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#26 2008-12-16 16:27:04

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Seth wrote:

Is there a ney teacher in upstate NY?

I haven't found any. I'd like to find someone local, particularly since I've gotten to the point where I can produce all the notes fairly consistently.

Seth wrote:

Can you do kan on a ney?

What would be otsu on shakuhachi, the lowest register, isn't used much at all on the ney (the aspect ratio is such that the low register is much harder to get sounding loud enough) so most of what is played is in kan, that would be the second register, or higher. It's kind of wierd acoustically because since your already in the second register overblowing into what feels like the second register on a shakuhachi or transverse flute brings you into the third register, a fifth above. If you're used to playing almost any other flute this is unusual, if I remember right clarinet players have a similar problem with fingerings chages needed for the same note in different octaves too though.

Seth wrote:

I would love to play ney, but am way too intimidated.  How is is compared to the shakuhachi?

It's harder to get a sound out of. It can take weeks (maybe 10 or so) of practicing 1 half hour a day just to be able to reliably get the note with all holes open, and that's the easiest note. I dabbled off and on for 10 years with it, then decided to try it again with a bit more effort when I started playing shakuhachi about 2 years ago and now 10 years after I started ney I can play every note on demand (not that I remember the note names, I've got to work on that) except for sometimes rast, the lowest note in the second octave and the hardest note to get. Ie.,it's very challenging.

I really wonder how ney teachers handle the fact that the instrument is so difficult to get a sound out of. It seems that there would be weeks on end of lessons where the student can't even make a sound.   

About other instruments distracting focus and slowing mastery, yep, done that. But what the heck, I still like playing anyway.


"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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#27 2008-12-16 17:10:40

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

All this advice is good, I suppose. But the best advice is to go to your lessons on a weekly basis and practice a lot during the week. Talking about what to do with your mouth and tongue is problematic because as a beginner you are still developing the actual muscles that do the work. Therefore your results will be different than that of people who've been playing a while and have already developed the muscles and muscle memory.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#28 2008-12-16 21:33:34

rob+kat
Member
Registered: 2006-09-07
Posts: 24

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

kan is what i am working on this year or so and if i may venture an experience, trying to go low and soft with minimal breath seems to be of use in getting "where the rubber meets the road" that and keeping the root end down

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#29 2008-12-17 03:09:21

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Sing the notes as you go up the scale, go as high and as hard and loud as you can without too much distortion. This will exercise and tighten your vocal chords and develop a vocal chord memory that when the highr notes of Kan are being played the vocal chords will tighten and the air flow speed up, assisteing nicely to get Kan notes with more efficiency of energy.
You can sing while you blow, or without blowing, then blow without singing but feel the vocal chords tighten. Blow an Otsu note then tighten the vocal chords and the note can slip into Kan with only that additional effort.

Kel.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#30 2008-12-17 07:26:58

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Karmajampa wrote:

Sing the notes as you go up the scale, go as high and as hard and loud as you can without too much distortion. This will exercise and tighten your vocal chords and develop a vocal chord memory that when the highr notes of Kan are being played the vocal chords will tighten and the air flow speed up, assisteing nicely to get Kan notes with more efficiency of energy.
You can sing while you blow, or without blowing, then blow without singing but feel the vocal chords tighten. Blow an Otsu note then tighten the vocal chords and the note can slip into Kan with only that additional effort.

Kel.

Kel.

I don't exactly understand this. Vocalizing with flute is a fairly well know exercise known as  throat-tuning, but I think you've got some of the mechanics of it mixed up. If you tighten your vocal chords you end up phonating (singing). That's what your supposed to do for the exercise, but there's no way you can tighten your vocal chords and play without singing after that because tightening vocal chords is essentially synonomous with phonating. I guess some muscles in the throat get trained to tighten with the exercise to change the shape of the of the airway as a result of the exercise, but it's not the vocal chords. You still maintain the sought after open throat when playing afterwards, meaning that if the air wasn't being directed into an instrument you should not be hearing any throat noises, either phonation or that air sound yoga practioners like to make when they breath. There may be some correctness to what you are saying about the air passageway tightening some and speeding airflow, I'm not sure.

  Also, the way I understood it, throat-tuning is a very subtle thing. You train your throat to create the optimal shape for resonance by singing the same note you are playing as you play, but after that nothing deliberate is done and you just play. When the singing/playing exercise is over you don't conciously try to tighten your throat when playing, that's an extremely subtle movement that the training should eventually make happen without concious effort.


"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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#31 2008-12-17 19:27:53

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Roddy, I extrapolate from a demonstration at the WSF in Sydney where a video was shown of the vocal chords of a beginner and those of an experienced player. With the beginner the chords remain open while they close for the experienced player depending on how high the note is.
I understand what you are saying and that is probably the technique to follow, as Tairaku mentioned the muscles develop over time. But there is something in the principle here that is useful to understand regarding either the throat or the vocal chords or both which influences the air stream.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#32 2008-12-17 23:52:29

madoherty
Moderator
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 366

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

...I am sorry to interrupt but the title of this thread [I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not] is still simply hilarious [empathetically]...

Last edited by madoherty (2008-12-18 09:49:14)

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#33 2008-12-18 08:14:03

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

WOW! Excellent thread! SO much GREAT advice for us beginners! Kiku! You are awesome! Your technik worked right away and is very easy to control! Now , just practice!


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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#34 2008-12-18 08:18:43

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Karmajampa wrote:

Roddy, I extrapolate from a demonstration at the WSF in Sydney where a video was shown of the vocal chords of a beginner and those of an experienced player. With the beginner the chords remain open while they close for the experienced player depending on how high the note is.
I understand what you are saying and that is probably the technique to follow, as Tairaku mentioned the muscles develop over time. But there is something in the principle here that is useful to understand regarding either the throat or the vocal chords or both which influences the air stream.

Kel.

Cool, I've never been called Roddy before smile

  Some of any misunderstanding might come from a lack of knowledge of anatomy. My understanding was that there is very little tension required to phonate, that's why a lot of voice teachers teach their students to be wary of tightening their throat. With notes very comfortable in a singers range, it's easy to not get the other muscles involved that aren't involved in phonation, with higher notes it takes a bit of training. If you're an untrained singer it should be easy to feel this tension simply by starting singing on a note comfortable in your range and sliding it up. The point I'm trying to demonstrate here is that there are other throat muscles aside from the ones that are used to phonate, and was assuming that the ones used to phonate were the vocal chords. It's the other muscles, whatever they are called, that the throat tuning exercise trains.

  I guess it's possible that those "other" muscles are still a part of the vocal chords, and sure enough, with a little poking around on google (using the search term "vocal chord adduction") I see that the trained singer is using less of their vocal chords. So apparently, those "other" muscles that get involved that aren't required for singing actually are a part of the vocal chords. Thanks for clearing this up for me. It actually unravels a bit of a mystery for me because when tried to analyze what the difference is between when I blow otsu and kan, I noticed that the difference wasn't in what I do with my mouth and I'm not blowing harder, but I can feel the difference in what I'd say feels like the upper part of my chest. Before I had no idea what was going on, apparently those are part of my vocal chords tightening.

Last edited by radi0gnome (2008-12-18 08:28:58)


"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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#35 2008-12-18 08:27:00

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

madoherty wrote:

...I am sorry to interupt but the title of this thread is still simply hilarious...

I take it that you mean the throat tuning concept is funny. I guess it is, and I can just imagine what I might be thinking if I was unaware and overheard a conversation about it. It's pretty neat stuff though, probably the cutting edge of understanding what's going on when playing flute.


"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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#36 2008-12-18 10:18:50

airin
Member
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Registered: 2008-10-17
Posts: 303
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

david wrote:

WOW! Excellent thread! SO much GREAT advice for us beginners! Kiku! You are awesome! Your technik worked right away and is very easy to control! Now , just practice!

I second that David!  My Kan notes are coming along nicely now as well.  Practice should take care of the fine tuning (pun intended).

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#37 2008-12-18 10:54:24

Bruce Hunter
Member
From: Apple Valley CA
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 258

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Speaking of practice, here's a little routine one can use if one otherwise doesn't have a life...

8^)

Serious Practice

Start practice sessions with warm-ups, slow melodies and stretching.
Vary the order of the items below so that you have creative input into each day’s routine.

1. 30 Min.
Tone: Low, Middle, High register
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

2. 30 min
Finger technique: Chromatic scales with metronome and/or trills and other finger patterns
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

3. 30 min
Practice the typical Daily Exercises or High Register studies
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

4. 30 to 60 min
Etudes: (two per week) taken apart and put back together again. Perform into a recorder and back at the end of the week.
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

5. 20 to 30 min
Scales and arpeggios: (chose two a day to perfect before moving into more complex scale patterns)
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

6. 30 min
Ensemble parts (chose one or two per week to perfect)
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

7. 30 min
Dynamics, Articulation, Tuning, Vibrato, Extended Techniques and other special techniques you may be working on
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

8. 30 to 60 min
Solo pieces (build your repertoire by adding one new piece every three weeks or so
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

9. 30 to 60 min
Play using a recorder and listen to yourself, taking notes about what needs to be completed in the NEXT day’s work
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

10. 30 min
Improvise, play duets with recorder, write out new ideas to work on next day, etc.
(Take a break --- stretch---listen to music, etc.)

Total time: 6 to 7 hours, but takes 10 hours total if breaks are included in timing. Breaks can be used to do other activities, stretching, exercising (walks) or other chores.


Develop infallible technique and then lay yourself at the mercy of inspiration. - Anon.

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#38 2008-12-18 11:06:56

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 830
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

cool stuff!!!

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#39 2008-12-18 16:26:24

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 922
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

david wrote:

WOW! Excellent thread! SO much GREAT advice for us beginners! Kiku! You are awesome! Your technik worked right away and is very easy to control! Now , just practice!

I agree! Excellent thread. Well started, Erin!
It is really nice when the forum can get together like this and different people come with all these different suggestions that other people can take up to see if they would work for them.

Thank you, David foryour kind words. Teaching teaches me so much, so I am certainly grateful to all the students. The technique of going from otsu to kan in one breath, as Nyokai wrote, is very good too.

And Bruce, I wish I didn't have a life! smile


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

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#40 2008-12-20 15:05:41

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Hey Arin and others,

First, just say I think the topic's name is great!! : )

Then, my two cents into this issue. See, I have to say I've been very fortunate with the Shakuhachi. I made a note the first time I tried to blow on it (after instructions of a teacher), and I don't remember having much trouble with kan either.

I've always tried to understand this easiness and then I learned that one factor involved is that you have to blow Shakuhachi with your stomach not with your lungs. Apparently some people do this naturally and others not and have to retrain their breath, through diligent practice, with breathing exercises like for example blowing Ro on a Shakuhachi (which it's the note that creates more resistance and hence helps build strenght on the muscles involved, among maybe other things).

I like to think about my stomach (not sure if it's just that organ or are others involved) as a bagpipe; and I noticed that if I somehow "press" harder, the air leaves faster helping with the kan. 

Looks you are already coming along well, but I thought you might find helpful being also concious about this issue.

Hope it'is of any help

Salud y alegria!

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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#41 2008-12-29 12:05:16

Kaz
Member
Registered: 2008-12-26
Posts: 25

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

I am having similar problems with Kan, and similar advice is given in a book by Masayuki Koga that I purchased - I found the tongue technique to be very effective.  It is good to hear the talk about muscles, I feel like my playing gets progressively worse if I pick up the shakuhachi and play for a bit.  Is this muscle fatigue?  On a somewhat off topic note, do people think that it is important to get a teacher to learn to play Kan?  I thought that I should be able to play Kan consistently before paying money (which I do not have tons of) to learn from a teacher.
Thanks,
Kaz


Ah, the ancient pond.
A frog makes the plunge;
The sound of water.

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#42 2008-12-29 13:03:05

Nyogetsu
Kyu Dan Dai Shihan
From: NYC
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 259
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Hi Kaz.

I'm happy to be able to communicate with you again.
You do not need a teacher to show you how to get KAN. But, on the other hand you do not need to be able to produce a KAN sound in order to work with a teacher !

What you need (and about 80% of all other beginning Shakuhachi players need) to get the notes in KAN, is just the correct embouchure!
The only way to get this is probably to play a lot if it doesn't come immediately!
However, the good news is that it ALWAYS comes.
You just need patience.
I've not only had students who couldn't get KAN for an entire year, but I had one student who could not get ANY sound at all for one entire year!
We just proceeded with the repertoire, and (as I promised her) one day the sound was there. We just continued progressing where we had left off.
Today she is a licensed teacher with a bit of a "fan club" of her own!

As they say in Japan: Ganbatte Kudasai ! (please persevere !)

Ronnie


The magic's in the music and the music's in me...
"Do you believe in Magic"- The Lovin' Spoonful

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#43 2008-12-29 19:16:56

airin
Member
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Registered: 2008-10-17
Posts: 303
Website

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Nyogetsu wrote:

Hi Kaz.

I'm happy to be able to communicate with you again.
You do not need a teacher to show you how to get KAN. But, on the other hand you do not need to be able to produce a KAN sound in order to work with a teacher !

What you need (and about 80% of all other beginning Shakuhachi players need) to get the notes in KAN, is just the correct embouchure!
The only way to get this is probably to play a lot if it doesn't come immediately!
However, the good news is that it ALWAYS comes.
You just need patience.
I've not only had students who couldn't get KAN for an entire year, but I had one student who could not get ANY sound at all for one entire year!
We just proceeded with the repertoire, and (as I promised her) one day the sound was there. We just continued progressing where we had left off.
Today she is a licensed teacher with a bit of a "fan club" of her own!

As they say in Japan: Ganbatte Kudasai ! (please persevere !)

Ronnie

Nyogetsu, thanks for the perspective and encouragement. 

I really appreciate it when experienced players and teachers take the time to explain the basics to us beginners and give us some context for our learning and some support in our practice and efforts to play the shakuhachi.

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#44 2009-02-20 18:05:21

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

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

I was having problems uploading videos and needed a test video on my camera to try to upload so I put together this little demonstration about kan. It was done in 1 take, non-scripted, and I'm not a teacher so it's kind of rough, but maybe some people that make it to this forum will find it useful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QWYwvMchIc

Last edited by radi0gnome (2009-02-20 19:04:40)


"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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#45 2009-02-20 20:56:35

purehappiness
Member
From: Connecticut USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 528

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

Thanks. That helps a lot. I have only been playing about a week and a half and this video will help immensely.Thanks for helping me on my journey.smile

Last edited by purehappiness (2009-02-20 20:58:35)


I was not conscious whether I was riding on the wind or the wind was riding on me.

Lieh-tzu

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#46 2009-02-20 21:17:35

purehappiness
Member
From: Connecticut USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 528

Re: I "Kan' and sometimes I 'Kan' not.

It works.smile
I can get kan in RO, TSU, and RE, and sometimes CHI just after five minutes. Thanks smile

Last edited by purehappiness (2009-02-20 21:18:08)


I was not conscious whether I was riding on the wind or the wind was riding on me.

Lieh-tzu

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