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I just got an Armenian Duduk today, and noticed that after half an hour of playing it, the muscles in my face were all completely exhausted. There's a LOT of pressure involved, and it forces the muscles particularly around the mouth to work very hard.
After having played the Duduk, I picked up my shakuhachi and could barely get a note out of it, because my muscles were too spent to make the proper shape.
So, my question is, has anyone used this as a strengthening method, or would this have a negative effect on playing the shakuhachi in the long run?
I would guess the same thing would happen with most reed instruments, and probably horns as well.
I had a silver flute teacher once that said that the sax embouchure is destructive to the flute embouchure. There's a lot of awesome doublers out there though. Ned Rothenberg is an example, he is a shakuhachi player who is well-known for his reed playing.
I, personally couldn't go from sax to shakuhachi without at least a few minutes in between. The same went for didgeridoo and shakuhachi. The strong vibration blew out my shakuhachi embouchure temporarily. I just decided not to do that rather than try to develop the ability to do it. Just lazy I guess. Going from one kind of flute to another isn't a problem though.
I played Armenian duduk for many many years - ans as much as shakuhachi now. I made a life from the duduk, and was not a bad player, actually. When I started shakuhachi I noticed that my duduk embouchure did not get along with my shakuhachi embouchure AT ALL. I had to decide which instrument to continue with. I sacrificed the duduk.
I have duduks to sell, and the other day someone was interested in purchasing one from me. I did some recording for him. My shakuhachi embouchure wasn't back in form until about three days later because of my muscle memory control from that distant musical life. The Armenian duduk demands a unquely crafted embouchure that is at once loose (cheeck puffed out), and at the smae time very tight (holding the reed) in shakuhachi terms, and developing very strong muscles in the lower lip to halp manage the vibrato technique.
Thanks for your replies.
That's what I was afraid of, I'm going to have to choose shakuhachi. Even though it can be done, as Ned Rothenberg is able to do it, I don't want to risk my (still very young) shakuhachi embouchure.
It's a shame, because the duduk does have an amazing tone, and would be useful to me in my occupation.
I find if I begin my practice session on a longer 2.4 I feel strengthened when I progress to shorter 2.1 or 1.8 flutes in the same session.
This may have more to do with deepening and easing my breathing plus opening and relaxing my throat than lip and cheek work.
This is particularly effective if I do Ro buki on the longer flute.
As one who has perhaps been playing shakuhachi for a month now, I've noticed (I think) that my efforts to develop a shakuhachi emborchure have benefitted my emborchure for my wooden irish flute and bansuris (though there are differences - it takes me a few minutes to adjust when I recklessly move between flutes) , so perhaps the shakuhachi is a great way to improve ones embrochure for transverse flutes.