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#1 2005-11-04 18:05:38

JeffMartindale
Member
From: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Registered: 2005-10-15
Posts: 40
Website

Non Traditional Playing

I'm curious if there are any players who enjoy playing the shakuhachi but are not as interested in traditional music as a primary guide to playing. For example, I am a Native American flute player at heart and am also self-taught in the Shakuhachi. Yes, I play the instrument with similarities to the Native American flute, but utilize the unique capabilities of the Shakuhachi that the Native American flutes do not posess. My Japanese friend says I play more feminine than masculine with the Shakuhachi. I take this with a smile as I realize she and other people appreciate my own style on this instrument. There has actually been a lot of debate in the Native American flute world regarding the need to perform traditional music versus those making their own music on the flutes. A movement in the Native American flute culture, if you will, is to find your own style on the instrument. Certainly, I understand that even playing traditional shakuhachi music always involves the unique style and sound of each player. However, are there any of you who primarily play your own music versus focusing on the traditional music? Are there any primarily "rogue" players out there.  thanks for your thoughts.


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
        Mark Twain

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#2 2005-11-27 17:07:18

daiishi
Member
From: Arkansas
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 8
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

I have tried very hard to learn and perfect the traditional styles of shakuhachi music so that I understand the capability of the instrument I make. I think you have to be able to play traditional to make a traditional instrument. That being said I have performed with a bluegrass gospel group on many occasions, duets with the guitar in folk style, public improv with country and bluegrass and jazz fusion with a string quartet as a guest soloist. So far... nope no traditional performances except for my music in the park series. Yep I am a rogue also. Improv, modern and jazz are where my heart is at.


Some say history and tradition are everything. Some say their way is the only way. Some say the shakuhachi is just a container for a column of vibrating air. I suspect the truth is between all these.

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#3 2005-11-28 03:38:06

John Roff
Member
From: South Africa
Registered: 2005-10-21
Posts: 50

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Hi Jeff

I think I arrived at the Shakuhachi season of my life via the native american flute. I love the minor scales, the freedom of expression, the lack of traditionalism and structure that comes with the NAF. I am a maker, and I love the simplicity of minor scale fingerings, and the simplicity of the Shaukuhachi mouthpiece. I make up my own pieces, especially in natural places and inspirde by nature. Having said all that, the Shauhachi is very hard to play well, and I think that learning at least the basics of playing, traditional pieces, rhythyms etc., will help me to maximise the way the instrument can be used to play other things. I do enjoy the Honkyoku music, though it is a bit intense at times. I often blend Honkyoku phrases with other phrases of my own invention - the results sometimes sound good, but I am enjoying the journey, and other people are getting blessed along the way, so I think it's a good path.

So, I am learning some Shakuhachi tradition and discipline, and blending it with other traditions. Like Daiishi says, I can only make as good as I can play, and I want to make well, so I need to play well.

I don't know that I'm a rogue, but neither am I a traditionalist...

It would be good to share music sometime - I can send Mp3 files to your email address if you like.

Cheers

John


'Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything.' - Gregory of Nyssa

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#4 2005-12-29 10:56:05

philipgelb
Chef, musician, teacher
From: Oakland, California
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 135
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

My main interests in playing shakuhachi are in non traditional music. I mostly perform new music with alot of pieces being written for me as well as having written several of my own. I am also very interested in other musical forms on shakuhachi such as jazz, jewish music and free improvisation.

However, to get to this point, i needed a serious understanding of how the shakuhachi works in its traditional contexts.  Without a knowledge of traditional shakuhachi playing, you are missing out on the basic fundamental ideas of why the shakuhachi is designed the way it is. Understanding Japanese theory and scales will give you tremendous insight into how and why the shakuhachi is what it is.  Besides, honkyoku in particular is amazing music on its own and it seems awfully foolish to play an instrument and purposely remain ignorant and unaware of its history.

I have yet to hear a serious shakuhachi player who did not undergo an intensive study of traditional shakuhachi music!  Does anyone know any exceptions?


Philip Gelb
shakuhachi player, teacher & vegetarian chef
Oakland, CA
http://philipgelb.com  http://myspace.com/philipgelb, http://myspace.com/inthemoodforfood

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#5 2005-12-29 12:12:06

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

philipgelb wrote:

My main interests in playing shakuhachi are in non traditional music. I mostly perform new music with alot of pieces being written for me as well as having written several of my own. I am also very interested in other musical forms on shakuhachi such as jazz, jewish music and free improvisation.

However, to get to this point, i needed a serious understanding of how the shakuhachi works in its traditional contexts.  Without a knowledge of traditional shakuhachi playing, you are missing out on the basic fundamental ideas of why the shakuhachi is designed the way it is. Understanding Japanese theory and scales will give you tremendous insight into how and why the shakuhachi is what it is.  Besides, honkyoku in particular is amazing music on its own and it seems awfully foolish to play an instrument and purposely remain ignorant and unaware of its history.

I have yet to hear a serious shakuhachi player who did not undergo an intensive study of traditional shakuhachi music!  Does anyone know any exceptions?

I agree wholeheartedly with Phil here. Even if your interest is in playing non-traditional music it's advisable to learn traditional Japanese music as well. As far as shakuhachi players who make good non-traditional music without much training, Steve Cohn is very out there in his approach to shakuhachi as an improvisatory tool. But even he has some training.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#6 2005-12-29 16:52:59

kyoreiflutes
Member
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2005-10-27
Posts: 364
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Even great Rock Guitar Gods learn classical guitar first, so they can learn what all the guitar can do on its' own, before they go off into new territory. I remember when I was in High School guitar class, being a little surprised that these big hair little rock gods in my class actually WANTED to learn classical, instead of just rockin' out!

That's why I'm getting serious this year about the Shakuhachi, and THEN I'll go off somewhere else. It seems to me that the vast amount of Honkyoku rep is to make you understand what the flute can and can't do, and they're good lessons to listen to.

-E


"The Universe does not play favorites, and is not fair by its very Nature; Humans, however, are uniquely capable of making the world they live in fair to all."    - D.E. Lloyd

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."    -John Donne

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#7 2006-07-22 06:36:59

Peter Phippen
Member
Registered: 2005-10-18
Posts: 11

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Hi All,

I'm interested in "free improvisation". I have devoted a great deal of time to the instrument and improvisation as I seek a sound of "my own".

In 1993, Tim Lane, flute professor at the U-W Wisconsin, Eau Claire gave me a 2.0 Shakuhachi. I would listen to Shakuhachi recordings and try to sound like them, but I never could.

So, under the advice of art professor Tiit Raid, also from the U-W Wisonsin, Eau Claire I just started playing Shakuhachi my own way, finding my voice with this instrument. My sound keeps growing and changing all of the time.

Tiit Raid gave me my first good bamboo flute, a Bansuri, back in 1987, and told me to just play, so I did and still do.

I really do not think that Shakuhachi can ever be "Mastered". From where I sit, it seems Shakuhachi is a lifelong task that can never be reached no matter how good you get. For the better you become and the more you know, the less you know and the more you need to learn all at the same time. Is this not so?

The best to you all,
Peter Phippen
www.peterphippen.com

"Accomplish the great task by a series of small acts" - TAO TE CHING

Last edited by Peter Phippen (2006-07-24 22:04:47)

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#8 2006-07-22 14:02:13

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 867
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

philipgelb wrote:

Without a knowledge of traditional shakuhachi playing, you are missing out on the basic fundamental ideas of why the shakuhachi is designed the way it is.

This statement makes sense regarding my own experience with shakuhachi.

I love playing and hearing the shakuhachi in areas outside of tradition; punk, rock, jazz, etc. I am not a good student. However, when I've been able to tough it out and study the traditional music with teachers, my understanding of the possibiities of this instrument have increased exponentially. Also, having a connection to the building blocks of the music and the instrument has broadened my flutemaking understanding. It's given me an appreciation of why this flute is what it is and provided me with more tools to go outside that tradition.

Ken

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#9 2007-03-02 08:31:08

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

It seems that there is the opinion that honkyoku and other traditional Japanese forms are mostly for the purpose of learning the ropes, from which a pot of gold resulting from personal and individual exploration might be found once the twines of the ropes are well assimilated.  Though this might be the case for some, I disagree with this as an absolute insight.  I suggest that it is possible to spend more than a lifetime delving into the depths of the traditional forms and constantly be amazed.  With that statement made, I would also like to suggest that delving into anything in depth will produce deep aspects of whatever you are delving into as long as you have intent and conviction.  The real question is whether you want to be acknowledged by people who prod the boundries of 'their' tradition with respect to what you do or not.  Sometimes 'in the box' can be 'out of the box'.  Sometimes there are just different boxes or everything can be viewed as 'in the box' by someone who happens to inhabit a box that is more encompassing.
jeff


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

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#10 2007-03-02 10:08:05

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Say what?


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

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#11 2007-03-02 19:21:59

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Sorry edosan.  I wrote that a little after my box evaporated late last night.  One of the problems of spending time on the other side of the world.  There are shards of meaning there though if you care to dig. 
Another question: Are there any non-traditional shakuhachi teachers out there?  And I'm not referring to methods, but rather content.  If so, from what point do you start teaching non-traditional content, and do you encorporate traditional technique?
Yet another nebulous question: Can non-traditionalism only be a solitary pursuit?


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

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#12 2007-03-02 20:06:15

Michael Howard
Member
From: Kingston WA
Registered: 2006-03-22
Posts: 44
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Jeff Cairns wrote:

Sorry edosan.  I wrote that a little after my box evaporated late last night.  One of the problems of spending time on the other side of the world.  There are shards of meaning there though if you care to dig. 
Another question: Are there any non-traditional shakuhachi teachers out there?  And I'm not referring to methods, but rather content.  If so, from what point do you start teaching non-traditional content, and do you encorporate traditional technique?
Yet another nebulous question: Can non-traditionalism only be a solitary pursuit?

Hi Jeff, what would be a good example of "non traditional content" from your point of view?


The Tao is (like) the emptiness of a vessel; and in our employment of it we must be on our guard against all fulness. How deep and unfathomable it is, as if it were the Honoured Ancestor of all things!

www.kolbeflutes.com       http://www.myspace.com/bushidoshakuhachi

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#13 2007-03-02 20:13:55

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Non Traditional Playing

A very non-traditional note. I have always played solitary with the didges, Shakuhachi and the NAF. Used to play African drums in large groups. In the next few weekends, I am supposed to get together with a friend of mine who still plays African drums and an electric bass player. We hope to create some interesting stuff, more on the line of rhythmic. We will likely mic the flutes. The didges will stand their ground without. I am most curious to hear the Shakuhachi in that kind of mix. Could prove to be a mind bender.

I guess that qualifies as non-traditional?

BTW: Pepe' Danza plays Shakuhachi with his Afro-Cuban group. He plays Djembe and mixes it up with Shakuhachi and a flute made from an eagle feather. Incredible artist. Traditional or non, Pepe's command of the instrument is spellbinding.

D.J.

Last edited by D.J. (2007-03-02 21:04:06)


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#14 2007-03-02 20:38:13

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Jeff Cairns wrote:

Can non-traditionalism only be a solitary pursuit?

Well, lessee: Non-solitary non-traditional players?

Consider:

     Phil Gelb (who, among other non-traditional things, plays in a group called 'Natto'). Phil plays traditional and waaay non-traditional.

     Riley Lee, who plays Hawaiian music with a slack-key guitar player--I supposed it's arguable whether that's traditional or not. He is
        also quite good at improvising his butt off--even does a great take-off on Waltzing Matilda. Also improvises Honkyoku, in that he
        puts together Honkyoku elements on the fly in a pretty cogent manner.

     John Neptune. Along with music of many non-Japanese ethnicities, he plays a Palestrina choral piece he arranged for shakuhachi. Also
        does great Jazz standards on a 2.4, and lots of original music.

     David Zasloff--Jazz/Blues en ensemble.

     Peter Ross--Jazz, Blues, Mexican and Arabian music (at least...).

     There's a fellow in Portland who plays in an avant garde ensemble--I disremember his name--posted on the shakuhachi e-list.


Regarding the notion of playing ANY music on the shakuhachi without using at least most of the armamentarium of shakuhachi technique:

Makes little sense to me--might as well use something else, 'cause in that case you are no longer playing a shakuhachi.

Unless, of course one defines 'traditional' as using shakuhachi technique, which I do not.

eB

Last edited by edosan (2007-03-02 20:41:02)


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

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#15 2007-03-02 20:42:48

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

kyoreiflutes wrote:

Even great Rock Guitar Gods learn classical guitar first...

Mind naming a few of those?

eB


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

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#16 2007-03-02 20:47:33

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Edosan Quote: Regarding the notion of playing ANY music on the shakuhachi without using at least most of the armamentarium of shakuhachi technique:

Makes little sense to me--might as well use something else, 'cause in that case you are no longer playing a shakuhachi.


Whoa! I have a decent vocabulary, but I had to Google that:

n. pl. ar·ma·men·tar·i·ums or ar·ma·men·tar·i·a (--)
1. The complete equipment of a physician or medical institution, including books, supplies, and instruments.
2. The complete range of materials available or used for a task.

I'll slip that into a conversation next week at work! I like it!

D.J.

Last edited by D.J. (2007-03-02 21:07:16)


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#17 2007-03-03 03:08:37

Michael Howard
Member
From: Kingston WA
Registered: 2006-03-22
Posts: 44
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

D.J. wrote:

A very non-traditional note. I have always played solitary with the didges, Shakuhachi and the NAF. Used to play African drums in large groups. In the next few weekends, I am supposed to get together with a friend of mine who still plays African drums and an electric bass player. We hope to create some interesting stuff, more on the line of rhythmic. We will likely mic the flutes. The didges will stand their ground without. I am most curious to hear the Shakuhachi in that kind of mix. Could prove to be a mind bender.

I guess that qualifies as non-traditional?

BTW: Pepe' Danza plays Shakuhachi with his Afro-Cuban group. He plays Djembe and mixes it up with Shakuhachi and a flute made from an eagle feather. Incredible artist. Traditional or non, Pepe's command of the instrument is spellbinding.

D.J.

I really love both the traditional and non traditional usage of the instrument, both expressions are very beautiful to me. I was recently asked to put some shakuhachi in the mix for a fusion band, it really brought the music into a whole different realm and I hope to use it more in these settings.


The Tao is (like) the emptiness of a vessel; and in our employment of it we must be on our guard against all fulness. How deep and unfathomable it is, as if it were the Honoured Ancestor of all things!

www.kolbeflutes.com       http://www.myspace.com/bushidoshakuhachi

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#18 2007-03-03 04:23:08

dstone
Member
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
Website

Re: Non Traditional Playing

A few "non-traditional" acoustic uses of the shakuhachi that I have heard in performance and enjoyed:

* sustained tinkly/aoelian/whisper tones
* ignoring the edge, blowing through the flute with both lips basically inside the flute, sort of didge-style (works best on very wide bore flutes)
* polyphony (e.g. when a harmonic actually joins in but doesn't replace your target note -- something we normally try to avoid)
* "toneless", but still pitched, blowing (i.e. all "breath", as if you are missing the edge)
* forcefully smacking holes closed without blowing, just for the multi-pitched percussive sound (also smacking fingertips on the side of the flute for similar effect)
* vocalizing through the flute, usually while blowing
* playing transversely, blowing across a thumb or finger hole

-Darren.


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

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#19 2007-03-03 10:08:23

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

dstone wrote:

A few "non-traditional" acoustic uses of the shakuhachi that I have heard in performance and enjoyed:

* sustained tinkly/aoelian/whisper tones

Cool. I'm wondering what the aoelian part of the description means though.

dstone wrote:

* ignoring the edge, blowing through the flute with both lips basically inside the flute, sort of didge-style (works best on very wide bore flutes)

Is this with buzzing lips or a wind sound? There's a wind-pop sort of sound you can get on transverse flute by doing that without buzzing. Blow hard and quickly let your tongue stop the air flow for the pop. I think it's called a jet whistle. I saw someone take the head joint off a transverse flute once and play the rest of the flute like a didjeridoo. He called it a didjeriflute. When I tried I couldn't get the buzzing to work in such a thin tube (I've opened up the mouthpiece on most of my American made didjes, I like wide openings). I'm sorry I forget the flute player's name, he was an extremely good professional flute player who played East-Indian music on silver flute. I've tried doing the jet-whistle thing on shakuhachi but didn't like the idea of anything but wind touching the utaguchi, never tried the didjeriflute thing but I wouldn't for the same reason.   

dstone wrote:

* polyphony (e.g. when a harmonic actually joins in but doesn't replace your target note -- something we normally try to avoid)

Umm... I don't really know traditional music, but when they do those finger taps over the holes they get a harmonic for an instant. I thought it was deliberate. You can get and sustain those much more easily than just balancing harmonics by closing the the first one or two bottom holes and opening the next hole up. This sort of helps force the lower harmonic while you bring the higher one in.   

dstone wrote:

* "toneless", but still pitched, blowing (i.e. all "breath", as if you are missing the edge)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. In Gould's improviation for his Yuu endorsement, he gets a nice long wind sound. Is that it?

dstone wrote:

* forcefully smacking holes closed without blowing, just for the multi-pitched percussive sound (also smacking fingertips on the side of the flute for similar effect)

OK, the bamboo is kind of thick to get much on the side of the flute though. Maybe with a mic.

dstone wrote:

* vocalizing through the flute, usually while blowing

Aside from an extended technique, this is really good for your tone. Robert Dick calls it "throat tuning". The theory is that your vocal chords (even when not vocalizing) are part of the acoustical system, so if you vocalize to the same note while playing, you condition your vocal chords to maximize the resonance. I'm not sure if I buy the science behind the theory, but it works. *Try it, you'll like it*. One caveat is that if your already extremely accomplished and already getting the most out of your tone, you of course won't notice much difference. It works best when you're struggling some with getting a good tone.

dstone wrote:

* playing transversely, blowing across a thumb or finger hole

I never heard of that one. It sounds almost too radical smile

Last edited by radi0gnome (2007-03-03 15:48:56)


"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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#20 2007-03-03 15:46:29

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Here's a link to some extended techniques for silver flute complete with demonstrations.

http://www.johnmcmurtery.com/ET/

He separates the jet whistle and tongue rams, so what I described would probably be more accurately called a jet whistle with a tongue ram. I decided I'd try it with the 2.2 I got from Perry (my 1.8 has some shoddy repairs I made to the utaguchi that I don't want to touch) and couldn't get the jet whistle but the tongue ram works fine. The funny thing is, is that when I couldn't get it to work on shakuhachi I tried it on both my plastic Irish flutes, no luck. No luck with a bamboo tranverse flute either. But, it works with the rosewood Irish flute and silver flute. Why the heck should the material matter for jet whistles? It sort of makes me think its more fodder for the material debate. Maybe Mike could try it with one of his metal shakuhachi. It's real easy, just make sure there is no air leak at the mouthpiece and blow as hard as you can.

I also remember that back in the day it was fun to put a cork in the bottom of the silver flute and you could get a note an octave lower than the lowest note on the flute. That doesn't work with shakuhachi either for some reason.


"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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#21 2007-03-06 23:14:19

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

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Has anyone else noticed this sample Perry Yung had for one of his 2.4 flutes on Ebay? Sounds good to me!

http://www.yungflutes.com/samples/hocchikulive.mp3


"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 2007-03-07 01:10:49

Furiousgeorge
Member
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: 2007-03-05
Posts: 11

Re: Non Traditional Playing

Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but I read this passage of one of my favorite books over again today and I was reminded of this forum topic. It comes from Chronicles of the Tao by Deng Ming Dao and it pertains to two wandering Taoist masters who shun traditional monastic life and achieve great hieghts:

"Knowledge and its history formed tradition, and tradition was also useful, even to the iconoclastic Taoists. They explained that traditional knowledge was an aid in shaping the efforts of the beginner. It was a rich and varied source of all the tried processes, the improved methods, and even the dead ends of investigation. It stood as the delineation of the boundaries of human imagination. Inviting spontaneous excursions inside its borders, or allowing reasonable attempts to expand its frontiers, tradition was the crucial matrix for an individual's efforts."

I felt like this helped expand my understanding of how traditional practices actually help improve the non-traditional experiments of artists of all kinds.

Hope this is useful


All Presence is born of Absence

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#23 2007-06-12 23:39:50

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Non Traditional Playing

I've always played improvisationally.  Only in the last couple of years have I finally gotten my hands on some notation, that being Yoshinobu Taniguchi's big book from Tai Hei.  I used to be critical, to some degree, of what I thought of as a really constricting tradition, in which everyone seemed doomed to always play the same pieces over & over & over.  Now, though, as I've started to work with traditional pieces on my own, I appreciate them like never before.  I love them, and see them as great gifts!  Even though I don't have someone around to guide me first-hand, working with them makes me feel like I'm plugged in to something truly profound.  I feel happy for those who who've gone off to Japan and learned in the traditional manner.

That being said, I still think that creative improvisation is a great place to hang out in its own right, and I do it all the time... always will.  For this ability, I have often looked to the average Mockingbird for inspiration... along with our many talented peers who've recorded their work.

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#24 2007-06-13 05:28:17

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Non Traditional Playing

The question "Why reinvent the wheel?" comes to mind and has probably already been mentioned somewhere in this context.  The shakuhachi has a tradition dating back centuries so it seems that one would want to take advantage of the knowledge that has been accumulated and passed down through the years in addition to doing one's own thing on the flute.  As someone pointed out, rock and roll musicians and jazz musicians usually learn from musicians who went before, the rock gods or jazz greats, whoever, so why should it be any different for shakuhachi, with its much longer history?  Of course there is the occasional musical prodigy but most players are probably going to discover things by dipping into the traditional music that they would never have figured out in a lifetime of just practicing on their own.  I love improvizing as well but a lot of the uniqueness of the shakuhachi and its music are tied in with its tradition so to not have a go at the traditional music would seem to be a lost opportunity, but then again, everyone has their own path to follow.   As Phil mentioned,  Steve Cohn is one of the players out there on the edge but he also studied traditional music with Yamaguchi Goro? or another prominent Japanese shakuhachi player.  As Edosan pointed out, many well known foreign players of improvizational music of one sort or another have done their stint or are still working at traditional music too.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2007-06-13 23:26:02)

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#25 2007-11-14 14:12:06

Markus
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From: Berlin, Germany
Registered: 2007-07-25
Posts: 5
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Re: Non Traditional Playing

Let me state first that the reflective depth of many contributions on this board impress me very much (I've been to others, namely clarinet/saxophone-related, &, to be frank, it's all an either very reactionist or childish stuff), it's very refreshing & stimulating to read through by far the most posts here. Thank You.
   An instrument always has a past, which isn't identical to that it has a tradition. History teaches nothing, tradition does, a whole waggonload, & the difficulty lies in to munch through all that & yet be able to dischard it all, at the same time, not parallel to it, mind. The shakuhachi's tradition is avantgarde to the extreme, many of the most traditional, in-box techniques sound to the contemporary wonder-wonder-wonderfully far out. It is not non-traditional to play jazz on the shakuhachi, that is just changing one set of chains for another. Nowoadays, in the 21st century, there are enough extra-performers, many experimental compositions & so many ways to tear free from any bonds tradition lays on performance & composition, it's the best of times to go where noone has been before. &, there, meet others, yes. Nowaday's playing isn't about any particular style or scene, it's not about getting trapped, but using Klezmer techniques in a punk-environment, multiphonics on a windinstrument in a Renaissance piece for organ etc etc & what have you.
Markus


"Make maps, not copies!" G. Deleuze

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