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#1 2006-11-16 19:23:22

amokrun
Member
From: Finland
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 413

Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

It being this time of the year once again, I was thinking about traditional christmas songs that would be easily playable with shakuhachi. I figured that it would be nice to learn a piece or two that I could play and my girlfriend could sing. I would love to find some songs that I don't yet know about, especially ones from other cultures that may not be well known outside.

To start this, here's one that is especially suitable for beginners who can get a sound but not play some of the more difficult notes at all. This is, as far as I understand, a traditional finnish melody that just about everyone here knows. Not sure how popular this one is outside Finland. Like many traditional finnish songs, it's rather melancholic. The name, "Joulupuu on rakennettu", translates roughly as "Christmas tree has been decorated". I'm unsure of whether or not there are english lyrics for this.

http://www.helsinki.fi/~jnuotio/mids/joulupuu.html

That page has a midi file and the lyrics (in finnish). The midi is rather complicated, but the basic melody is very simple. I have a kinko notation sheet for it as well, but given the current copyright situation around here (which means, I have no idea what is legal anymore), I chose not to post it. If anyone is interested in saving some trouble, let me know and I'll send it to you.

The basic melody goes from C to C, so only one octave is needed. To make it really simple to play on shakuhachi, make that D to D. When played from D to D, the only "difficult" notes are Tsu Chu Meri, Ri Chu Meri, Ri Meri and Ro no Kan. However, I prefer to play Ri Meri with the alternative fingering and Ro no Kan as I, both which seem to fit this piece better. This also makes it rather easy to play because there is very little chin tilting or shading involved. It's a rather slow piece as well, so there should be no trouble keeping up with the pace.

If you know any interesting pieces that work well on shakuhachi, please do post them here.

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#2 2006-11-16 19:36:16

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Greensleeves" are both very easy to play on shakuhachi.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#3 2006-11-17 02:47:24

Ambi
Member
From: Leeds UK
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 108

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

"Silent Night" is a great simple christmas song to play. Try searching and I think there is an MP3 on the web somewhere, its played in Kan but works nicely in Otsu too.
Cheers


"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."

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#4 2006-11-17 02:54:17

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

I second Brian's suggestion of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"; that's one I often play.  "Good King Wenceslaus,"  "O Come O Come Emmanuel," and "The First Noel"  are also good.

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#5 2006-11-17 11:03:49

Larry Tyrrell
Moderator
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 2005-11-09
Posts: 73
Website

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Hello,

I'd suggest 'We Three Kings'; quite evocative on shakuhachi, and 'Coventry Carol'. Of the two
the former is probably easier to adapt to sing.  Enjoy!

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#6 2006-11-19 00:32:43

Yu-Jin
Member
From: San Diego
Registered: 2005-11-30
Posts: 108

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Hi,
The book "Play a Song of Christmas" by Ruth Zimmerman (publisher presser.com) has 35 Christmas carols in easy arrangements.

We are playing this year
Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming
Away in a Manger
Angels We Have Heard on High
Joy to the World
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Deck the Hall
Silent Night
We With You a Merry Christmas
O come, All Ye Faithful

Last edited by Yu-Jin (2006-11-19 00:33:20)

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#7 2006-12-12 15:53:00

Ralf
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 10

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

I'm planning on putting together a bit of a Christmas music book for myself, and am just playing with how best to do it. I've put up a sample of the format I'm currently thinking of at http://ralf.muhlberger.com/Shakuhachi with Silent Night. I'd appreciate any and all comments, or help :-)

Ralf

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#8 2006-12-12 16:34:23

PSTL
Member
From: Jacksonville, FL USA
Registered: 2006-08-02
Posts: 67

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Excellent work! I'll be playing through some "Silent Night", tonight.

Thank you.
cool

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#9 2006-12-12 20:18:25

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Looks great, Ralf.

Now all you need do is rearrange it for orchestra... smile

eB


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

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#10 2006-12-12 21:10:44

Ralf
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 10

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Thanks for the positive comments.

I wonder how long it will be before someone complains about the Ro dai meri at the end though ;-)

Ralf

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#11 2006-12-12 23:31:30

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Hi Ralf,
   Looks great!  Yeah, the ending Ro dai meri is a tough one to hit, but hey, it's a tough one to sing too:)   You might want to give yourself one line of space in between the western notes and the kinko notes because they overlap in the last section.   I'd love to see more of your compilations.

Josh

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#12 2006-12-13 02:50:05

Ralf
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 10

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Thanks Josh. I think it's also nice as it makes the piece a bit quieter at the end, more reflective. And I've fixed up that overlap, thanks for pointing it out.

Ralf

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#13 2006-12-13 05:27:21

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

You could also start with notation to play it once through in Kan and then a second time around in Otsu, ending on that quieter note.   Just a thought

Josh

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#14 2006-12-14 04:51:55

Bogert
Member
From: Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken
Registered: 2005-12-05
Posts: 203

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Can anyone switch "God rest ye merry gentlemen" or "We Three Kings" to Kinko notation?  I'm not very good at figuring that stuff out.  If anyone has something like that or can do it I would highly appreciate it.  I wanted to try to play something on Christmas for my family.  Go ahead and e-mail me or just post on here.  Thanks.
             Chris


理趣経百字の偈
菩薩勝慧者 乃至尽生死 恒作衆生利 而不趣涅槃 般若及方便 智度悉加持 諸法及諸有    一切皆清浄 欲等調世間 令得浄除故 
有頂及悪趣 調伏尽諸有 如蓮体本染 不為垢所染    諸欲性亦然 不染利群生 大欲得清浄 大安楽富饒 三界得自在 能作堅固利

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#15 2006-12-14 06:00:25

Ralf
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 10

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Bogert wrote:

Can anyone switch "God rest ye merry gentlemen" or "We Three Kings" to Kinko notation?  I'm not very good at figuring that stuff out.  If anyone has something like that or can do it I would highly appreciate it.  I wanted to try to play something on Christmas for my family.  Go ahead and e-mail me or just post on here.  Thanks.
             Chris

I've put a version of God Rest up at http://ralf.muhlberger.com/Shakuhachi

Enjoy,

Ralf

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#16 2006-12-14 16:16:00

philthefluter
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: 2006-06-02
Posts: 190
Website

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

There is a beautiful Irish carol called Don oiche ud i mBeithil (A Night in Bethlehem). I'll write it in simple notation.  All notes have one count (about a second each) unless otherwise stated:

Ro (upbeat) Re Ri-meri (Bb) Chi Re Tsu Re (2 beats) breath
Re (upbeat ) Ri-meri Ha (2 beats) Chi Tsu (3 beats) breath

Ro (upbeat) Re Ri-meri (Bb) Chi Re Tsu Re (2 beats) breath
Re (upbeat) Ri-meri Ha (2 beats) Chi Re (3 beats) breath

Ro-kan (upbeat) Tsu (kan) Ro-kan Ha Ro-kan Tsu Re (2 beats) breath
Chi (upbeat) Re Tsu-Ro-kan (2 eight notes or quavers) Ri-meri Ha Ro-kan (3 beats) breath

Ro (upbeat) Re Ri-meri (Bb) Chi Re Tsu Re (2 beats) breath
Re (upbeat) Ri-meri Ha (2 beats) Chi Re (3 beats)

Let it flow!


"The bamboo and Zen are One!" Kurosawa Kinko
http://www.shakuhachizen.com/
http://www.myspace.com/shakuhachizen

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#17 2006-12-14 19:11:03

Bogert
Member
From: Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken
Registered: 2005-12-05
Posts: 203

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Thanks guys thats awsome.  I already started playing them, great fun.
                                                                         Chris


理趣経百字の偈
菩薩勝慧者 乃至尽生死 恒作衆生利 而不趣涅槃 般若及方便 智度悉加持 諸法及諸有    一切皆清浄 欲等調世間 令得浄除故 
有頂及悪趣 調伏尽諸有 如蓮体本染 不為垢所染    諸欲性亦然 不染利群生 大欲得清浄 大安楽富饒 三界得自在 能作堅固利

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#18 2006-12-18 00:08:23

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Inspired by Ralf and others here, I cobbled together fingering cheats on some carol lead sheets.

"It Came Upon The Midnight Clear" and "What Child Is This?"  Here.

I had to transpose so hopefully I didn't botch any pitches or fingerings.  Ho ho ho.

-Darren.

Last edited by dstone (2007-12-20 13:16:10)


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 2006-12-21 00:28:59

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Apparently "White Christmas" is also suitable.  Here.

(That's John and Elizabeth Falconer.)

-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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#20 2006-12-22 01:02:56

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

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Oopsy.  Too much egg nog.

My transposing of "What Child Is This?" (Greensleeves) messed up some ri meris and one ro.  The PDF in the sheet music link I gave above has been fixed.

-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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#21 2007-12-15 06:56:28

philthefluter
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: 2006-06-02
Posts: 190
Website

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Christmas is approaching and time to brush up on some carols. Here's a link to a score and MP3 of the Irish carol 'Don oíche úd i mBeithil'.

http://www.shakuhachizen.com/index.html


"The bamboo and Zen are One!" Kurosawa Kinko
http://www.shakuhachizen.com/
http://www.myspace.com/shakuhachizen

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#22 2007-12-15 09:10:39

jumbuk
Member
From: South-eastern Australia
Registered: 2005-12-15
Posts: 85

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

The First Noel works nicely as well.  I have been using it and Silent Night as ways of practicing smooth meris (there are only a few notes that require meri).


... as if nothing is happening.  And it is!

Paul Mitchell, Jumbuktu 2006

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#23 2007-12-15 16:15:13

mrosenlof
Member
From: Louisville Colorado USA
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 82

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Silent Night also works well starting on Ri


Mike Rosenlof

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#24 2007-12-15 16:40:45

philthefluter
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: 2006-06-02
Posts: 190
Website

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

Sorry to anyone who looked at the Irish carol on my site. I discovered several mistakes in the score. I made the mistake of thinking Tozan when writing Kinko notation and used ha instead of ri. It has been corrected and the new version uploaded.


"The bamboo and Zen are One!" Kurosawa Kinko
http://www.shakuhachizen.com/
http://www.myspace.com/shakuhachizen

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#25 2007-12-20 11:41:59

TC
Member
Registered: 2007-03-09
Posts: 10

Re: Christmas songs suitable for shakuhachi?

I had been wondering if this thread would be brought up again this year.   I started reading the forum around this time last year and could barely squeak out the first few notes of Jingle Bells.   Now I've improved enough where I can at least play most of the melodies.   I think having them pounded into my head every year made them very familiar and fun to figure out on the Shakuhachi.   
I enjoyed reading the notations linked above even though I had begun writing out "What Child Is This" starting out on a Ri-meri (Key of Bm)
"Little Drummer Boy" is another easy one to figure out.   O Holy Night also sounds nice with the sustained high notes.

Peace,
Tom

Last edited by TC (2007-12-27 10:40:55)

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