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Using my thumb to hit Ri just sounds crummy. I know this is due partially to making the movement too big, and also, not playing this atari 10,000 times; does anyone else have suggestions? It's such a beautiful pop when played by the pro's.
I have problems with that one too. I'm getting better at it, what I found was that a lot of the problem was my hand/thumb wasn't positioned ideally for it. It seems that I have a tendency to hold my thumb a bit too tight making it easy to make a seal with a less than ideal hand/thumb position. For the atari you need to create a good seal with a very light, quick touch over the hole, for that your hand/thumb position has to be such that it will allow for a good seal with a light touch in general.
After that, I think it's all about having good aim. That I think is acquired more with good focused practice than anything else.
As a disclaimer, these are my own observations and opinions, I didn't get them from a teacher and may be way off the mark. Use any of this information with caution.
For a rapid, repeated strike, my teacher (Chikuzen) taught to hold my hand in a trombone-style position with a little space. To illuminate, make a C-shape with your thumb and index finger. Start with the thumb covering hole #5 and the index finger a cm or two from the opposite side of the flute. Next, pull your hand towards your body, thus opening the hole. Push your hand away from your body to close the hole again. Pull, push, pull, etc. The real trick is getting used to not pushing too hard and thus moving the utaguchi from your embouchure. You can practice this while doing other things (TV, reading, etc.) to beat the monotony.
Learn to play the Great Scottish Pipes in another life with proficiency and you'll have no trouble with any atari this time around on the shakuhachi. It's easy!
Last edited by Jeff Cairns (2010-05-20 21:23:25)