of Honkyoku, and it seems to me that whether the flute is unique or not, his playing style is definitely unique. I have other recordings of early Myoan Players, and even they don't seem to be as stark and simple as Koku-san, there is a true "mendicant" quality to his music, as if he is starving and needs to retain his energy, playing only the bare minimum with the utmost of feeling. The recording sounds like it is recorded out of doors too, but I could be wrong.

Nishimura Koku certainly has his own style of playing. It is bare and simple - and there IS an attraction in that focus and serenity in his music. I think that is what his kyotaku is about.

Some Myoan players can have that simple and serene quality to their playing. But Nishimura is in his own category, I would say. In my view, Nishimura certainly created a particular style fo playing.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#16 2008-07-10 12:56:32

Lorka
Member
Registered: 2007-02-27
Posts: 303

Re: Kyotaku

but do you need a "kyotoku", or even a Jinashi flute, to play in that minimal, natural way?  Isn't the verstality and perspective of the player a major determining factor?  You could play raw and simple on a jiari too


Gravity is the root of grace

~ Lao Tzu~

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#17 2008-07-10 13:03:45

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Lorka wrote:

but do you need a "kyotoku", or even a Jinashi flute, to play in that minimal, natural way?  Isn't the verstality and perspective of the player a major determining factor?  You could play raw and simple on a jiari too

Of course you can! And I am sure some may do so. The player certainly is the main determining factor, which is in reality what I write above as well.
However, timbre-fanatics like myself would need the jinashi sound to be satisfied. smile But that is just us timbre-fanatsics! I suspect Nishimura and Watazumi felt that way too when you think of how non-willing they were in making compromises when it came to ji.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#18 2008-07-10 18:48:29

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Lorka wrote:

but do you need a "kyotoku", or even a Jinashi flute, to play in that minimal, natural way?  Isn't the verstality and perspective of the player a major determining factor?  You could play raw and simple on a jiari too

Yes that's true. For example Kikusui Kofu made uncompromising Myoan music on PVC and wood shakuhachi of his own design. It sounded raw. The only thing that matters is what music you want to play and how you play it. Each player is free of course to decide which flute to do it on. At the festival Ronnie played a Myoan piece on a jiari 2.0 Inoue Shigemi flute and it sounded very raw and jinashi-like.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#19 2008-07-10 21:04:04

jdanza
Moderator
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2008-06-19
Posts: 85
Website

Re: Kyotaku

I've always been curious about our human obsession with names and categories... and particularly curious that Shakuhachi players, having had the deep experience, through this amazing instrument, to connect to what I like to call "Upstairs", can be so hung up on all the divisions and categories and schools... it's like building endless altars to Ego. When we blow Ro with all our heart and soul we are calling Spirit and becoming One with It. Does Spirit respond better to Kinko or Tozan?... does Spirit like Bamboo better than PVC?. For me it's about Soul and Breath. Is Tamuke superior to Kojo no Tsuki?. Is it ever... at all.... about anything external?. Information is fun... Tradition is deep and beautiful... but let's never forget the Essential.
I don't give a damn about what school anybody is or what they call their flute. They are either Connected Upstairs or they are not. I'll take the first one anytime even if they are playing a piece of plastic.

  When I was living in Japan I also played the Blues in a great little place called Inaoiza. An old bluesman told me the story of this young man who was obsessed with the sound of another older player, who was the leader of the band. He tried imitating him in every way... pic style, guitar brand and model, etc.. He still couldn't get "that" sound. One day they were on tour and they stopped at a second hand instrument store. The old guy picked a random cheapo guitar and plugged it to a random cheapo amp... guess what... there was "the Sound"!!!. It was a deep lesson for the younger player... and I don't need to explain it to any of you.

  Splitting hairs is fun and we all have instruments that work better for us. It's also fun to collect and compare... however, if we were stranded and alone in an island with a PVC flute, we would appreciate it so much!!!.

  Peace...

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#20 2008-07-10 21:21:23

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Kyotaku

jdanza,
     Love your post. Amen. A performance has soul or it doesn't. You can't buy it.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#21 2008-07-10 23:28:34

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1039
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Hey Pepe, great to see you here!

jdanza wrote:

...Splitting hairs is fun and we all have instruments that work better for us. It's also fun to collect and compare... however, if we were stranded and alone in an island with a PVC flute, we would appreciate it so much!!!.

  Peace...

Here's a photo of the first two shakuhachi I made. They were born on the Island of Kume Jima around 1995. I was on a theater tour performing in Taiwan and had a break for a week. My girlfriend and I found cheap tickets to Naha, Okinawa.

On the rush getting out of the hotel, I hastily grabbed my silver flute instead of my shakuhachi for the trip. And when I had a chance to blow a note on he beach, it was so apparent that I made a grave mistake. I was severely bummed. The sound of the silver flute just did not fit into the lush surroundings.

Then I noticed some drift bamboo drying on the beach. My girlfriend, bless her soul, always carried her Swiss army knife with her. So, put one and two together and there you have it, instant shakuhachi. Sure, the intonation was off but a simple tone was sooooo nice. I played these flutes all week (my girlfriend wasn't too happy with my new obsession!smile.

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/firstflutes2.jpg

The top one was the first but the second one was more successful - better aspect ratio. After finishing them, I bound them with strands of fishing net also found washed up on the shore.

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#22 2008-07-11 06:04:37

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Absolutely jdanza, I do like my PVC flutes too - also when I am not stranded on an island. I always demonstrate for students how well you can play on a PVC flute and how little you need anything more than the PVC flute!

However, I personal like the challenge of adapting to a bamboo flute that has all these chambers inside created by the nodes and the roughness of the inner bamboo skin. I love the time and effort it takes to get used to a flute like that - to explore with my breath the shape of the bamboo. I know I can never get a huge honking ro as many on this forum can produce, but for me it is not a matter of impressing people with a huge sound or anything like that. I like that humbleness of adapting to a piece of bamboo. It is after all the bamboo I learn from. That's what works for me, but I am also aware of that a lot of people from the modern schools would regard me as playing crap flutes and therefore having a crap sound. I have been told this many times. Oh well... I like playing these challenging flutes! smile

Seclusive schools is certainly also also a point that shakuhachi playing has suffered under. And surely that comes to mind when thinking about the way both Nishimura and Watazumi were so unwilling to make compromises. But I think we have to think of the attitude there was in the Japanese society at their time towards people who did not play 'modern' instruments and who did not play in the mainstream and seclusive schools. I think that is the foundation for their fanatic attitude towards jinashi/jinuri and other schools. We are lucky today that we have access to several schools, genres and types of instrument, which a festival such as the one that just took place in Sydney is a living evidence of. We are many players, who are trying to be as inclusive as possible and organising events. I can't wait till beginning the plans for the next ESS Summer School in Europe. I am hoping to be able to get min'yo shakuhachi represented - because I have no experience with it myself.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#23 2008-07-11 07:18:08

Alex
Member
From: Barcelona - Spain
Registered: 2005-10-17
Posts: 138

Re: Kyotaku

Hello everybody!

Jdanza, you speak truth man! Thanks for sharing those thoughts!  Ah, and fantastic story about that bluesman! I think the root of Shakuhachi controversies is that you get music for fun and/or artistic ego on one side, and spiritual quest and a search for meaning on the other, all bound up together, and it's very easy to get things mixed up. Also, like with many spiritual things, I think it's tempting (even normal) to fall into fundamentalism ("my way is the one"), seeking to diminish the doubts that arise ("am I doing the right thing or am I wasting my time in the wrong direction") when we don't have any tangible facts, or clear guidelines, so as which is the "real" way one must follow.

Perry, what a pair of beauties! I cannot begin to imagine the joy you must had when you finished the flute and got a few tones out of it! That must be a really intense playing experience. And you cannot get more in touch with nature than that! Great, just great!

Kilu, I've never played a jinashi (well, just once) but what you say about exploring the bamboo, with its nodes and particularities must be a wonderful experience. I play jiari not for any particular reason but becasue it's what I got (my Shakuhachi quest began with a wedding present), and I think it's important to just accept what comes and not be critical about it (well, it's a great jiari so I guess it's very easy for me to say this...). My search, and particular humbling experience, with my flute is trying to get the minimum sound, exploring the tipping points when silence becomes a suggestion, and the suggestion becomes a sound that then changes quality, always trying to keep to the lowest volume possible (well, I hardly manage, but the point of a quest is trying, no?). I find this exercise really inspiring as it usually requires (at leaste for me!) great effort and focus.

Salud y felicidad para todos!

Alex

Last edited by Alex (2008-07-11 07:18:35)


"An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he's "at" somewhere. You always have to realise that you are constantly in the state of becoming. And as long as you can stay in that realm, you'll sort of be all right"
Bob Dylan

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#24 2008-07-11 12:01:08

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1039
Website

Re: Kyotaku

Hola Alex,

Alex wrote:

...
Perry, what a pair of beauties! I cannot begin to imagine the joy you must had when you finished the flute and got a few tones out of it! That must be a really intense playing experience. And you cannot get more in touch with nature than that! Great, just great!

Salud y felicidad para todos!

Alex

Yes, there are no words to describe the feelings that came over me that day on the beach when those first precarious notes revealed themselves. That feeing is one of the reasons why I started making flutes, and is also why I enjoy sharing the craft.

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#25 2008-07-11 13:30:43

Alex
Member
From: Barcelona - Spain
Registered: 2005-10-17
Posts: 138

Re: Kyotaku

Yungflutes wrote:

Yes, there are no words to describe the feelings that came over me that day on the beach when those first precarious notes revealed themselves. That feeing is one of the reasons why I started making flutes, and is also why I enjoy sharing the craft.

And I very much hope I'll be able to attend one of your crafting seminars one day and share some of that passion you have!

Salud!

Alex


"An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he's "at" somewhere. You always have to realise that you are constantly in the state of becoming. And as long as you can stay in that realm, you'll sort of be all right"
Bob Dylan

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