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#1 2010-12-28 16:53:59

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
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Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

In my early journey through the land of Shakuhachi,Zen and all things Japanese I have been learning techniques of breath control and vibrato.
As an Anasazi flute player I have always used my throat and diaphragm for vibrato.The shakuhachi tradition of  Tsukiyuru and Tate Yuri are so foreign to me yet seem to accomplish the same result as my own but with considerably less head or arm movement. I have watched many Youtube videos with quite exaggerated movements for sound vibrato that it is quite distracting.

Question is:Is this that prevalent in the teachings of the various schools or is more of a personal response?


Jim

Last edited by J Ross (2010-12-30 11:53:47)

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#2 2010-12-28 18:33:14

Jam
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From: Oxford, England
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Posts: 254

Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

If you watch videos of Yamaguchi Goro sensei you will see he barely moves his head when he plays, it's so subtle. I think it depends a lot on the player and the school though.

Incidentally, I think you mean ありがとう as opposed to ちりがとう. Close though, keep at it smile

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#3 2010-12-28 18:55:44

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Jam wrote:

If you watch videos of Yamaguchi Goro sensei you will see he barely moves his head when he plays, it's so subtle. I think it depends a lot on the player and the school though.

Incidentally, I think you mean ありがとう as opposed to ちりがとう. Close though, keep at it smile

Hehe. You are so right.  (ありがとう ございます)When I use this Microsoft conversion software it comes up with some close Hiragana and I didn't look close enough. Those letters are sooo small!!

Yes, that's true about  Yamaguchi Goro sensei. Perhaps it does depend on the nature of the music too as I never see Anasazi/Native American rim blown flute players moving their heads much if at all. I think the nature of the embouchure must be a part of it.And possibly the bore of the flute.

Jim

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#4 2010-12-28 19:20:50

Tairaku 太楽
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Do not compare Native American flute with shakuhachi in a technical sense. There is no comparison other than you blow them and move your fingers around.

Except in special cases we do not use diaphragm vibrato. One of the big pitfalls beginners and people coming from other wind instruments have is getting into that habit with shakuhachi.

Best thing is to play straight tones with no vibrato at all until you get instruction in Japanese music and learn which vibrato is suitable for which songs and styles.

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick. This is "tradition".    smile


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#5 2010-12-28 19:45:29

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Do not compare Native American flute with shakuhachi in a technical sense. There is no comparison other than you blow them and move your fingers around.

Except in special cases we do not use diaphragm vibrato. One of the big pitfalls beginners and people coming from other wind instruments have is getting into that habit with shakuhachi.

Best thing is to play straight tones with no vibrato at all until you get instruction in Japanese music and learn which vibrato is suitable for which songs and styles.

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick. This is "tradition".    smile

Thanks for that Tairaku. I find myself learning quickly the way to wrong and right ways to blow and play. You are so right in that those of us coming from the other flutes are going to have to adjust. I can easily play straight notes for a decent length of time and alter the pitch as well as timbre (Ne-iro I believe).I have a long way to go but am learning.

I hope to take lessons eventually but money is so tight being unemployed right now that I will have to just learn as much as I can via the books,CD's,Internet and here.Sometimes it is disheartening being a beginner but also very exciting and positive.That's the angle I'm trying to view it as.

Thanks for the help.

ありがとう ございます


Jim

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#6 2010-12-28 20:04:22

airin
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From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Jim, with all due respect, if you have money to buy a flute then you have money for a shakuhachi lesson or two. Believe me, even just a couple of lessons can make such a huge difference in getting you started on the right direction with this instrument.

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#7 2010-12-28 20:07:07

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

airin wrote:

Jim, with all due respect, if you have money to buy a flute then you have money for a shakuhachi lesson or two. Believe me, even just a couple of lessons can make such a huge difference in getting you started on the right direction with this instrument.

Actually I traded two very nice flutes away for the Perry Yung.

And I will eventually have a lesson or two. Just might be a bit. The rent comes first LOL  :-)

Jim

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#8 2010-12-28 20:37:09

Tairaku 太楽
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Whether teaching yourself or not it's still good advice not to mess with vibrato for a good while because that's putting the cart before the horse and you'll have to unlearn it later.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#9 2010-12-28 20:47:11

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Whether teaching yourself or not it's still good advice not to mess with vibrato for a good while because that's putting the cart before the horse and you'll have to unlearn it later.

Will do. Going to work on that straight away.

I just found this same thread from back in 2008. Very interesting. My major in school was musicology/music histiry and the whole vibrato issue is a hotly debated aspect of Western classical music. That only has bearing on modern Japanese music to a small degree and evidently plays little role in shakuhachi music except where noted as mentioned above.


Times do change. Violinists produced very little vibrato at the turn of the 19-20th century.Listen to Jan Kubelik,Fritz Kreisler or Joseph Joachim and one notices very little if nothing in vibrato.Now that's all we seem to hear from the violinists of the last 50 years.





ありがとう ございます

Jim

Last edited by J Ross (2010-12-28 21:38:34)

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#10 2010-12-29 07:39:17

Rick Riekert
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Registered: 2008-03-13
Posts: 97

Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

I've been taking shakuhachi lessons for 3 years and only last week did my teacher introduce vibrato into my playing- never even hinted that such a thing exists till then.


Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fy

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#11 2010-12-29 08:17:31

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

I agree that lessons and a teacher are certainly a very advantageous thing and I shall without a doubt attain both sometime.Whether it is soon begs the question of when.Many people are self taught to a certain degree and then have the chance to take formal lessons later when the situation is right.
Mine is almost to that point where things fall into place and I can afford the teacher.

Until then forums like this are a goldmine and I'm digging into it deeply.I appreciate the advice and words of wisdom from all of you!


ありがとう ございます

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#12 2010-12-29 10:58:24

Jam
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From: Oxford, England
Registered: 2009-10-02
Posts: 254

Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

While I appreciate your optimism, I would add that without a teacher you might be creating some bad habits in your playing that may hold you back in the future, should you wish to study shakuhachi formally.

If you're playing for your own enjoyment, then that's great, but if you ever decide you want to learn some honkyoku or sankyoku you might find that your current technique is very different and you might have to go back and erase those habits, which may be detrimental to your learning.

頑張って下さい!

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#13 2010-12-29 11:37:49

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Jam wrote:

While I appreciate your optimism, I would add that without a teacher you might be creating some bad habits in your playing that may hold you back in the future, should you wish to study shakuhachi formally.

If you're playing for your own enjoyment, then that's great, but if you ever decide you want to learn some honkyoku or sankyoku you might find that your current technique is very different and you might have to go back and erase those habits, which may be detrimental to your learning.

頑張って下さい!

Point well taken.As an Anasazi/Pueblo player I have always been doing so for my own enjoyment with some recordings on the side.The transition and addition of/to shakuhachi was one of attraction to the whole institution of the instrument. I figured there would be some learning curves ahead and am trying to treat it as I did when tackling the piano,violin and classical guitar. I have no doubts that some of my habits might be unorthodox or just plain detrimental.Hence the reason for my posts and the constant searches through the archive of information on this and other sites.

I will always remember how many friends and associates/teachers disapproved of how Vladimir Horowitz played the piano.His technique was unorthodox,his posture (look at Glenn Gould all hunched over the keyboard) questionable and his dropped notes a crimes sometimes.But he could sure play well nonetheless.

I guess my point is that the sound coming from the instrument is what counts and if one plays a particular way but gets results,then it ultimately comes down to the listener and player to like or dislike. I want to take lessons but cannot right this moment.So I have a choice:try to teach myself the best way I can and enjoy it for my own pleasure(which was my chief aim-not to become a major player or attain prominence in the field) or just forget it and go back to the Anasazi and other Native American flutes.

I chose the former and will give it my best shot. As long as I enjoy it and my wife doesn't attack me for playing,I'm happy :-)

As for the vibrato issue: I listened to Stan Richardson's  Zen meditation CD just last night and notice quite a bit of vibrato (or what I hear as the typical warbling) in some of the works.They are not supposed to all be Honkyoku but with the slight vibrato they sounded nice.Maybe I'm wrong here and am hearing more than I should.I have always been criticized for wanting the minute details brought out.

Hence my love of Mahler and his works.    Micromanagement!!!

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#14 2010-12-29 12:30:26

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
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Posts: 529
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Also, I think that beginners, even into intermediate players, tend to make sound using a pretty highly focused airstream on a relatively small part of the utaguchi.  This makes head shaking difficult, as the focus on that particular point is quickly lost.  Blowing long clean tones builds up your tidal volume and provides the strength in breath that is necessary to both open the lips a little, utilizing more of the utaguchi, while still allowing for a less pinched embochure while still allowing for the focus necessary to create a good tone.  Ironically, using the diaphramatic vibrato, like that from the Nezasa (sp?) repetoire is also useful in strengthening the diaphram.  Still you would need a teacher to show the proper technique, as it is different from whistle playing, i think.  I am just scraping this stage in the development of my playing after three years of practice, with lessons.

Miles Davis used to be jealous of the vibrato that all the old jazz guys around during his childhood would insert into music.  His music teacher told him to play his tones clear and round.  As he aged, he would "get shakey soon enough."


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#15 2010-12-29 18:49:35

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick.

This is not the first time you've used that analogy, Brian.

(Emphasis mine.)


"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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#16 2010-12-29 19:18:23

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick.

This is not the first time you've used that analogy, Brian.

(Emphasis mine.)

LOL

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#17 2010-12-30 01:40:43

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick.

This is not the first time you've used that analogy, Brian.

(Emphasis mine.)

Point?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#18 2010-12-30 01:58:59

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

As noted some schools have subtle vibrato and others the players look like hookers in the back seat of a Buick.

This is not the first time you've used that analogy, Brian.

(Emphasis mine.)

Point?

Oh, nothing.

Just that _someone_ has a need to make a comparison between a shakuhachi player and a prostitute.


"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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#19 2010-12-30 07:18:52

Tairaku 太楽
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Just that _someone_ has a need to make a comparison between a shakuhachi player and a prostitute.

OK X. when you play your 3.0 you look like a pole dancer on a bender! Is that better?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#20 2010-12-30 11:39:49

rpowers
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From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 285

Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Just that _someone_ has a need to make a comparison between a shakuhachi player and a prostitute.

OK X. when you play your 3.0 you look like a pole dancer on a bender! Is that better?

I thought he was just trying to boost the value of his Buick stock.


"Shut up 'n' play . . . " -- Frank Zappa
"Gonna blow some . . ." -- Junior Walker
"It's not the flute." -- Riley Lee

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#21 2011-01-03 09:01:20

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

J Ross wrote:

As for the vibrato issue: I listened to Stan Richardson's  Zen meditation CD just last night and notice quite a bit of vibrato (or what I hear as the typical warbling) in some of the works.They are not supposed to all be Honkyoku but with the slight vibrato they sounded nice.Maybe I'm wrong here and am hearing more than I should.I have always been criticized for wanting the minute details brought out.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting here. Most of the shakuhachi "vibrato" I've heard is the "head shake" kind of vibrato, not the Western "diaphragm" vibrato. A lot of players can get a really nice head shake vibrato that sounds just like a good diaphragm vibrato. If it's on a CD you can't tell what technique is being used, if it's a video you still might not be able to tell because some players are able to get a nice head shake vibrato with very little head movement.

I think a good rule to use with self-learning shakuhachi is that not having breaks in the tone (and getting the tone to sound at will, but that's not an issue with vibrato) is your highest priority. If your head shake vibrato breaks the tone keep it down to a point where it doesn't, if that means no head shake vibrato, fine, try again some other day.

As far as using diaphragm vibrato, I may be wrong, but at one point I thought that using it some was helping me in getting and holding onto tones. Maybe it was because the problem with getting and holding tones for me at the time was that I was using the wrong amount of air pressure and varying it some helped find and keep the tone. Please don't take this as advice, the consensus here on shakuhachiforum seems to be that diaphragm vibrato is not to be messed with. Whether it's good as a learning tool or not is just food for thought, maybe worthy of experimentation.

BTW, I think it's way more difficult to get a good sounding diaphragm vibrato on shakuhachi than on some other flutes and may be the reason it's not typically used with shakuhachi.


"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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#22 2011-01-03 11:10:27

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

You are correct in the diaphragm vibrato and head shake can sound the same to some. It certainly could be. But to the ear,vibrato is vibrato and I now know that it is not used most of the time in shakuhachi music. I was simply curious why it was being used I guess. All depends on the music being played too. Some people like vibrato and so the added effect is not an issue.

I have been practicing quite a bit on NOT adding vibrato and am starting to get better at it.It takes time but I think once I start my lessons and practice even more that all will be good.

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#23 2011-01-03 13:34:16

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
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Posts: 1030
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

J Ross wrote:

But to the ear,vibrato is vibrato and I now know that it is not used most of the time in shakuhachi music.

I'm not sure about that "most of the time" part of your statement. A very large number of shakuhachi recordings I have use vibrato, probably the head shake kind, but as you pointed out, it's the sound of the vibrato and not the method it's being produced by that you are curious about. And I'm not counting honkyoku, where if there is any "vibrato" used, it typically isn't being used to sweeten up a nice melody.

A lot of Western baroque music for transverse flute or recorder isn't supposed to be played with any vibrato either, and when it is finger vibrato is supposed to be used. On silver flute diaphragm vibrato can really give the tone a punch. Each kind of vibrato, head shake, finger, or diaphragm can be used to cover up pitch problems, or if your pitch is good, some think vibrato makes a note sound like it's "going" some place.

Any kind of vibrato is difficult to get right, and no listener wants to hear mistakes. For this reason, when improvising or interpreting Western pieces in public you'll probably get a better performance out of it without the vibrato, but if you can pull it off (and it isn't Western baroque music) go for it..., the reason it's overused is that it sounds good when done well.

Here's a nice Western history of vibrato for flute: http://www.standingstones.com/flutevib.html

Last edited by radi0gnome (2011-01-03 13:37:17)


"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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#24 2011-01-03 16:57:11

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Nobody said vibrato is usually not used.

What we said is that beginners should not use it until they know which vibrato is standard for the piece they are playing.

The example of Stan Richardson is good. His CD is 1/2 Yamaguchi style Kinko honkyoku and 1/2 Myoan and Jin Nyodo stuff.

For the Yamaguchi music he uses the vibrato associated with that style and sounds similar to Yamaguchi.

For the other music he uses a variety of different effects depending upon the piece.

He has not decided "Oh man, I dig Yamaguchi's vibrato, so I'll stick it on "Kyorei! That'll be an improvement!" (Actually I have heard players do this and it's foul).

He knows which vibrato is good for which piece. Beginners have no way of knowing, therefore they should not decide on their own. And to use western vibrato instead of head vibrato because you can't hear the difference on a recording is a big "no-no".

Vibrato is one of the biggest defining factors in shakuhachi, proceed with caution.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#25 2011-01-03 17:06:48

J Ross
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From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
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Re: Vibrato,Tsukiyuru,Tate Yuri and the beginner.

Thanks Brian for the information. I have learned so much here!! 

Jim

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