woensdag 29 april 2009

Naru Ro or 'Honking' ~ overtones

Recently I have been investigating the meaning of a Honking Ro or honkin in general. A shakuhachi is not a car so I am not fond of the term honk and doesn't do it enough justice. The honking or Naru (see below) is more than that I believe. It is about changing the tonal characteristics of the note, it is about enhancing certain frequencies or natural overtones and speed op power of blowing is also relevant. Tone of this flute is characteristic and also one of its main features. There are little other instruments on which you can alter so much in the tone, the voice perhaps is most similar.
From the world discussion forum this soundclip comes which demonstrates the Honking very neatly:

This clip or soundbite was posted by Edosan and is by Aoki Reibo playing Sarashi.

I would also cite parts of Chikuzens comment on this matter:

Honking" in Japanese is called "naru" or, it's a verb, "to naru". There are varying degrees of this. Some types of names have been offered here, "honking" and "growling", etc. It would be useful to have a common vocabulary but it has to built out of shared experiences. It's a bit subjective too without the audio references. Big fat jinashi flutes don't usually "naru" according to jiari players but they glow, growl and snarl. However, jinashi people (people who play mostly jinashi) use the word "naru" also but it points to a different sound...

... There are always flutes out there that seem to "cross the lines" but in general, the jinashi flutes that "naru" usually have a narrow bore and jiari flutes that don't "naru" usually have a big fat bore.

Another viewpoint would be that "honking" is like revving up an engine to hear it run and see what it can take. It takes technique in the embouchure and breathing which means......it takes technique. Some flutes do it more, some less and some not well at all.

The reason to practice this is that it's smart to practice something you can't do since you'll have to change how you play. If you are willing to do this (change) you'll learn something from it and maybe even develop technique if you do it long enough. You can always back off this "honk" when playing according to the energy that's appropriate to the song you're playing.

So ultimately flexibility is key.

maandag 27 april 2009

Up and Down: Japanese patterns

Also a subject Kurahashi brought up in his workshop was this pattern used often in Japanese song: A different pattern of going up in pitch and then down. It can be played like in the picture (with my own caligraphy)

Like the first line: Ro - Tsu - Re | Re - Tsu meri - Ro. Play it and you'll get the picture. It explains why sometimes other notations for the same pitch are used. The up movement used kari notes and are notated as such; they sound strong. In line 3, I wrote it wrongly: It should be noted as the note between the (chi kari). When the movement goes down, like in line 3, the 5th note has the pitch of Tsu but needs to be played soft and be a meri note: so Re dai meri is written (wich has the same pitch as Tsu in this case). So in the downward movement the second note is always played meri and soft. Now you know!
This way of notating can be found in his version of Kumoijishi.

vrijdag 24 april 2009

Yung flutes site is back

The hijacked site of Perry Yung is back online and looking neat! Check it out. It holds nice information on the flute, especially for beginning flutists.

donderdag 23 april 2009

Workshop part II

Here you'll find some pictures of the workshop given by mr. Kurahashi
If you are on it and don't want to be publically exposed, let me know!

woensdag 22 april 2009

Kurahashi Workshop

Begin April I attended a group workshop given by the most friendly and polite person mr. Kurahahsi. For me its quite rare to meet and play with a Japanese master of the Shakuhachi. He visited the Netherlands for a week and hopefully returns for the European Summer school, wich I will attend in July in Leiden. See the post below this one for details. More details can be found at the ESS-site, link to the right -> or at the Kaito site (also link to the right->). During the workshop we were taught or trained in the details of the song Kumoijishi. The same copy of that song made by Kurahashi can be found here: Kumoijishi PDF More honkyoku are on his site: visit the site of Kurahashi a good recource. We played version 1, on page 1. The second version is to be played on a 2.0 C and can be played together with version 1 on a 1.8 D. The picture above depicts a version coming from jinashi.com site.

info from the ISS about this song:
This is an Edo Period (1603-1867) piece that originated at Itchoken, a famous temple in Hakata City on the southern island of Kyushu. The song has another name, Neagari Jishi, and was popular in Kyushu because of it's beautiful melody.

The meaning of this piece comes from the fact that songs with "shishi "("lion") in the title are generally played quickly and "kumo" of "kumoi" is the character for "cloud(s)". This honkyoku is, hence, played almost completely in the upper (kan) register and with a fast tempo. Kumoijishi is often it is used as an omedetai kyoku or a song played at joyous celebrations. It is more upbeat and auspicious than many of the sadder sounding honkyoku.
The difference is that in the workshop we played the song quite slowly, not as fast as by the example below wich is from Tai Hei Shakuhachi:

I'll post pictures of the workshop later and maybe try to record a version of this song as well to track progress.

zondag 12 april 2009

Playing in Holland

Here in the Netherlands we have a small, but nice and well organised bunch of shaku-players -if I may say so-. I have joined Kaito the Dutch shakuhachi organisation.I recently joined a master workshop of the very friendly Kurahashi. Perhaps I'll post about that workshop later. Later in summer Holland will be organising the European Shakuhachi Summer school. The following text is from the European site :

2009 - JULY 23-26 Shakuhachi Summer School in Leiden, Nederland

  • Teachers:
    • Yoshio Kurahshi
    • Vlastislav Matousek
    • Steve Cohn
    • Tilo Burdach
    • Kees Kort

    To register: send an email to
    kees@shakuhachi.nl or kaito@shakuhachi.nl

    Price: not fixed yet, but probably around:
    • Non-members: € 250
    • Members: € 200

    Accommodation: help is available in finding a hotel. There are also possibilities to stay with a guest family for low prices.

Kees Kort -one of the teachers- organisers of the school and chairman of Kaito played yesterday in a small village during an opening of a very nice museum of various arts. See the picture below of his playing in the sunny garden.

vrijdag 10 april 2009

SOLD: 2.4 A Chikusing 2 hanko Jinashi

SOLD I have this very nice jinashi Chikusing 2 hanko shak made by Perry Yung. It is of 2.4 length and tuned to A. It is his range of flutes between earth-models and his professional Yung-flutes. It has a windy, mellow and rich sound. It has a very thin layer of darkred urushi in the bore and has spot tuning added by Perry, which is particular of the chikusing models. The flute is in very good condition. For pics and an improv on the flute (mind I play for half a year).