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Playing sharp

 
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muraiki
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PostPosted: 2013-10-06, 01:51    Post subject: Playing sharp Reply with quote

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Hi all, I'm a relative beginner to shakuhachi and I keep having problems with playing sharp. The only way I can figure out to flatten the pitch is to increase the angle of the shakuhachi. I could describe the angle by saying that the cut on the utaguchi is almost horizontal when I play. I guess that I am having problems directing my airstream downwards...

I also find that I when I have the clearest, fullest tone my shakuhachi is held at this angle. I also have a very easy time with meri notes from this angle -- I barely have to move my head downwards.

I looked online at pictures of different shakuhachi players and I see a variety of angles, so I'm not certain if this is even a problem. I'd really appreciate any advice that you could offer me. I have taken some lessons online but haven't had any recently as I've been struggling to recover from an illness. Thanks!

Edit: I'm generally around 20 cents sharp. I'm playing on a shakuhachi yuu.
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muraiki
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PostPosted: 2013-10-06, 01:59    Post subject: Playing sharp Reply with quote

Of course right after posting this and playing around a bit I noticed that I tend to push my lower jaw forwards when playing -- perhaps a habit from saxophone? By pulling the jaw back I can flatten the note and use less of an angle. Although I do have Masayuki Koga's book and he says to align the upper and lower front teeth by moving the lower jaw forwards, in order to create a more round and mellow sound.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2013-10-06, 02:36    Post subject: Playing sharp Reply with quote

For now just concentrate on making the best tone and don't worry about being sharp. Most beginners are flat, sharp is better.
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2013-10-06, 06:26    Post subject: Playing sharp Reply with quote

Being sharp is an easier point of departure when learning.... as Brian mentioned.
The angle really varies from person to person, so that is hard to comment on without hearing you.
However, you may also blow too hard. If you are a sax player and you are used to the pressure you have to create to make the reed vibrate... there is a possibility that you are simply blowing way too hard for the shakuhachi. Try to continue working with your jaw.... but also try to conserve air and blow softer.

I can't say if this is the problem you have a try at experimenting of course. Smile
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Also, the fact that when you blow in an angel that sounds very much as meri position you get the kari notes may be because you blow too hard. That would still raise your pitch. If you look on very good players on youtube - Yamaguchi Goro is an extreme example - you can see they do not move their heads so much. That is because the pitch control can also happen with breath control. AS a beginner it is very important to use your head to produce meri and kari, later on that can change. This is just to say that the breat itself is just as important for pitch as the angle of the flute.

Breath control in shakuhachi playing is very important. IF this is the case and you blow too hard, it will also make it much easier for you if you blow softer to make meri notes. Meri notes require even softer breath than kari notes. So when you play shakuhachi you change your breath all the time.

Good luck with it! Okay
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muraiki
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PostPosted: 2013-10-08, 23:15    Post subject: Playing sharp Reply with quote

Thank you both for your advice! I tried blowing more softly and with the shakuhachi at a normal angle, and I found that I was about 10 cents flat on average. I was also able to play quite a bit longer, haha. So perhaps that's where I should be for now. Smile
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PostPosted: Today at 20:43    Post subject: Playing sharp

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