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#1 2014-04-01 20:13:11

chas. monaghan
Member
From: MS
Registered: 2014-01-18
Posts: 7

ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

Ok so i'm starting to see a trend across five flutes in progress.  I hve been able to make all fingerings work according to the zensabou chart and the chart from Carl Abbott's blowing Zen expanded  (which btw is a fantastic in depth resource, I highly recommend it).  Before holes are drilled, I'm getting well tuned balanced octaves and can get almost all fingerings fairly balanced (to my ear and demands, at least). After all of that , ro kan is sharp, ha go is sharp, and hi go is very difficult but fairly well in tune when I can squish it out. Oddly the fingerings above hi go play with ease??!!...up to re dai kan which is pretty hairy...this is almost the exact same on 3 flutes and very similar to the other two...(those having some quirks of own).  Any advice on this problem? Thanks y'all


"play yourself"
Charles mingus

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#2 2014-04-02 10:06:49

Mujitsu
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From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 884
Website

Re: ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

Charles,

If the bamboo pieces are similar it might help explain the issue. Upper second register issues are a common problem. Especially on wider bore shakuhachi. And it's not unusual for the third register to play well with those issues. Do you know if your aspect ratio is wide, thin or midrange? Are you saying without the holes the octaves are in tune, but after you drill the holes ro kan goes sharp? That information could help to narrow things down.

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#3 2014-04-02 19:04:37

chas. monaghan
Member
From: MS
Registered: 2014-01-18
Posts: 7

Re: ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

The ro kan goes sharp after drilling, yes, and the aspect ratio is slightly large...the flute in D measures 518mm, Eb @ 490mm and E @ 470. The nodes are very nearly flush in all 3.
I've brought ro kan down on the Eb flute by adding epoxy in middle of the top quarter and a little in the lower quarter (embouchure adjustments made for ro otsu were made for a positive result in timbre) I made the same adjustments with epoxy on the D flute with better results, hi go not happening hut notes above happening with ease and tuneable (up to re) the E flute has similar characteristics but to a lesser degree with no addition.  I'm really hoping to overcome these issues to have really decent flutes if even for a beginner such as I.
Thanks!
Thanks!


"play yourself"
Charles mingus

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#4 2014-04-03 11:14:08

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 884
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Re: ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

Thanks Charles.

It's been my experience that wider than conventional size shakuhachi are more forgiving on longer flutes. Wider bore flutes at 1.8 and shorter are more difficult to pull off. They invite the issues you bring up and often require a juggling act in the bore. Hitting the quarter points as you mentioned seems like a logical place to start. It's hard to say beyond that without experiencing the flutes first hand. I have many wider bore, short shakuhachi in the same state collecting dust. I feel your pain. yikes

Wider bore shakuhachi have a unique sound, and can be pulled off, but I think working on flutes with a more conventional bore profile will eliminate most of these issues.

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#5 2014-04-03 20:58:54

chas. monaghan
Member
From: MS
Registered: 2014-01-18
Posts: 7

Re: ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

Lessons to apply in the cane stand...phyllostachys aureosulcata is what I find in super abundance for free round here...I'll keep searching...it seems my playing is held back by the instrument/my making skills for the while (which I guess is better than the reverse, if not more painful). I'll get to buy a good shakuhachi one day.
Thanks,  I am really enjoying the forum.


"play yourself"
Charles mingus

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#6 2014-04-05 06:22:35

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: ro kan, ha go sharp, hi go difficult....

Let me interfere in an otherwise comprehensible conversation ...

Phyllostachys aureosulcata is different from phyllostachys bambusoides (the particular Madake used for making traditional shakuhachi in Japan). How it is different and why I will leave up to botanists and craftsmen. But that difference in and of itself may or may not color your understanding, conversation and decision making. It may be entirely insubstantial.

Decisions made upon absolute pitch - according  to whomever's chart - is fine if you are going to make precise pitch fully puttty-ed (jiarai) shakuhachi. If you are going to spot tune that is another factor. If you are going to go purist jinashi that is yet another.

With a fully putty-tuned jiari shakuhachi, if you are an excellent craftsman, you can make a completely tuned, perfectly balanced instrument if you are skilled enough - noting that each piece of bamboo has different bore/wall and chimney-hole differences. If you are successful in the modern, Western-pitch-preferred style of manufacture, you will have a shakuhachi that plays perfectly in pitch and dynamism with little or no adjustment in playing angle or volume from one hole to another, from one octave to another - in essence, what could be termed as a "push-button shakuhachi." To each hole its note, to each quarter/half fingering a note and to each dynamic change its desired timbre and effect.

With spot-tuned or a pure jinashi you will have different compromises for different pieces of bamboo - making the process remarkably more complex. Your skill as a craftsman may have to be more advanced than of a jiari craftsman, depending on the outcome you desire.

With spot-tuned (semi-jinashi) or pure jinashi you may have to compromise pitch with timbre and attack. So which do you favor and for what reason?

Is Ro Kan always sharp? Does that really matter within 10 or 20 cents? Is Ha Go always sharp ... or is it always flat ... within 10 or 20 cents? Hi Go? How MILDLY are you willing to approach that note in order to play it to your liking? Most approaches to that elusive note are very mild.

Are you really going to need to go beyond Hi Go very much? Go no Hi/Go-no-Ha? In my notation system those upper kan notes are Ha, Hi and Fu. Beyond that is unnecessary for classical honkyoku.

I find that most old style classical jinashi or semi-jinashi shakuhachi with equidistant and equally sized holes fall (fairly) outside of common Western pitch. The ostsu-Ro will be "flatter" - it will have to be played more "kari" to be in pitch -- the trade off, so to speak, is that you will have a lot more room to play Ro-meri and even Ro-dai-meri notes. If the Tsu is "flatter" than common Western pitch you will have to approach that in a more kari poistion -- and the big trade off is that you will have more room for Tsu-meri and dai-Tsu-meri notes.

The Re should be a pretty stable Re (G) to a 1.8 D-tuned shakuahchi ... but the hole above it - CHI - might be tuned sharp by 10 or more cents, intentionally. Why ... ?

Because in order to play a "normal" A-note in Chi you will have to play it slightly shaded (kazashi) ... Why? Because when you play the "OU" (a Chi note with the Re-hole closed) you will have a greater pitch and timbral range for OU which makes it an infinitely more interesting note than if a perfectly open Chi hole were fixed at perfect A=440.

Then where do your 4th and 5th hole notes stand? Some old style makers find it useful for those holes to pitch slightly "flatter". Playing those notes slightly kari gives greater lift to the sound and allows, again, for deeper, more flexible meri or flatted notes.

The older makers made a lot more room for players' tonal and expressive needs - particularly for honkyoku - but also, somewhat less, for ensemble music before absolute Western pitch became more standard in Japanese Sankyoku music. Older Sankyoku music is often far from modern Western pitch. Listen to the old 78s. Those were fully putty-ed jiari flutes but still with "sharp" Chi or flat Tsu and otsu-Ro notes. The shamisen and koto tunings and timbre were noticeably different from more modern and Westernized approaches.

So before trying to meet the ALL of the needs for absolute pitch in shakuhachi making —including modern interpretations of honkyoku pitch according to Yokoyama-Dokyoku/Chikushinkai and Zensabo schools—  think about  the "needs" for precision of Western ideas about pitch versus the timbral and expressive possibilities available in older traditional "primitive" shakuhachi approaches.

Last edited by Moran from Planet X (2014-04-07 02:15:24)


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