World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat
You are not logged in.
Jeff, when I was saying that I can play the note in otsu without shading, but in Kan I can't, I was just using that as a reference for me to say that head meri is harder for me to do the higher in pitch I get. Maybe that is the way it is for everybody.
This is a normal phenomenon. Mostly because you are using a higher air speed to keep the note in kan which makes the pitch higher. Just continue playing. Eventually you'll be able to play very high notes at a low air speed.
Dealing with the pitch is difficult because there are so many ways to change the pitch. Often, while you're attempting to change it by dealing with one variable, it's something else that is affecting it more. I've mentioned before this aspect: there are at least 6 ways to control the pitch of your Tsu meri and they are there affecting it whether you are conscious of them or not. The variables that you are not conscious of are the ones that cause frustration, i.e. inconsistency, as they effect what your trying to do but without you knowing how. You may even eventually get the pitch you want and still not be aware of some of the variables. Then later you become aware and realize that there's an even "better" way to get the results you are already getting.
The wonderful thing about shakuhachi is that you have to CREATE the sound every time you put it up to your lips. That's the nature of the beast. There is nothing automatic about it. As shakuhachi players we have to make the apparatus(s) that enable us to make sound and deal with it. We do this in a variety of ways: with our breath, lips, teeth, tongue, cheeks, muscles, fingers, knuckles, brain, etc. etc. Then we get to use these sounds to play songs. Do piano players have to make the keys, hammers, strings, etc. of the instrument before they can learn how to make sounds? No. This comparison isn't to disparage piano players but to say things are different and we need to focus on what's important in shakuhachi playing to make it work. Thus, we have to create the air chamber(s), levers (fingers), mouthpiece(s)(lips, throat, tongue) and have good posture since that affects all the of these. I'm shocked at how many people I see who have been playing for years who don't know how to hold a shakuhachi. EVERYTHING makes a difference.
I know what you mean by money being tight but some teachers will work with you too.
Well, this is a great example of why it's good to get together (either in person or online) with a teacher. It is quite possible that your issue with tsu meri could be solved in minutes this way rather than becoming a long forum thread. It's hard to know exactly what the problem is, much less solve it, without seeing and hearing exactly what you're doing. There are many possibilities, and even if you seem to solve your problem it may be in a way that is not a great approach for the music, aka a "bad habit."
In addition, the "right" way of doing things is also very dependent on which tradition or lineage you're working with. Jeff's comment conforms with the way I learned in a very general way, but there are traditions in which tsu no meri is played unshaded, and even in Kinko there are several pieces where it has to be played that way so that you can hit hole one for a repeat. There are also lineages where otsu no u is generally played with three partially covered (and one open). There are good technical, timbral, and historic reasons for all of these differences, but without a teacher it can get pretty confusing.
Yes, I agree with you, Phil. Each style/school has various ways of playing meri notes in general. I think it's important to get your foundation with one style or teacher that appeals to you first. It really doesn't matter what style you study, as long as the teacher is a good one with good technique. When your technique get strong, then you can explore other ways of playing. In regards to the way I was taught meri initially, we were trained to develop a strong/loud/"heavy" meri and make it feel that the next kari note is lighter and softer than the previously played meri note. I believe this is a very good exercise as it increases the dynamic possibilities in one's overall playing, as it's a lot more easier to play a soft meri sound.
I think it's important to get your foundation with one style or teacher that appeals to you first. It really doesn't matter what style you study, as long as the teacher is a good one with good technique
If you're just thinking of playing meri notes-and I believe that's what Alvin is talking about here- that may be true. But, since Meian style often doesn't use half holing when doing meris, one should reflect before chosing. The technique being so different amongst the sects means what's becoming part of you is quite different. In the big picture of things you will eventually sound like and hopefully REEK of the style you chose. I say hopefully because that means you really practiced. One of the great things about this forum is that it does educate you to the fact that there are different styles and thus options when you go to study.
Last edited by chikuzen (2009-07-03 23:52:19)