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#1 2010-09-02 05:35:40

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

The passing of Satō Reidō

Last month, August 2010, the great master Satō Reidō passed away in Nagasaki, Kyushu.

As some of you may know, I have been seeking out the holders of the oldest styles of the Koten Honkyoku, aiming for an understanding of the music as it existed in Edo period Japan. This search has taken me across Japan. One of the key figures in this respect, is the master Yamaue Getsuzan. He studied far and wide and meticulously studied various lineages as precisely as possible, and maintained their unique characters to the most minute details. This is extremely rare, as almost everyone of that period with enough skill and opportunity to learn widely tended to rearrange or restyle the pieces they learned into a specific sound for their school, giving the characteristic results of Jin Nyodo's school, Watazumi's school, Chikuho-ryu and so on. In this respect Yamaue's school was incomparably valuable. His study and research of lineage trees was also beyond compare and acts as the main source of information on the subject for scholars today.

Among the rarest of Yamaue's lineages was that of Shimpo-ryu. His lineage seems to contain the most pieces of any school which received true transmission from Shimpo-ryu, and more importantly his school seems to be the only one to have maintained the original playing style of these pieces in the Shimpo-ryu style. And yet, due to the isolation of his residence in the Kyushu countryside, only 2 people studied this collection of 23 or so pieces, one of whom was Sato Reido. Sato was also one of only two people to have received the Yamaue's complete transmission of Orito Nyogetsu's Kimpu-ryu, and indeed the only one student to receive the entirety of Yamaue's honkyoku transmission.

Sato was a strict teacher. The last holder of many pieces, he often attracted professionals to him, asking to study. And yet many people were turned away. He took his position very seriously and gave out very carefully. The last couple of years he was unwell and gave the responsibility of teaching to his top student, Otsubo-sensei who would teach in Sato's lesson room as Sato listened from the room below, always maintaining close contact to each lesson and giving his feedback. After several visits I was overjoyed that Sato-sensei gave permission for Otsubo-sensei to teach me all of the repertoire, and glad to know that Sato's keen ears were ever listening downstairs to all the pieces I was learning. With his approval I progressed step by step through their wealth of music.

It has been a true privilege to study in this way, for which I am ever grateful. It is also wonderful to have Otsubo-sensei remaining with us whom Sato trained so well, and whose passion and respect for this music is so strong, keeping these transmissions living on.

May Sato Reido rest in peace, and may his legacy live on in the sound of many shakuhachi to come.

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#2 2010-09-02 06:22:40

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Is anybody ever going to record this music so we can hear it?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#3 2010-09-02 09:51:55

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Hi Brian,
Sure, I'll record it and teach it. In particular they are relying on me to teach the Shimpo-ryu pieces to the next generation. Other pieces are also very valuable. In Prague people got to hear some of this music as I demonstrated examples of the regional varieties throughout Japan, some of which I have learned from this lineage. So this is not something to worry about.

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#4 2010-09-02 10:10:31

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Good Justin, I'm sure a lot of people are interested in Shimpo ryu. What about Otsubo Sensei? Has he recorded?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#5 2010-09-02 12:30:59

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Not to my knowledge. These guys are not too public. Otsubo-sensei performs sometimes but otherwise is very busy with his work. It's a bit of a different world than that of touring professionals with CDs and websites! Although Sato-sensei was widely admired in his area of course.

Yes, Shimpo-ryu... many people even think the transmission had died out, and I've seen this written on a Tokuyama score. So they just play from notation more or less, to try to recreate some kind of piece.

These guys don't advertise themselves so can be easily overlooked. But they still have a lot of pride about their music. The other one who studied the Shimpo-ryu pieces from Yamaue was Takahashi Rochiku, whom I mentioned elsewhere. And there's not one of his students who can teach it, as he told me directly. That's why even though he is very old now, he took it upon himself to teach me personally. So I think it may be time to bring these pieces back to get a little more attention! There's some good stuff there.

Last edited by Justin (2010-09-02 12:33:32)

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#6 2010-09-02 20:07:11

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

I find it interesting that a member of the BBQ is second in line to become Iemoto of Shimpo-Ryu.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#7 2010-09-03 04:49:16

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Hi Brian,
There's no "Shimpo-ryu" any more. As an organisation it started with Katsura Shozan and ended there. The music didn't start there of course, and as I have been explaining the music also did not end there. However, not all of the music of Shimpo-ryu has continued. Katsura had over 60 pieces, and there was only one student who learned them all. He didn't teach. I don't know the reason for that but there was a lot going on in those days, especially war. My teacher Fujiyoshi Etsuzan who has also learned some Shimpo-ryu pieces, once visited a Shimpo-ryu guy in Tokyo when he was younger. He still played a little bit, but all his notation had been destroyed when the cities had been bombed during the war. So that's the situation.

Yamaue never considered himself as any sort of iemoto of Shimpo-ryu for sure! And neither does my two teachers who are the last holders of Yamaue's Shimpo-ry pieces. They do however consider themselves as the last players of the genuine Shimpo-ryu style, and all my research indicates this to be true.

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#8 2010-09-03 06:36:23

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

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

I love to hear it all, old formality, new flexibility, ethereal nature still fast consigned to oblivion. 

Will CD Baby and emusic save Shimpo-ryu, Mr. Senryu?  Is it wheel or shovel...

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#9 2010-09-27 00:14:54

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

I recently got to hear some of Sato Reido's playing. Brian and everyone else, in fact he has recorded the entire repertoire. Unfortunately, I don't know if it will ever be made public. This might irritate some people but.. apparently Shimura sensei and Tsukitani sensei went down and visited years ago for research and recording. He did not want to be recorded because he was actually a Kinko player and he recognized that this greatly affected his Shimpo playing style. He said that he did not want his sound to be recorded and seen as the last "true" Shimpo sound because ultimately he was a Kinko player. But they were persistent and I guess they persuaded him to record in the name of research.
Having listened only to a few recordings, I have to say they were great and I loved listening to it. However, as he states, they are quite musical and may be quite far from the originally intended sound. In general as art, I found them very interesting and enjoyable, but closer to a classical Kinko sound rather than a Myoan sound. They seem to be locked away in a Osaka Arts Univ. vault somewhere. I don't have any recording of it and I'm not sure Shimura sensei is too keen on the idea of making it public. We'll have to wait and see I guess.

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#10 2010-09-27 00:24:25

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

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Shimura told me that story too.
He told me he had made the promise not to make it public... so if you can get into some room in the basement at Osaka Geidai you can listen to it. Great you got around to listen to it Josh. smile I didn't - but I went with another student to the basement and listened to a few SP records of shakuhachi. Great but mostly sankyoku as this was more in to record in the early 20th century!


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

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#11 2010-09-27 01:54:19

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Hi Josh

Josh wrote:

I recently got to hear some of Sato Reido's playing. Brian and everyone else, in fact he has recorded the entire repertoire. Unfortunately, I don't know if it will ever be made public. This might irritate some people but.. apparently Shimura sensei and Tsukitani sensei went down and visited years ago for research and recording. He did not want to be recorded because he was actually a Kinko player and he recognized that this greatly affected his Shimpo playing style. He said that he did not want his sound to be recorded and seen as the last "true" Shimpo sound because ultimately he was a Kinko player. But they were persistent and I guess they persuaded him to record in the name of research.

I actually knew about Reido's recordings and have some myself, though, as you rightly said these are not to be given publicly. Emphasis in this school is very much on direct transmission, and most of the recordings that exist are as personal study aids for the private students.

I'm also not sure whether to take the above story at face value. Reido routinely taught repertoires of honkyoku other than Kinko-ryu. He had most likely the largest honkyoku repertoire of anyone alive at the time. He taught the various honkyoku of different lineages in a deliberately non-changed way, as much as he could. However there's always the difference of students vrs non-students concerning how open things are. Many professional players came to him asking to study various pieces and were turned away. So, I can't help wondering whether this dismissal of his own playing as being overly "Kinko-ryu" may have been just to keep outsiders away. I'm not saying this is for sure, but that it may be a possibility.

He had great pride in Kimpu-ryu for example, and was given one of Orito Nyogetsu's shakuhachi by Yamaue Getsuzan as a token for having received the whole Kimpu-ryu lineage of Orito. He also received a menjo from Yamaue for having learned Yamaue's complete repertoire - the only student to do so. He even regularly arranged themed study days where each student plays a piece, having a whole day for one ryu-ha's style, let's say a "Kimpu-ryu" day, and so on. Concerning Shimpo-ryu, he was also insistent on teaching his students in the original "fu ho u" notation, encouraging the students to really become immersed in Shimpo-ryu when playing Shimpo-ryu - rather than changing the notation to Kinko style - keeping strict Shimpo-ryu nuance and pitch and tone and so on. I understand that Sato told Shimura that he basically never (or hardly ever) even plays Shimpo-ryu. So Shimura did not study any Shimpo pieces from Sato. However, perhaps unknown to Shimura, he was actually still continuing to play actively, and teach his students. Shimura himself seemed quite surprised when I told him this. It was this that made me wonder that what he told outsiders may have been different to the "inside story". If so, it would not be the first time I have seen this happen.

Personally my own way of understanding what might have influenced what in this particular instance, has been by studying from the 2 remaining sources, Sato's line and also Takahashi Rochiku's line. Takahashi doesn't play any Kinko-ryu. Although what they both teach is almost entirely the same, there are indeed some minor differences on occasion. Learning both of these, and combining that with historical study, I feel gives me a clearer picture of the whole.

Josh wrote:

Having listened only to a few recordings, I have to say they were great and I loved listening to it. However, as he states, they are quite musical and may be quite far from the originally intended sound. In general as art, I found them very interesting and enjoyable, but closer to a classical Kinko sound rather than a Myoan sound.

Josh, when you say closer to a Kinko than a Myoan sound, what is your reference for a Myoan sound?

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#12 2010-10-02 06:52:49

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Justin wrote:

Josh wrote:

Having listened only to a few recordings, I have to say they were great and I loved listening to it. However, as he states, they are quite musical and may be quite far from the originally intended sound. In general as art, I found them very interesting and enjoyable, but closer to a classical Kinko sound rather than a Myoan sound.

Josh, when you say closer to a Kinko than a Myoan sound, what is your reference for a Myoan sound?

Since nearly a week has past with no response I thought I would elaborate a little for people who may come across this thread in future. It may sound a rather straightforward statement to say "Myoan sound", and may be something many people feel they know. "Ah yes, that's a Myoan sound." However what is considered a "Myoan sound" today is generally speaking the Myoan school which Higuchi Taizan founded during the Meiji period, aka. Taizan Ryu. This school has basically no connection to the Edo period Myoan school. Of course we can't really say that any school had NO connection to any other - however, this school was created by Taizan who, (along with a few additions from elsewhere) combined his study of Seien Ryu and Kinko Ryu, both schools from temples of the Kanto region.

After the Edo period, the lineage of Kyoto's Myoan temple's honkyoku was continued in Katsura Shozan's school, Shimpo Ryu. Katsura Shozan basically became the last source of these pieces. So to search for a reference for this Shimpo Ryu style one would have to search out recordings of, or better still, people who have studied with, members of the lineages coming from Katsura Shozan. Indeed, that is precisely what I have been doing. As I have detailed elsewhere, there are a few pieces here and there, such as some of those later arranged by Jin Nyodo. The largest collections of these pieces are to be found in the repertoires of Chikuho Ryu, Takahashi Kuzan's school, and Yamaue Getsuzan's school. Yamaue learned 23 of these pieces. Kuzan and Chikuho certainly learned some pieces, though how many seems to be unclear. What does seem apparent is that they both were active in changing the pieces to suit their own styles, as has been discussed previously, whereas Yamaue consciously strove to maintain the original style. I may write in more detail at a future date on this, but for now I can say that it has been my own conclusion that Yamaue's lineage is actually the most definitive in characterising what is a "Myoan sound".

For those who may be wondering whether this is my opinion simply because this is the lineage I have studied, and that I am therefore biased towards it, I should point out that it is rather the opposite situation. I first set out to find the most historically authentic embodiment of the ancient Kyoto Myoan-ji style, and on finding it, went to great lengths to study it under the last remaining teachers. I continue studying and researching this topic and hope to be able to share more about it when I come across things of interest.

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#13 2010-10-02 09:29:04

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

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Thanks Justin.  It's always a pleasure to read your illuminations.


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

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#14 2010-10-02 09:50:50

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

We need actual recordings and comprehensible notation or it's just a bunch of talk and speculation.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#15 2010-10-02 10:17:53

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Recordings - I'll see what I can do....
In terms of thorough explanation, I intend to write this all up eventually.

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#16 2010-10-02 11:39:20

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

It seems like the music has no self confidence if the practitioners specifically instruct not to let anybody hear it and try to hide it.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#17 2010-10-02 18:42:11

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Meian student wrote:

Justin wrote:

Recordings - I'll see what I can do....
In terms of thorough explanation, I intend to write this all up eventually.

Justin, is there anyone who has accessible recordings who play in Yamaue's style? Or are you the one who has to make them?

-- Chris Moran

I think that question is answered in some of the previous posts.

Josh wrote:

I recently got to hear some of Sato Reido's playing. Brian and everyone else, in fact he has recorded the entire repertoire. Unfortunately, I don't know if it will ever be made public. This might irritate some people but.. apparently Shimura sensei and Tsukitani sensei went down and visited years ago for research and recording. He did not want to be recorded because he was actually a Kinko player and he recognized that this greatly affected his Shimpo playing style. He said that he did not want his sound to be recorded and seen as the last "true" Shimpo sound because ultimately he was a Kinko player. But they were persistent and I guess they persuaded him to record in the name of research.
Having listened only to a few recordings, I have to say they were great and I loved listening to it. However, as he states, they are quite musical and may be quite far from the originally intended sound. In general as art, I found them very interesting and enjoyable, but closer to a classical Kinko sound rather than a Myoan sound. They seem to be locked away in a Osaka Arts Univ. vault somewhere. I don't have any recording of it and I'm not sure Shimura sensei is too keen on the idea of making it public. We'll have to wait and see I guess.

Yes this does irritate me.

If these are the most authentic extant recordings of the "entire repertoire" they should be made public. The musical and historical imperative outweighs Sato's insecurity, humility, or stubbornness, whatever the case might be.

Kiku Day wrote:

Shimura told me that story too.
He told me he had made the promise not to make it public... so if you can get into some room in the basement at Osaka Geidai you can listen to it.

In a word..............lame. How can anybody be expected to care about this music if the people who make it hide it under a basket until it dies? In all forms of music people say things like "It was more than just notes on a page, he really brought it alive." "Jazz is dead." etc. We describe musical events ranging from the early music movement to punk as "revival" literal meaning "bringing back to life". Music is alive or it's dead. In the modern world we need performers and recordings to keep it alive. If nobody is performing the music or recording it, it's dead.

Justin wrote:

I actually knew about Reido's recordings and have some myself, though, as you rightly said these are not to be given publicly. Emphasis in this school is very much on direct transmission, and most of the recordings that exist are as personal study aids for the private students.

Exactly what Jin Nyodo's recordings were, and aren't we glad we have those to listen to and also for reference?

One of the interesting things about shakuhachi music is how much it does change from one generation to the next. Jin Nyodo for example had a certain sound, Zenyoji pretty much retains that sound but other players such as Kifu Mitsuhashi have taken it in a different direction. Jin Nyodo players of today, hearing only Kifu's renditions and not having Jin's for reference might not get the picture.

Watazumi obviously might have been off his rocker but had the good sense at least to record massive quantities of material. We can clearly see then the similarities and differences between his renditions of certain pieces and the versions Yokoyama and then his students did.

Justin wrote:

Hi Brian,
Sure, I'll record it and teach it. In particular they are relying on me to teach the Shimpo-ryu pieces to the next generation.

That's great Justin, you should definitely record and teach those pieces, hopefully you can also put them into some kind of usable notation. But backup material such as the recordings of previous players is needed to legitimize this venture or we have no way of giving weight to the transparency (or not) of the transmission nor would we be able to know how much the impression the music gives comes from the music itself or how much it is your own personal energy.

I actually have mixed feelings about recordings of honkyoku. For example one can listen to Watazumi playing the same song on two different recordings and they're quite different from each other, but then hear Yokoyama and ten of his students recordings of the same song and it has become static. Sometimes it seems to stop the music in its tracks when people give too much weight to recordings and just try to repeat them.  That's why it's best to have a variety of versions of any given song so you can see what the outliers are and get an idea what the essential aspects are and what is personal interpretation.

Justin wrote:

However what is considered a "Myoan sound" today is generally speaking the Myoan school which Higuchi Taizan founded during the Meiji period, aka. Taizan Ryu. This school has basically no connection to the Edo period Myoan school. Of course we can't really say that any school had NO connection to any other - however, this school was created by Taizan who, (along with a few additions from elsewhere) combined his study of Seien Ryu and Kinko Ryu, both schools from temples of the Kanto region.

I have heard this from a number of different people. Also that some of the Taizan stuff may sound more primitive than similar Kinko pieces, leading one to assume that it's the proto versions of the piece but that actually the Kinko pieces came first and were later simplified. Which makes this part interesting:

Justin wrote:

After the Edo period, the lineage of Kyoto's Myoan temple's honkyoku was continued in Katsura Shozan's school, Shimpo Ryu. Katsura Shozan basically became the last source of these pieces. So to search for a reference for this Shimpo Ryu style one would have to search out recordings of, or better still, people who have studied with, members of the lineages coming from Katsura Shozan. Indeed, that is precisely what I have been doing. As I have detailed elsewhere, there are a few pieces here and there, such as some of those later arranged by Jin Nyodo. The largest collections of these pieces are to be found in the repertoires of Chikuho Ryu, Takahashi Kuzan's school, and Yamaue Getsuzan's school. Yamaue learned 23 of these pieces. Kuzan and Chikuho certainly learned some pieces, though how many seems to be unclear. What does seem apparent is that they both were active in changing the pieces to suit their own styles, as has been discussed previously, whereas Yamaue consciously strove to maintain the original style. I may write in more detail at a future date on this, but for now I can say that it has been my own conclusion that Yamaue's lineage is actually the most definitive in characterising what is a "Myoan sound".

For those who may be wondering whether this is my opinion simply because this is the lineage I have studied, and that I am therefore biased towards it, I should point out that it is rather the opposite situation. I first set out to find the most historically authentic embodiment of the ancient Kyoto Myoan-ji style, and on finding it, went to great lengths to study it under the last remaining teachers. I continue studying and researching this topic and hope to be able to share more about it when I come across things of interest.

The quest for "the oldest" and "authenticity" is fraught with peril because you can only go back so far......and transmission is always flawed and subjective. Besides that, one of the ironies of "keeping the music alive" is that periodically every kind of music needs an injection of fresh blood or it becomes a fossil and people walk away from it because it's boring. People like Watazumi and Jin Nyodo come along and kick the music in the ass, take no prisoners. Maybe they're not playing it exactly traditionally but they're keeping it alive BY changing it. And enough of the original flavor remains so that there's a link to the original source material.

But if these Sato recordings are indeed the closest we can get to an idea of an important early style of shakuhachi playing, it needs to get out there.

Of course everything we are talking about here has happened in probably less than the last 200 years. If you took a shakuhachi player from 1600 and played anything we know now to him it would probably sound very unfamiliar. In the end I think the way the music sounds now is more important than how it might have sounded in the past, but it's really fascinating to study the early sources.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#18 2010-10-02 23:29:35

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Yes this does irritate me.

If these are the most authentic extant recordings of the "entire repertoire" they should be made public. The musical and historical imperative outweighs Sato's insecurity, humility, or stubbornness, whatever the case might be.

Hi Brian,
There is a cultural difference here. And the fact that many Japanese are aware of this cultural difference in attitude towards recordings and respect towards the wish for them to be treated privately is a large reason for many Japanese to be unwilling or less willing to share recordings with foreigners. I have mentioned this before.


Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Kiku Day wrote:

Shimura told me that story too.
He told me he had made the promise not to make it public... so if you can get into some room in the basement at Osaka Geidai you can listen to it.

In a word..............lame. How can anybody be expected to care about this music if the people who make it hide it under a basket until it dies? In all forms of music people say things like "It was more than just notes on a page, he really brought it alive." "Jazz is dead." etc. We describe musical events ranging from the early music movement to punk as "revival" literal meaning "bringing back to life". Music is alive or it's dead. In the modern world we need performers and recordings to keep it alive. If nobody is performing the music or recording it, it's dead.

The general Japanese view is also that there need be living players of the music for it to be alive. However, the general Japanese view also says that the music necessarily must be passed from teacher to student. So for them, sharing the recordings is not an issue of keeping the lineage alive. And, the lineage is still alive.

One concern may actually be that some people might learn only from the recordings, and therefore have all kinds of mistaken understanding or mix their own thing in or whatever, and then, with no authorisation, claim that they had a lineage and then teach. This does actually happen, as many of you are aware. This can be viewed as a disruption, a negative thing causing confusion, misinformation, misunderstanding about the style and history, and so on. I suggest that this then may be at least one of the reasons for restrictions on recordings. I'm not saying that I necessarily agree. However, understanding the importance of authorisation, permission, respect for teacher and so on, in this highly traditional art, may help you understand certain decisions made within certain schools of this art.


Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Exactly what Jin Nyodo's recordings were, and aren't we glad we have those to listen to and also for reference?

These were released by his son, so of course that's fine.


Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

One of the interesting things about shakuhachi music is how much it does change from one generation to the next. Jin Nyodo for example had a certain sound, Zenyoji pretty much retains that sound but other players such as Kifu Mitsuhashi have taken it in a different direction. Jin Nyodo players of today, hearing only Kifu's renditions and not having Jin's for reference might not get the picture.

Yes, Kifu's style is quite different, very unique. Kurahashi's also. Zenyoji also has his differences of course. Sato Jokan is the closest in style. Again I think Mitsuhashi and Kurahashi have perhaps made deliberate stylistic changes, although some changes may have been unconscious in all these 3 players since they are students of students of Jin, and so 2 generations removed. Sato Jokan deliberately kept as close as he could to Jin's style, and so this becomes an important factor. Certainly though, having Jin's recordings of course help to tell us a lot about the style in which he played!

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Justin wrote:

Hi Brian,
Sure, I'll record it and teach it. In particular they are relying on me to teach the Shimpo-ryu pieces to the next generation.

That's great Justin, you should definitely record and teach those pieces, hopefully you can also put them into some kind of usable notation.

Katsura Shozan's original notation is usable for me. Usually I use Yamaue's notation which is his hand written versions in the same style as Katsura's. That's how it used to be, the teacher hand copying them for the students, so that's how Katsura taught Yamaue, and Yamaue taught Reido. By the time Reido was teaching the photocopy machine had been invented to now we use photocopies of the notation Yamaue wrote for Reido. Takahashi Rochiku wrote his own notation, which from a new student's perspective is easier to use. I have thought about all this in fact. It's nice to teach in the original notation, but since I personally play shakuhachi using 7 different styles of notation, in order to teach my whole repertoire to general students it is I think worth translating into more or less one standard style, seeing as it's just too much for most people to learn otherwise. Let's not debate much about that on this thread though!

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

I have heard this from a number of different people. Also that some of the Taizan stuff may sound more primitive than similar Kinko pieces, leading one to assume that it's the proto versions of the piece but that actually the Kinko pieces came first and were later simplified.

I went into detail about this in my Seien Ryu lecture at the recent European shakuhachi festival in Prague, and also gave a demonstration of the regional styles including Shimpo Ryu there. Next time come to Prague! (The beer is also good smile )

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

But backup material such as the recordings of previous players is needed to legitimize this venture or we have no way of giving weight to the transparency (or not) of the transmission nor would we be able to know how much the impression the music gives comes from the music itself or how much it is your own personal energy.

When students visit my home there are recordings I can let them listen to. I also mean to write in detail about this, so from my side I would like to be quite open.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

I actually have mixed feelings about recordings of honkyoku. For example one can listen to Watazumi playing the same song on two different recordings and they're quite different from each other, but then hear Yokoyama and ten of his students recordings of the same song and it has become static. Sometimes it seems to stop the music in its tracks when people give too much weight to recordings and just try to repeat them.  That's why it's best to have a variety of versions of any given song so you can see what the outliers are and get an idea what the essential aspects are and what is personal interpretation.

I agree that it's best to have a number of recordings, especially for a researcher. And of course this is a large difference when you have a teacher. The teacher can teach you what is variable, what is not. Then also, the pieces change to some extent over the lives of the players.

There's another point here. I believe that generally the pieces within schools have been passed down without much change over time. Of course at certain times there are changes. But I think that people like Watazumi and Jin are not the "norm". They were individuals, who made their own schools, and were largely among people who did not know those pieces. I think that gives a different context to established schools, such as Kinko Ryu in Tokyo where there are many players, and many generations of players, playing the same pieces. So I think in the traditional schools there was more conformity, and I expect that to have been so during the Edo period in the temples. So, I don't find the fact that some of Yokoyama's students play very similarly to each other as unusual. If you check the honkyoku of Yamaguchi Goro's students you will likely also find a high degree of similarity to Goro's style.

Another important point is that there always will be at least some differences, and, if a student relies too much on a recording then they might ignore the teacher or argue and so on. That can be detrimental to the progress of the student. Yokoyama really wanted to learn the version of a piece Watazumi had recorded, but, the way Watazumi taught it was different from the way it had been on that recording, to the great disappointment of Yokoyama. However, of course he learned it how Watazumi taught it! Yokoyama also played with some variety from recording to recording but to best learn from the teacher it is usually best to do what they say! That is, from the student's perspective, the teacher should generally be viewed as more authoritative than the recording. Now, from a researcher's point of view this is less simple. But that is a separate story.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Justin wrote:

For those who may be wondering whether this is my opinion simply because this is the lineage I have studied, and that I am therefore biased towards it, I should point out that it is rather the opposite situation. I first set out to find the most historically authentic embodiment of the ancient Kyoto Myoan-ji style, and on finding it, went to great lengths to study it under the last remaining teachers. I continue studying and researching this topic and hope to be able to share more about it when I come across things of interest.

The quest for "the oldest" and "authenticity" is fraught with peril because you can only go back so far......and transmission is always flawed and subjective.

Yes, it is certainly no easy task, and takes a great deal of research from many angles. But then if it were simple I guess it wouldn't be as fun!


Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Besides that, one of the ironies of "keeping the music alive" is that periodically every kind of music needs an injection of fresh blood or it becomes a fossil and people walk away from it because it's boring. People like Watazumi and Jin Nyodo come along and kick the music in the ass, take no prisoners. Maybe they're not playing it exactly traditionally but they're keeping it alive BY changing it. And enough of the original flavor remains so that there's a link to the original source material.

I am actually considering "restoring" some of the pieces to an earlier style. Now, some of you may be jumping from your seats thinking I've gone totally mad here. Also I am of course not detailing any evidence here, so I could just be talking nonsense. Well, it's not yet the time to write about it but I am researching certain changes that may have occurred in the music through time, but this is taking a lot of time to research so I can't say when I may have some results. But what I am saying is that on the one hand, my aim is to preserve the pieces which I have learned as I have learned them. And this is the strong wish of my teachers, so as to be able to pass them on in this form. And, in addition to that, I would like to explore further possibilities of the pieces. In particular there are some pieces for which I have a sense that they have, at some point in time, become "damaged". In these cases, as much as possible I am working on ways to understand how they may have been previous to that, which may have occurred in the late Edo or Meiji period for example. This is similar to my work with instruments. I am sometimes sent shakuhachi to restore which on their own cannot show how they were before the damage occurred. However, the more familiar one is with the context, the more one is able to carry out authentic restoration. In this case it would mean being familiar with the instruments of that period, and if possible that school, and further than that with that individual maker's style, if possible. I expect this is similar for furniture and all sorts of other things too. And of course as with any restoration, one should know ones subject as thoroughly as possible in order for the work to be successful.

This approach is quite different from taking an old broken flute and making a brand new flute in ones own style, merely utilizing the material of the old one. One might call the latter "recycling". At the moment I am more interested in trying to understand the old styles rather than create a new style, though, of course, that is not to say that either act is more or less musical. And, if a shakuhachi, or a honkyoku, were still so displeasing both in its current state and after restoration, I might also consider basing a new piece upon it if that were pleasing enough. However I do also think it is important to call things as they are, i.e. let it be known what is restored, what is rearranged or merely based on a previous piece, and so on, so as not to confuse or misinform later generations of players as to the history of the music.

For example, I believe it was Shimura Zenpo who recently played a Taizan Ryu piece in Prague and told us that he had changed the pitches to suit the modern taste. This is also a concern with Shimpo Ryu. This is one of the factors which I am researching. For now, here is an example of Sou Mukaiji in the style as I have been taught it. I played it on a nice Edo period instrument though unfortunately the tone colour has been destroyed by myspace's mp3 compression. Scroll down to find it on this page:
http://www.myspace.com/justinsenryu

Last edited by Justin (2010-10-02 23:50:29)

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#19 2010-10-02 23:40:41

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Meian student wrote:

Justin wrote:

Recordings - I'll see what I can do....
In terms of thorough explanation, I intend to write this all up eventually.

Justin, is there anyone who has accessible recordings who play in Yamaue's style? Or are you the one who has to make them?

-- Chris Moran

I think that question is answered in some of the previous posts.

Do you mean that I have to read _and comprehend_ all of this?  Anyway, I take it the answer is "yes."

Last edited by Moran from Planet X (2010-10-03 00:06:23)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#20 2010-10-03 00:42:12

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Yes Justin, I know about those cultural differences that lead them to keep music secret, etc. I just question the validity of keeping music secret from listeners. It's a bit paranoid to hide music because you think people are going to poach it and license themselves to teach it.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#21 2010-10-03 01:21:46

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

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Do you mean that I have to read _and comprehend_ all of this?

You can read?


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

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#22 2010-10-03 01:29:21

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

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Justin wrote:

For example, I believe it was Shimura Zenpo who recently played a Taizan Ryu piece in Prague and told us that he had changed the pitches to suit the modern taste. This is also a concern with Shimpo Ryu. This is one of the factors which I am researching.

As far as I remember he said it can be changed to suit modern taste - not that he did change them.
If you read Shimura's book 古管尺八の楽器学 you wil learn that Shimura's research is concerned finding out Edo period playing techniques and his research has gone on for 20 odd years researching into old instruments and the music as played by different styles. As far as I know he likes to play the pieces as he has learned them and researched the old styles.

Looking forward to hear more of your research results and it will be nice to know how far you can go back. It will - in sound be very difficult to go back further than sound recordings as that is the character of music - ephemeral.


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

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#23 2010-10-03 01:43:50

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Kiku Day wrote:

Looking forward to hear more of your research results and it will be nice to know how far you can go back. It will - in sound be very difficult to go back further than sound recordings as that is the character of music - ephemeral.

Yes once you don't have recordings all you can do is make assumptions (which might be biased) or descriptions, (which are definitely biased).

If you can verify the melodies, does it really matter if it is played exactly the way someone else played it? In every other style of music reinterpretation of a melody is considered a great talent and desirable.

I find it interesting to hear the extreme differences between versions of "Kumoijishi" or "Azuma no Kyoku" for example, which can range all the way from heavy Kinko honkyoku style to something that's almost minyo. Which version is correct? Don't care!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#24 2010-10-03 08:46:47

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

edosan wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Do you mean that I have to read _and comprehend_ all of this?

You can read?

Only every other letter.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#25 2010-10-03 08:53:40

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: The passing of Satō Reidō

Justin wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Yes this does irritate me.

If these are the most authentic extant recordings of the "entire repertoire" they should be made public. The musical and historical imperative outweighs Sato's insecurity, humility, or stubbornness, whatever the case might be.

Hi Brian,
There is a cultural difference here. And the fact that many Japanese are aware of this cultural difference in attitude towards recordings and respect towards the wish for them to be treated privately is a large reason for many Japanese to be unwilling or less willing to share recordings with foreigners. I have mentioned this before.

As I understand it, in some schools only the Iemoto has the authority to record. I imagine this can be pretty dicey if the Iemoto is quite aged and no longer able to play to full capacity.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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