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#1 2008-01-19 08:06:36

Tono
Member
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 43

Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Would anyone care to voice an evaluation of the tonal response of a Nelson Zink utility flute with a radical cut utaguchi?

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#2 2008-01-19 09:52:55

Seth
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From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

What's tonal response?

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#3 2008-01-19 14:33:53

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

I bought one of his "Utility" flutes and while it was cosmetically nice, it is not possible to play traditional Japanese music on it or execute traditional shakuhachi techniques. I would guess he is approaching the flutes from a scientific perspective rather than a musical one, but we play music and a specific kind at that. His website is full of fascinating information, some of which is useful and some is dead wrong. Therefore you have to be careful what you take in.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#4 2008-01-19 17:49:53

Tono
Member
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 43

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Tonal response, this technique, in particular:

"If you're really into pitch bending, there's a radical overcut which will allow bending up to two full notes." ?

see http://www.navaching.com/shaku/utility.html

Thank you, Tairaku.  In your opinion, what would be some of the information that is wrong?

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#5 2008-01-19 18:11:44

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
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Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Tono wrote:

Thank you, Tairaku.  In your opinion, what would be some of the information that is wrong?

Well, Nelson has put a tremendous amount of work into his research so I don't like to cast it in an unfavorable light. However he starts from a first principle that it's the empty space that matters, not the material the flute is made of. That's wrong. So if you start from that many of the things that follow will be based upon a false premise.

He says:

"Flute Material

There is a common belief that the material from which a flute is constructed defines the character of its sound. This misconception has been put to rest by countless studies and experiments. The quality of any particular flute sound is the result of the geometry of its air column--including the holes and blowing mechanism. The sound of a flute comes from the shape of its air, not the material from which the flute is constructed.

The large tone holes of a silver Boehm flute give it a much brighter tone than that of a Baroque wooden flute with its necessarily rather small finger holes. In the case of these two flute examples, it's hole size (see Cutoff Frequency below) which accounts for different timbre rather than material. Its common to ascribe this tonal difference to the difference between silver and wood as bore materials, but this is erroneous.

There are those who will persist in the "material equals sound" belief as it's the result of associative thinking. Mistaking the menu for the meal, the map for the territory. Bamboo flutes don't have a 'bamboo' sound, they have 'bamboo' geometry. Change the geometry of a bamboo flute and you can make it sound like any 'material' you want. As one example, in shorter shakuhachi hole size begins to catch up with bore and so they are often characterized as 'brilliant'."

I don't buy the notion that material doesn't matter. This is based upon thousands of hours of blowing shakuhachi made from glass, wood, plastic, kelp, metal and of course different kinds of bamboo.

Judge a tree by its fruit and Nelson's flute simply doesn't prove his theories.

Still his website is wonderful and full of good reading and thought provoking ideas. In terms of basic ideas about geometry it's a good resource. But he presents certain opinions as facts and that could be misleading.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#6 2008-01-19 18:23:15

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
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Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Tono wrote:

Tonal response, this technique, in particular:

"If you're really into pitch bending, there's a radical overcut which will allow bending up to two full notes." ?

The one I had had an utaguchi which had a severe oval shaped mouthpiece which made it impossible to play meri notes, therefore Japanese music. I was really puzzled why he would "improve" a time-tested design in such a way without checking to see if you could play shakuhachi music on it. Maybe he is only testing ro, tsu, re, chi, ri.

But if he has corrected that I would be willing to re-evaluate them.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#7 2008-01-19 18:40:00

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Tairaku-

Just to clarify something from your post.  Nelson's claim that the character of the sound is all about the empty space and that it has nothing to do with the material of the flute is not just his opinion.  Actually, the scientific and objective evidence is firmly on his side of the issue.   And furthermore I have heard other shakuhachi experts back him up on this claim. (One being Monty Levenson.) 

But, with that said, I also think they are all wrong.  For me it is totally obvious when I am hearing bamboo, as opposed to wood, as opposed to pvc pipe and so on...    (And the evidence that this theory is wrong is obvious: If the material did not matter, someone long ago would have created mass produced plastic flutes that sound as good and as loud and as rich as any master instrument from any master maker.  This clearly has not happened.)

I would love to encounter someone who could explain to me why the scientific evidence, which I respect, is counter to our actual listening experience. 

My best guess to explain the contradiction above is that the basic tone of a note is determined strictly by the empty space of the bore.  For instance if a flute of the same dimensions is made from glass or wood or bamboo, I understand that a D will be a D no matter what.   And perhaps the scientists have been focused on this limited aspect of the instrument's sound.  So on this point science and Nelson are right.

But perhaps the sound of the shakuhachi is also influenced by many other vibrational characteristics that are dictated by the instrument's material and not by empty space?  And maybe science has simply not delved far enough into these these other areas of sound character to really provide a full explanation for what our ears are experiencing?   

Of course the above is just wild speculation, but again I am just looking for some way to reconcile the obvious tension between the science and my ears.

I know this is a replay of a very classic shakuhachi fight, but would really enjoy reading someone's educated effort to reconcile this divide.  For me just saying the science is wrong is somehow not enough.

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#8 2008-01-19 18:52:32

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
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Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Seth wrote:

For me just saying the science is wrong is somehow not enough.

I can't prove it's wrong nor do I feel the need to prove it. As a musician my obligation to myself and the listeners is to play the best instruments I can find, not to prove a dubious claim right or wrong based strictly on theories. If he says his flutes prove his theories then they have to sound better than traditional shakuhachi or he hasn't proved it. Same goes for Yuu, cast bore or anyone else who thinks that way.

But I think the dialogue is good and I don't mean to ridicule anybody's theories or opinions. Good shakuhachi making is a combination of instinct and science. Go too far in one direction or the other and you lose something.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#9 2008-01-19 19:50:23

indigo
Member
From: Brooklyn, New York
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 52

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Dear Seth and everyone

I have a large bore 2.3 B flat grey pvc flute made by Nelson Zink that is played often because it needs no special storage conditions like my bamboo flutes.  The flute arrived with the strange utaguchi which was played once or twice before I sanded it off so that the utaguchi shape is conventional now.  At that time and now I have absolutely no interest in another type of flute.  The flute with the strange utaguchi is not a shakuhachi that could play choshi relative to a traditional instrument. As my playing improves the possibilities of this flute expand.  With a little patience almost any honkyoku can be attempted.  The bore size is consistently 23 to 24 mm in diameter.  Except for a slight bend the bore is perfectly consistent.  Nelson may have touched it here and there inside yielding minute changes.  The sound of the flute has the feel of plasticity, a kind of softness and is easy to blow much sharper than the b flat tuning would dictate.  Some days it sounds in tune some days completely some where else.
So I play to the flute  to my ear and not to some standard pitch like I practice the bamboo 1.8.  I am very happy to have this flute and wonder if there are great possibilities within this flute that have not been discovered.  That said  I vastly prefer the bamboo for sound quality and timbre etc.

Since sound is transmitted vibration on the molecular level of what we call air I think that the vessel that holds the vibration matters absolutely.  Simply put the subtle changes of shape in a bamboo column cannot be duplicated by pvc pipe and the regularity of pvc cannot be compared with bamboo or reeds etc.  The subtle changes within a bamboo column would certainly effect air vibration  on a molecular level.  Since bamboo is a definable substance there would be similarity of sound from bamboo flute to bamboo flute.  With many thanks to the flute makers for teasing out the best of sound qualities with their patient and hard work.

I have done some acoustic work in recording studios and it seems  that for reflective surfaces many acoustic designers prefer wood and sometimes stone (irregular shapes).  We had a great success with tung and grove western cedar finished with walnut oil so that the surface could retain its soft quality.  Regularity of shape seems to cause problems in recording studios such as standing waves and strange decay patterns etc.  Therefore surfaces are not parallel and the surfaces vary from reflective to absorbing  with lots of dual reflective absorbing panels etc.
All of this variation in space fabrication to capture clear and direct vibrations of voice and instruments etc.

This is my intuitive understanding based on the practical experience of making a room sound good.  I have also noticed that old wood paneled theaters are fun acousticly as well, especially for unmiked voice.

Texture, feeling and sound are perhaps not numbered yet in as great detail as our experience.

Happy New Year Everybody

indigo

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#10 2008-01-19 22:44:42

dstone
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From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
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Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Nelson) who question assumptions about shape and materials and their significance.

Questions I think about...
1. When I play a jiari flute, am I hearing primarily the bamboo of the flute or am I hearing primarily the characteristics of tonoko and urushi?  Cement, resin, lacquer.
2. Would a jiari flute sound much different if its (already man-made) bore lining was replaced by stone or glass or heavy impregnated plastic?
3. What if the normal jiari flute lined with ji became more and more ji and less and less bamboo?  Maybe 50/50. Maybe 75/25.  Maybe only a bamboo skin.  When does the sound start to change?

These are fun questions even if I don't want to play a perfect plastic flute.  I think the understanding is useful, don't you?

-Darren.

Last edited by dstone (2008-01-19 22:45:28)


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#11 2008-01-20 04:50:26

udo.jeromin
Member
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 72

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

dstone wrote:

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Nelson) who question assumptions about shape and materials and their significance.

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Tairaku) who question science.

The purpose of science is to produce "maps" of reality: theories that help us understand our environment.  These theories are neither to be mistaken for reality nor are they accurate images of reality (just take a map of an area you know well or are in and compare it to what you see in "reality").
So, if science claims that material of a flute is irrelevant and only its geometry matters then that's a theory which
a) is easy enough for scientists to understand and compute,
b) is to be understood as a rough "guide", not as "reality".
That's at least my view of what science is and does, after working for over 15 years in what many would call scientific research (I'm a mathematician, a geometer to be more exact).

Shakuhachi is difficult (each piece of bamboo is different in geometry, when you put down an instrument and pick up the next your embochure is likely to change, etc) so try (high quality) recorders, same model and manufacturer but different woods.  My experience is that they sound differently.  So, I agree with Tairaku.

Cheers, udo.

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#12 2008-01-20 09:31:07

Tono
Member
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 43

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Both Nelson and Tairaku contribute much effort to further the appreciation and development of the shakuhachi.  It's helpful to me when a master respectfully exchanges ideas, facts and opinions openly.
Bamboo is an amazing flute material, and many substitutes try to imitate its look, sound and affect.  In shakuhachi sound therapy, would it be as effective to heal with a shakuhachi made out of dried horsepies or cowpies?  Bamboo grows healthy on it.  Would people?
I agree with Tairaku that whatever the material, it just doesn't feel the same as bamboo.  My ears are not as attuned as well as the perceptive hearing of Tairaku.  I've heard that a few, after years of appreciation, become connoisseurs of tone, and can even tell the age of a shakuhachi from its sound.  I can't, that esron plastic pipe in Yasuda Shinpu's recording of Ajikan sounds like good bamboo to my tin ears. 
Some of Nelson's ideas are fascinating.  My favorite is his tung oil frying process to make crack proof bamboo.
Ken, Monty, Perry (alpha) anyone experiment using that curing method?  I'm having fun looking forward to trying a utility flute soon to test Nelson's  space theory in action.

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#13 2008-01-20 11:41:30

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Hello Tono and eveyone,

Tono wrote:

Both Nelson and Tairaku contribute much effort to further the appreciation and development of the shakuhachi.  It's helpful to me when a master respectfully exchanges ideas, facts and opinions openly.
Bamboo is an amazing flute material, and many substitutes try to imitate its look, sound and affect.  In shakuhachi sound therapy, would it be as effective to heal with a shakuhachi made out of dried horsepies or cowpies?  Bamboo grows healthy on it.  Would people?

When I went to Japan to studying shakuhachi making, I had a few choices between different makers I could go with. I decide on Kinya Sogawa because, among many other things, I felt a kindred spirit. Aside from making the modern jiari, he makes all kinds of other flutes and approaches his work with genuine curiosity.  He makes lots of PVC flutes for unique recording or performing situations. In a performance we collaborated on, he blew a water shakuhachi where he dipped the open end of the flute in a bucket of water to get wacky harmonics. Very few shakuhachi players approach their playing with this kind of openness. If you are interested in sound or music, it doesn't matter what the material is. I've led several PVC shakuhachi making workshops and the participants were always very happy to leave with an instrument they made by themselves.

I agree with Tairaku that whatever the material, it just doesn't feel the same as bamboo.  My ears are not as attuned as well as the perceptive hearing of Tairaku.  I've heard that a few, after years of appreciation, become connoisseurs of tone, and can even tell the age of a shakuhachi from its sound.  I can't, that esron plastic pipe in Yasuda Shinpu's recording of Ajikan sounds like good bamboo to my tin ears.

It seems that what we are talking about here is more about how it feels for the player as opposed to how it sounds for the listener?
There was a famous violin blind test where they had the top violinists play fine old Italian violins including a Stradivarius next to lesser quality modern ones for the discerning ears of famous conductors. None of them were able to successfully identify the superior ones from the inferior ones. Of course this was just one test.

BTW, because of the nature of my work I often have a lot of flutes passing through my shop. Once, I had three Yuus sitting around. I noticed hat they each played differently. That was due to the finisher. The utaguchi and finger holes were not exactly the same on all three. This tells me that only the bore was cast-able and the finger holes and utaguchi were not - those things had to be hand done. As a result, each played slightly differently. One utaguchi dip was slightly higher than the other two. One had holes better undercut than others etc...interesting stuff huh? The same goes for all the wood flutes that come through my shop - some are better than others because of the finisher.

Here's one I refurbished last week that was purchased on eBay as a bamboo flute.

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

It was a little "customized". Unfortunately, not for the better.

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/lk2.jpg

I refurbished the utaguchi to proper angles and dip and fine tuned the holes so that the second octave Hi Go and Ha noted played better.  Wooden flutes are not bad at all. A lot of time went into designing and manufacturing the proper bore profile. In the end, how well the instrument is hand finished determines it's playability.

Some of Nelson's ideas are fascinating.  My favorite is his tung oil frying process to make crack proof bamboo.
Ken, Monty, Perry (alpha) anyone experiment using that curing method?  I'm having fun looking forward to trying a utility flute soon to test Nelson's  space theory in action.

I've never cooked a piece of bamboo, only removed the oils through aburanuki. A friend gave me one of those smoked Madake pieces from Mejiro that smells like, according to Monty, a Ham and Cheese sandwich and that one cracked.

Your posts raises a lot of issues that I wish I had more time to address. But, I would like to leave you with this email correspondence I had with David Duncavage where I ask him about his approach to shakuhachi making. This was his reply. I clipped it from the Flutemaking section:

David Duncavage wrote:

"In traditional shakuhachi making, much of the mechanics (bending, utaguchi insertion, nakatsugi, hole drilling, root shaving….) can be learned fairly quickly by anyone who is reasonably skilled at basic craftsmanship.  But the bottom line is “birthing the sound”.  There is a sound in each bamboo that we strive to release.  In order to do this, you need to play reasonably well I believe.  In fact, that was the first bit of advice Tom Deaver gave me well over twenty years ago.  An equally important part has to do with ones spirituality I believe.  Yes, being trained in physics and engineering, I understand that the sound is a result of fundamental principles of acoustics.  But no human made measuring device can equal what happens when our basic senses become at rest within the dimension of the spirit.  Yes, through the advances of modern science and technology we can “see” deep into the world of quantum mechanics, make incredibly complicated integrated circuits like the Pentium chips, and see evidence of the Big Bang in galaxies flying away from us at difficult to comprehend speeds.  But measure the “holistic warmth” of a tsu sound, measure or gauge why some sounds from a particular piece of bamboo resonate in the chest of one person and not another … science may have a way to explain it, and perhaps point to it, perhaps measure part of it.  But give one a solid roadmap to recreate it in a naturally varying medium like bamboo?   I think not.  Ultimately, it comes down to the craftsperson working with the bamboo in a spirit of gratefulness that “sets the stage” for the bamboo to sing its song.  I always tell people who bought a flute from me that the flute is incomplete without a player.  The last step in making a great shakuhachi is the person who plays it. - David Duncavage, September, 2007

Science helps us understand our physical world. Art helps us understand those things we can not see. Shakuhachi making is a balance of the two.

Looking forward to seeing your PVC flutes in OZ!
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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#14 2008-01-20 15:24:17

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3203
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Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

udo.jeromin wrote:

dstone wrote:

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Nelson) who question assumptions about shape and materials and their significance.

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Tairaku) who question science.

I wouldn't dare to question science! My wife is a very prominent scientist and she would kick me out of the house if I did that! wink

But science requires proof of the hypothesis and nobody has proven that plastic flutes sound better than (good) bamboo flutes.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#15 2008-01-20 15:38:30

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Yungflutes wrote:

There was a famous violin blind test where they had the top violinists play fine old Italian violins including a Stradivarius next to lesser quality modern ones for the discerning ears of famous conductors. None of them were able to successfully identify the superior ones from the inferior ones. Of course this was just one test.

Aside from it being only one test, it's a flawed test because it's not double-blind. The player is going to know the difference in the instrument and is likely to play it differently, whether deliberatly or not, to get the best sound out. If someone could devise a double-blind test, maybe then the question will be definitively answered, but it seems like the only way this could be done is with a robotic player and that's a major feat in itself.

Thanks for the comments about the wood flutes Perry, previously in the forum the only expert opinion expressed was that only David Brown's were OK. I'll easily believe that his are the possibly the best and even if they were only equal to the mass-procuded ones, they look a hundred times better.

I'll also take this opportunity to get a bit cynical, but I still think it's a thought provoking question. If the Yuu wasn't finished/quality-tested by a maker who knows Japanese music, is it a substandard shakuhachi that's not worthy of the title "shakuhachi"? In this case, even the "folk-flute" or hippie-flute" terms wouldn't apply smile

BTW, I'm changing my opinion of this topic of "is it a shakuhachi" slightly after having gotten my hands on a sort of high end flute (damaged, but then repaired by Perry). It totaly rocks even with my non-Japanese playing abilities. So, I can see easily where pro's might say that the folk-flute kind of things aren't really shakuhachi. It still leaves open the question as to what to call the things though, most are very nice instruments you can spend many hours exploring.

Last edited by radi0gnome (2008-01-20 15:43:25)


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#16 2008-01-20 15:48:40

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Yungflutes wrote:

BTW, because of the nature of my work I often have a lot of flutes passing through my shop. Once, I had three Yuus sitting around. I noticed hat they each played differently. That was due to the finisher. The utaguchi and finger holes were not exactly the same on all three. This tells me that only the bore was cast-able and the finger holes and utaguchi were not - those things had to be hand done. As a result, each played slightly differently. One utaguchi dip was slightly higher than the other two. One had holes better undercut than others etc...interesting stuff huh? The same goes for all the wood flutes that come through my shop - some are better than others because of the finisher.

I've noticed that Yuu's play a bit flat. Have you Perry?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#17 2008-01-20 17:19:57

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
Website

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

A lot of good points on an interesting subject.
  I've tried the exercise of playing flutes starting by playing raw bamboo, then jinashi, jimori, jiari (a little), Jiari (a lot), the Yuu, precision cast bore, glass, wood and concrete(heavy). It's an interesting experience. But, as was mentioned, I knew what I was playing beforehand and therefore wasn't swimming in the dark. I imagine the violinists who didn't know the differences had little experience playing the rare ones or even all of them. I have a lot of experience with only several of the contemporary makers flutes, like Kono Gyokusui, Yokoyama Ranpo, Zenmura Kazan, Tom Deaver, Miura Ryuho, Shinzan & Kobayashi Ichijo. I've also gotten to know Perry's, Ken's and Monty's a bit too but not as much as the ones when I was in Japan, since I was there longer in my playing life. I've played enough of their flutes to know what to expect from them. If they were given to me to play I would have a better chance of pinpointing something about them or guessing who made them than a makers' that I have less experience with. That doesn't mean I could guess every time for sure as there are differences in their own flutes. But I find there is a distinctive sound peculiar to each maker when it's one of their higher end flutes. I find it that to be less true in the middle and cheaper priced ones. They tend to be more generic.
  I think David Duncavage's comment is very true. The evaluation of the flute is done by having a great player play the flute. Even though this is one of the best methods, it can be flawed. For example, Yokoyama sensei's father's shakuhachi's never didn't seem to suit him that well but Taniguchi sensei made them sound unbelievable. I also heard Yokoyama sensei play a wooden flute and made it sing beautifully. Hmm? Different flutes suit different people for sure.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#18 2008-01-20 17:29:19

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

80-90% of the way a flute sounds is the player.

Not what it's made of.

Not the shape of the bore.

All this to-ing and fro-ing is mostly a tempest in a teapot.

As I've noted elsewhere on this Forum: I once saw John Neptune play a piece of plastic (tapered bore, shakuhachi mouthpiece),
and it sounded JUST like a very fine bamboo shakuhachi (is that redundant?), one of which he'd played seconds before (NB:
John made the plastic thing).

Who knows what it 'felt like' to him.....

[It also should be noted here that Nelson Zink is a very good thinker, organizer and presenter, not a 'player'.]

Last edited by edosan (2008-01-20 17:34:01)


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

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#19 2008-01-20 17:41:44

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
Website

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

My good friend Eddy, you're so good at summing up things into tidy little gems; one sentence at a time. Do you do that so we have to think about each sentence all the way down the page till out eyes reach the next sentence?  Clever technique from a clever guy. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Ed, he is the ultimate  "Renaissance man" in the world of carpentry building/art/music/and common sense. I have to pat your back on this forum as you live in Utah, which is further away than the moon, for me.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#20 2008-01-20 17:42:55

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

edosan wrote:

All this to-ing and fro-ing is mostly a tempest in a teapot.

Do you think we shouldn't discuss material and flutemaking theories? Just say, "good players make everything sound good" and leave it at that?

There are some people on this forum who have devoted their lives to thinking about these issues. People like Perry, who made your beautiful 2.8. He didn't make that by thinking, "a good player will make anything sound good, so why bother thinking or discussing details with anybody, I'll just drill 5 holes in anything and send it to Ed." wink


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#21 2008-01-20 18:07:07

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

I'm stickin' with my story.

My point is not about being sloppy, or ignorant in the crafting (and I think you are well aware of that, Tairaku).

I know people who have been playing as long as I have (16 years), and have, over time, acquired better flutes by top
makers, and they still sound like they did 15 years ago. I know people who have $8,000 Miura Ryuho flutes, and they
still sound like they did the day they got it: fair to middlin'.

And I know that Kinya Sogawa threw together a flute from a piece of wretched, dried out bamboo he found in the weeds
while camping; burned the tone holes in it over a campfire, and hacked the utaguchi bevel with a pocket tool. It sounded
great when he played it (this little tale is from Perry, by the way).

My point is that it is in the NATURE of the shakuhach to be player-driven, not materials, or even geometry-driven. Love
bamboo as much as you like (and I do--I'd take my Ichijo into the woods long before I'd take a Yuu--hell, I took it on
rivers trips down the Grand Canyon and the Green River), this is still gonna be true.

I could drone on...

Discuss away.

Bring it on....

[Oh, and thanks, Mikey...]

eB

Last edited by edosan (2008-01-20 18:14:22)


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

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#22 2008-01-20 18:16:44

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

edosan wrote:

My point is that it is in the NATURE of the shakuhach to be player-driven, not materials, or even geometry-driven.

I'll take this line of thought further. It's not the material, the flute OR the player that matters most. It's the music. Or maybe even just the idea behind the music. Oooooops, we might have to move this topic to the "Zen" forum now! smile


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#23 2008-01-20 19:53:34

baian
Member
Registered: 2006-03-28
Posts: 83

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

babe , you're not the wave, you're just the water -  Jimmie Dale Gilmore

or to the alt country room.

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#24 2008-01-21 03:07:54

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

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

dstone wrote:

I'm glad our scene has heretics (like Nelson) who question assumptions about shape and materials and their significance.

Questions I think about...
1. When I play a jiari flute, am I hearing primarily the bamboo of the flute or am I hearing primarily the characteristics of tonoko and urushi?  Cement, resin, lacquer.
2. Would a jiari flute sound much different if its (already man-made) bore lining was replaced by stone or glass or heavy impregnated plastic?
3. What if the normal jiari flute lined with ji became more and more ji and less and less bamboo?  Maybe 50/50. Maybe 75/25.  Maybe only a bamboo skin.  When does the sound start to change?

These are fun questions even if I don't want to play a perfect plastic flute.  I think the understanding is useful, don't you?

-Darren.

Interesting questions Darren.

1. You are hearing the bamboo, the urushi, the room, etc. All elements. But the main thing you are hearing is the quality of your blowing.

2. I think we know the answer to that by comparing Monty's cast bore flutes with similar ji ari flutes from other makers. Probably the best comparison would be with Neptune's ji ari because Neptune and Monty work closely together.

3. The sound STARTS to change as soon as you put the first coat of urushi. You can test this by taking a raw bore shakuhachi or hocchiku. Blow it. Then run it under the shower and let the bore get wet. Blow it again. There is a dramatic change in the sound. We frequently use this method when deciding whether to put a coat of urushi in the flute because it gives you a good simulation.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#25 2008-01-21 04:29:56

udo.jeromin
Member
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 72

Re: Shakuhachi Design, N. Zink, Booze, Injection Molding and Speculation

Do we discuss two different questions?
1. What makes the best sound?
2. What instrument should I pick up if I have a choice?

The first seems interesting but academic.  The second is a practical question.

Cheers, udo.

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