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Ryumon
02-18-2021, 11:23 PM
There has been some discussion of the shakuhachi in various threads, but perhaps it would be good to have a thread just discussing that instrument. I have been playing for about three years; Iím still a beginner. I know Kotei also plays, and I believe there are others interested in playing or in shakuhachi instrument.

So for those who want to learn a bit more about how this instrument is made, my teacher just posted this video on YouTube of a wonderful player and maker, Kodama Hiroyuki, showing how he makes jinashi shakuhachi. (Jinashi is one of the two types of shakuhachi, where the bore is left rough; the other type, jiari, has a paste in the bore to make the sound purer.)

I have a shakuhachi made by Kodama, and it is the instrument I play most.


https://youtu.be/2GazWBe0oRQ


Gassho,

Ryumon

Sat

Ryumon
02-18-2021, 11:23 PM
And here is a video of Kodama playing a long shakuhachi, under the performing name of Chiku Za.


https://youtu.be/fF_S-7k8hFA

Gassho,

Ryumon

Sat

Seikan
02-19-2021, 01:23 AM
I've long been a fan of the Shakuhachi. There's simply nothing else like it that can create such a hauntingly beautiful tone.

I used to try to play back in the day. I still have a simple, jinashi-style (non-root end) shakuhachi that was made by Ken Lacosse around 20+ years ago. For the life of me, I struggled for a long time to get a decent tone out of it. I've never studied with a proper teacher, so I have no idea if the problem was me, the shakuhachi, or a combination of both. It's probably just me and my inability to form a proper embouchure.

I keep telling myself that I'd like to pick it back up someday, but as I'm currently studying piano (with a teacher), I should probably not spread myself too thin.

Looking forward to learning more from folks here and hearing some of your playing. Perhaps you'll inspire me to pick it up again. ;)

Gassho,
Seikan

-stlah-

Ryumon
02-19-2021, 10:59 AM
I've heard it said that the shakuhachi is one of the most difficult instruments to play. In my experience playing music, having played (not at any great skill level) several instruments, this certainly seems to be the case. As such, I don't think it's an instrument one can learn alone; I really think you need a teacher. In part this is because getting a sound is extremely difficult. But also because scores don't tell everything about how a piece is played; a lot of the music is transmitted orally.

If you still have a flute by Ken Lacosse, you're lucky. He passed away about a year ago, and I wish I could own one of his instruments. They don't seem to be sold used very often. Is it a taimu, the big, thick, deep flutes he was known for, or a more normal instrument?

Gassho,

Ryūmon

sat

Seikan
02-19-2021, 03:36 PM
Agree with you 100% Ryumon. I was in my early 20s when I tried to pick up the Shakuhachi, and I was naive enough to think I could coax a decent enough tone out of it for solo meditative practice. Studying with a proper teach is a must. Now that the world is a bit closer thanks to online instruction opportunities, perhaps I can finally give it another go in the near future.

Regarding my flute, it is one of the most basic models that Ken offered at the time (late 1990s). His legacy website doesn't even show this option any more. In fact, I ordered it from a printed catalog that I received via mail and called him on a landline phone to place my order! When was the last time we did that?!? ;)

This is a natural bore (no paste), non-root end flute. The only upgrades from the most basic version are the addition of the binding and the Utaguchi inlay (see pics below).

I just tried to give it a blow for the first time in forever and made a lovely breeze, but nothing more. [emoji14]

Gassho,
Seikan

-stlah-
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20210219/96e30677bb0eac249804035ce2e45f82.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20210219/8674d2e9d2f7f5849590e894af7fc928.jpg

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

Ryumon
03-18-2021, 11:40 AM
Someone just posted a link to this paper in a shakuhachi group on Facebook:

The Music of Buddha Nature - Blowing Zen on the Shakuhachi (http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_4_No_8_June_2014/8.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3qWsv4K-PHncMU5NR2rGX5T4H_fCsMUklcqsE4KUROC4ODPCXiN0tWSxU)

Very interesting, though I think some of the historical information is contested.

Gassho,

Ryūmon

sat

Kotei
03-19-2021, 06:53 PM
Thank you Ryumon, interesting read!

Reading about "The Bell which isn't" - "empty bell" made me smile.
After sitting in the morning, I usually practice a bit with the flute in my little Zendo.
The bell in the room sounds in resonance when playing Otsu Re on the 2.06 flute.
Playing Kyorei - the empty bell - with the bell that isn't, actually makes the real bell sound :)

Gassho,
Kotei sattoday.