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Outside of the obvious benefit of improving communication with other shakuhachi players and teachers, are there direct benefits to playing the shakuhachi which come from learning Japanese?
I've tossed around the idea of learning Japanese or Chinese for years. If there is a strong correlation between playing shakuhachi and learning Japanese, this may well be the time to do that.
My understanding is that Japanese is a language without tone inflection (as opposed to Chinese whose four tones--rising, falling, falling-rising, and even-pitched--define meaning). It's been explained to me that Japanese syllables do vary in length of duration, though, in spite of being monotonal . . . so possibly people well-attuned to the language would have a more highly developed sense of timing than the rest of us? This is an interesting question that you bring up. Were the first shakuhachi prototypes imported to Japan from China? The two languages could be seen as diametrically opposed. A professional linguist/musicologist might have a field day with this!
Oops sorry I just realized that I am not a pro, so maybe I shouldn't be responding here (??)
Last edited by saille (2005-11-25 00:03:49)
I believe that Chinese has simply had more time to develop into dramatically different dialects due to the overwhelming SIZE and age of China, whereas Japan is a fairly new country, relative to China. Perhaps.
I studied Japanese when I was younger, and had a hard time with it, myself. I was really into it, and studied, but I seem to have a problem remembering Japanese words for some reason. Of course, I wasn't raised with it, so of course, it's hard; I always think I'll go there and pick it up, but it is spoken FAST in Japan. There's also an incredible amount of Kanji to learn, and Japanese kids learn a rediculous amount of it, compared to our pitiful little English. I'm going back to school, and thought about taking it again, but I just don't think I'm wired like that; I'd rather just GO there, myself. Anyway...
Last edited by kyoreiflutes (2005-11-30 16:58:41)
Travis Winegar wrote:
If there is a strong correlation between playing shakuhachi and learning Japanese, this may well be the time to do that.
From what little I understand, some of the symbolic basis for Japanese musical notation can be found in study of simple Katakana - the angular script of syllabic Japanese (derived from Chinese characters, Kanji) . This helps 'ground' the idea of Kinko notation for me. Makes it real and somewhat demystifies* things.
*(Although I'm still trying to figure out how to read Watazumi's Meian score for Tamuke, from the Internat'l Shakuhachi Society membership site! And I have yet to see a Meian fingering chart in books or online).
Here's another very good one:
http://www.kanjistep.com/en/online/kata … intro.html
Last edited by Chris Moran (2005-12-10 01:48:39)
I think some general understanding of the language would do worlds for being able to understand a score more readily, regardless of the the caligrapher. Your link has already helped a bit.