Mujitsu and Tairaku's Shakuhachi BBQ

World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat

You are not logged in.


Tube of delight!

#1 2014-01-01 23:06:21

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

I would like to encourage a lively, and constructive exchange of ideas about raising the pitch of the Ro on a vintage 1.8 shakuhachi jiari or jinashi.

I have definite opinions about it, but rather than dirging on about how much I like or dislike the practice, I'd like to hear from players and makers.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3082/2548435635_a990be07b6_o.jpg
1.9 key of C Mujitsu Shakuhachi with an unaltered Ro by aaponivi, on Flickr


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#2 2014-01-02 19:10:57

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

I had a ridiculous 2.4 where all the holes were in line with 2.3 pitches but the ro was 1/2 step flat. So I changed it.

I had a 3.1 where it was basically in tune except the ro was way flat, so I opened it up.

But if you want to raise the pitch of the entire flute from A=432 to A=440 by changing every hole that is a sin if the flute is good to begin with. If it's crap, hack away!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#3 2014-01-03 03:44:38

jdanza
Moderator
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2008-06-19
Posts: 85
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Between having a quaint historical object that I don't touch or a living instrument I enjoy playing I choose #2... whatever it takes... I have a couple of very old instruments that were lovingly and respectfully restored and retuned by Perry Yung and I play them daily... I'm sure the ancestral spirits are ok with it smile
  The sharp Chi is a different story... I tend to leave that as is and work with the new possibilities it offers...

Last edited by jdanza (2014-01-03 03:52:06)

Offline

 

#4 2014-01-03 04:53:53

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

I guess the main issue is if you know what you're doing and if the repairman knows what he's doing. Any doubts about either, leave it alone. But I definitely think if the flute is good you should leave it alone. Only if the flute is relatively useless and a minor tweak will bring it alive is it justified.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#5 2014-01-03 11:40:19

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 885
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

I would like to encourage a lively, and constructive exchange of ideas about raising the pitch of the Ro on a vintage 1.8 shakuhachi jiari or jinashi.

I have definite opinions about it, but rather than dirging on about how much I like or dislike the practice, I'd like to hear from players and makers.

There are some vintage shakuhachi which clearly could benefit from some adjustment. But of course there are others which adhere nicely to the function of their time - and perhaps not as well to the present. That's a finer line and a tougher call.

I think a patient thing to do in these situations is to contact makers and players to get a consensus of what to do or not to do.

And if you really, really, really need that ro raised there is a non-invasive way that can work. Stack up 1cm squares of electrical tape and stick them to the half-way point in the bore. On a jiari that is the area at the very end of the male joint.

Patience.

Offline

 

#6 2014-01-03 12:42:03

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Having had a few older flutes, with the Ro altered (the bore widened at the root) I've found that it often limits the tonal variations of the note, particularly in otsu i.e. either a very dry and uninteresting sound, although a perfect A440 pitch or just limited, one dimensional tonal range: an otsu Ro that will play hard and honking but one that doesn't allow much variation beyond that. The latter I've experience on modern made flutes where the flute was already made with a Ro wide bell opening. They offer a good hard Ro but the note is pretty much limited to that single tone color despite volume variation. Almost like a push-button hard Ro.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#7 2014-01-03 13:13:44

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Then, there is the most important aspect of this practice which is that the old towari method of creating a flute (or minor variations thereof) were consciously created to allow the player more choice of how to play notes like Chi, Tsu and Ro.

If the Ro in a flute is "flat" that can be quickly changed by the player changing to a more karu position to play on pitch. The advantage there is that when playing Ro-meri or Ro dai-meri the player has a much wider and lower pitch range from which to choose.

If a flute appears to have a "flatter" Tsu, playing the note karu will adjust for pitch and give you the added advantage of giving you more room to adjust the flute for deeper meri and dai-meri Tsu notes.

On a flute with a "sharp" Chi, older fingering methods prescribe lightly shading the Chi whole for proper pitch. The advantage to the wider Chi hole becomes apparent when playing the Ou note. The Ou is then able to be played karu, on pitch, and meru with a variety of tone color variations. Also, older Myoan music calls for an Ou-kan instead of a Chi-meri. Getting an accessible and fluid transition to an Ou played in kan and an OU-meri in kan is much easier with a "sharper" Chi.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#8 2014-01-03 20:36:55

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Well, that's a different question. Altering a Myoan flute so you can play Tozan or Kinko on it is bogus. Just buy the flute that's right for the music you play in the first place.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#9 2014-01-03 21:11:33

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Well, that's a different question. Altering a Myoan flute so you can play Tozan or Kinko on it is bogus. Just buy the flute that's right for the music you play in the first place.

Yeah, you would think that it would be that easy. But you have to remember the Dokyoku mystique. Plenty of KSK (Dokyoku, etc) people have a fetish for old jinashi and Myoan flutes (if you can actually identify them as such) - or rather they think they do. They'd be better off with modern jinashi makers like Shugetsu Yamaguchi or Kokoryu if they want to get modern pitch Yokoyama-style jinashi. (Better yet, blaze a new trail with Taimu.)

As far as taking classic Kinko jiari flutes and "upgrading" them to fit modern assumptions about what shakuhachi should be, I have to ask: did the titanic makers like Shiro, Kindo, Ranpo and Shigemi [et al.] get it wrong?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#10 2014-01-07 15:45:19

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

.
... As far as taking classic Kinko jiari flutes and "upgrading" them to fit modern assumptions about what shakuhachi should be, I have to ask: did the titanic makers like Shiro, Kindo, Ranpo and Shigemi [et al.] get it wrong?

I just had a lesson with Masayuki Koga last week. There was a moment when he was discussing tone color and pitch and how to negotiate between the two. Then he said, "We don't need to be slaves to Western Music."

jdanza wrote:

...I have a couple of very old instruments that were lovingly and respectfully restored and retuned by Perry Yung and I play them daily... I'm sure the ancestral spirits are ok with it:)

I'm so happy that you are playing them often Pepe! I agree though. My philosophy is like Chinese medicine, look at the whole patient, not just treat the symptoms. If all the holes are dynamic but Ro is stuffy and flat, that's not right.

Party like it 2014!
- Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

Offline

 

#11 2014-01-08 02:07:25

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

This was a spontaneous group project inspired by my forlorn tirade that overtakes me every time I see antique and vintage shakuhachi that have been mutilated and then sold on eBay sometimes at high prices for the famous maker shakuhachi, sometimes at low starting prices but hefty shipping fees all. All these guys selling these shakuhachi seem to be Yokoyama-Dokyoku players.

This picture project was passed around by a couple of fellow ne'er-do-wells and then sent on to me with a dare to post it, which is a silly thing to do because I always take a good dare. The only thing I added was the "shakuhachi" sign.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2886/11832282474_e985ecfeab_o.jpg
ROCKYSHAKY by aaponivi, on Flickr

I think Frank here needs to be holding a shakuhachi. Any takers?

Last edited by Moran from Planet X (2014-01-08 03:42:24)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#12 2014-01-08 13:40:28

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

fouw wrote:

Blow your face out (as Peter Wolf in the J.Geils Band said to Magic Dick).

I always like that name, Magic Dick. Magic Johnson too. Edgy.

Quite a word there, Kees: conization.

I had to look it up on the Inter-Webs and the only definition I could find referred to a rather delicate and private surgical procedure that only 51% of the world's population might ever have to suffer.

You're right though that I'm probably being too harsh when it comes to a great player deciding to alter his great flute made by his great father using a minor conization as you refer to it. He also didn't try to dump it on eBay. (I wish he had.)

Great modern masters like Kakizaki Kaoru alters his very rare Yokoyama Katsuya-made 1.8 almost as an ongoing process filing away, then sometimes refilling, and I sure wish that he'd dump that beauty on to eBay.

I still don't think these great makers did not make a mistake in making a flatter Ro or sharper Chi. I love Koga-san's statement, Perry: "We don't need to be slaves to Western Music." And we dont have to be slaves to preserve quaint antiquities as Pepe said.

With all that being said and done, what makes the hair stand up on the back of my excessively big head is seeing radical reaming of the bell done on old Meiji or Edo flutes and then dumped on eBay without so much as a mention of the flute being altered. And this has been done regularly by some very experienced players, perhaps even shihan.

(The couch Dr. FrankenKomuso is reclining on in that scandalous graphic that I posted is taken via photoshop from the an eBay offering with radical "conization" of a flute listed as being from the Edo period. It is also quite expensive. No mention of the alteration.)

I certainly have no problem (and my opinion is worth squat anyway) with master American makers like Perry or Ken making their thoughtful and skilled adjustments for the shakuhachi owner for whatever reasons. But I'd hope that if that flute ever had to find its way to sale that the repair or tuning would be detailed in its description.

... Oh, and Kees, if I were in the market, and sadly I am not, I'd love to take that 1.8 by Shibata Ikkan off of you, "flat" Ro and all.

Last edited by Moran from Planet X (2014-01-08 13:45:58)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

#13 2014-01-09 12:01:58

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Why alter the RO of a vintage shakuhachi?

Recapitulation in the strict dictionary sense, yes. But no retreat implied.

Who was the famous maker wanting an attractive node/hole spacing? Shiro*? An equidistant node/hole spacing is part of the old towari measurement scheme, but the bamboo culm itself had to be found in order to provide a rare, perfect hole to node scheme. I wouldn't imagine that going over too well with the Kinko crowd.

The elongated Tsu, sometimes just a Tsu with an added notch carved into the bottom is something I've seen promoted by some KSK (Yokoyama-style Dokyoku) teachers. I can't speak from experience with more than a few KSK teachers, but a couple of them espouse that ALL meri notes should be louder rather than softer than the straight notes. Hence the elongated Tsu hole in order to faciliitate and easier and louder Tsu-dai-meri. A few makers like Yamaguchi Shugetsu offer this feature. I haven't seen a Miura Ryuho flute close up, but I don't think his Tsu shows an elongation however his entire flute design is meant to favor the Yokoyama style, and his flutes have a price tag to prove it. Then the iconoclastic and individualistic player/maker John Neptune plays and makes flutes with very large and elongated holes to fit his particular needs.

Traditional Kinko, Tozan and Myoan teachers accept the dynamic variations in shakuhachi made without those special considerations. A Tsu-dai-meri is played softer and gloomier, affording a different kind of dynamic tension than trying to play it louder and more dramatically than a straight Tsu or Tsu-meri note.

And so, to each his own. Whichever tribe you want to belong to is great and wonderful. But lay out the details when you go to sell the flute, particularly expensive flutes sold internationally which cost a small fortune in shipping insurance to return.

* see http://www.shakuhachiforum.com/viewtopi … 177#p37177 for a II shakuhachi (played by a left-handed player) that has equidistant/equal (or nearly equal) sized holes. This flute was the brother of a flute which had been attributed to Shiro's workshop.

Last edited by Moran from Planet X (2014-01-09 20:40:28)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson

Google