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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-14, 18:43    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

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At the moment, I am confronted with my own limitations. Until now I made progress, but for some time I stagnate.

I realize that if I improvise I always play the same thing, and as I go round in circles with what I know how to make but I do not move forward in what I do not know how to make.

Of course I am confronted with the fact that I have no professor to improve myself. I decided to take back at the beginning, with the videos of learning which John Singer put on YouTube.

Of course I wanted to jump some lessons by believing naively that the first ones would be useless for me. Mort de Rire

I fast understood that I had to leave the beginning! Because if I manage to play some sounds which I find beautiful, it does not necessarily mean that they are all beautiful, far from there.

I play the very first lesson, and that takes place rather not bad (Wow, youplala! Wink ). I am going to try to follow methodically his lessons, before going as far as to me playing anything the feeling, as I am used to making it, in another musical genre.

I like at the same time Yonkyoku, the Blues and the Jazz. I realize that I make nothing of well with three.
Then so much learn to know enough my instrument by beginning with the small traditional basic pieces.

In fact I had a question. I put you the link towards John Singer's lesson so that you listened to the sound which it makes. I chose a video which represents best my question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEZma-2gdsk

How does he make, and how do you make, to obtain this sound color so particular ?

If I hold my straight Shakuhachi, it is not that, if I tilt it a little on the side as he, it is a little better, but only just a little.

Is it only in time and practise, either something that I should know about the way of blowing, who would allow me to get closer to this sound?

Thank you to have taken time to read to me (and the translator), and of your answers. Very Happy
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kongwee
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PostPosted: 2014-02-15, 14:37    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

I don't know whether I am correct. You could try pulling your lips a bit. For me is pulling my lower lip. I feel my lip muscles movement from left and right to make a flatter embouchure. Next my upper lips mostly react to otsu and kan register. A relax upper lips will make otsu and a tenser lip will make kan register. Of course lips will be closer when doing kan register. The lips muscles movement should not be a lot. Should not feel your lips are pressing against the teeth. Lastly, it is to move the shakuhachi a bit of left or right. Or maybe not at all.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2014-02-15, 23:13    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

I axed Herr Meister Singer how he got that sound. He said: Miura Kindo 1.8. Razz
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-16, 13:09    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies, Kongwee and Brian. Very Happy

I tried yesterday, and the sound is a little better. I'll repeat the first lesson until I am satisfied with the result.

It is true that working alone, we repeat the same mistakes, and there is a tendency to avoid spending time on what we get less well to do.

Trying to play (just about!) like John, confronts me with everything I did not know to do.
As pieces are simple (at least in the beginning), I have time to enjoy my incompetence on the sounds more sharp and the passages of notes which are not enough fluid.

The time has come for me to work, and not only to make me happy. Wink
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-16, 15:29    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

What do you think of my playing on this first exercise of John Singer? Is it correct ?

https://soundcloud.com/plume-blanche/exercise-1-2-3

Thanks Wink
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Christophe Gaston
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PostPosted: 2014-02-16, 18:52    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Hello plume blanche

First I am not a pro. I have just been playing for about six years so consider this answer as an experiment sharing between students ;-) The “pro” will correct me if I say things that are not exact.

I could not listen to your link for technical reasons so I don’t know how far you are and therefore I will maybe say things that you already know well: sorry for that.

To end the preamble: what I write here is my way to work (it comes both from what my teachers told me and my personal adaptation/feeling about it at this moment of my learning). To some extent you have to search by yourselves what could be the good exercises that fit the best to you.

First of all to work on sound I would not play pieces, but rather long tones. The goal being to produce the “richest” sound I can (with lots of harmonics which as far as I understand is what you are questioning about). I would not care about the volume at the beginning to focus only on the tone color and on keeping the same pitch all along the note production. For me it is a good exercise to make the note “fade out” until it completely disappears while caring about keeping the pitch consistent (the pitch might tend to go down when you decrease the volume).

To work in this direction lots of “mysterious” things happen inside the body and I will try to tell you what I believe I understood about that (I have the feeling that even the pro continue to learn and discover new things all their life about that ;-) it is awfully complex…).

I imagine a clear separation between the upper part of my body (from the lower ribs to the head) and a lower part that goes from the lower ribs to the feets.

The upper part is mainly the sound box of the shakuhachi (in a guitar or a violin the sound box is included in the instrument but in a wind instrument the sound box is in the body of the player ;-))
To be a good sound box (and thus to gain some “depth” in the sound) it should be very relaxed; the throat and the trachea should be open; the lips as well as the cheeks should be relax so that the volume of the interior of the mouth is big. Easy to say ;-) in particular the last part about the mouth is tricky because on the other side you have to use the lips to conduct the air in a proper manner on the utaguchi. I would say you mainly have to use some muscles (completely unknown to me before I learned to play the shakuhachi ;-)) that goes all along symetric vertical lines on both sides of the nose to both sides of the chin. To goal of using those muscles is just to hermetically close the corner of the lips which permits both to avoid air leaks and to form the small hole in the mouth through which the air goes.
An important point is that the air getting out of the mouth forms in some way a stream having the shape of a “tube” and this “tube” should be regular. To reach that goal the lips are positioned “as if you were blowing through a straw” (it is a bit exaggerated but at least it is the image I have in mind to form an efficient embouchure) so that the air goes along the “humid and regular” interior part of the lips rather than the exterior part which is less regular (and thus would impact badly the regularity of the air tube).
The price to pay, even though it is a temptation, is that you cannot use your lips to artificially increase the pressure by putting tension in them: this would have harmful consequences on the air tube regularity, on the lower harmonics typically, and also it tends to make you jump in the upper register (even though you don’t want it to) when you blow harder. So if you want more pressure you have to use the lower part of the body.

For that purpose there are two movement to separate: breath in an breathe out.

Breath in: since you want the upper part to remain relax, you have to use the lower part of the body to inhale. It is what you do when you yawn: you pull on the diaphragm to make the air enter deeply in the lungs. Do as when you are yawning but stop the movement before relaxing so that the air remains in the lungs. You can feel a kind of tension in the lower parts of the belly, of the back and on the sides (due to the tension of the diaphragm).

Breath out: keep the tension in the diaphragm (as if you wanted to keep the air inside) but push on the lower abdominal muscles (and the muscles in the back) to blow the air outside. I believe that the two “contradictory” movements (keeping the tension in the diaphragm and pushing with the abdominal “belt”) creates the needed pressure.

These are my two cents ;-)

Another thing is that when you change things in the way you blow you sometime have the feeling to regress (lower volume / windy sound)… it is due to the fact that you do not master the new movements… you try new things so it is normal.

Again what I said just before correspond to the way I understand things now. I would say keep experimenting things and create your own "mental images";-)

Hope it helps
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-16, 20:39    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Bonjour, Christophe.

Je te remercie de t'être donné la peine de faire ce long commentaire.

Tes explications me parlent et je vois très bien ce que tu veux dire.

Ca m'aide vraiment, et je vais essayer de travailler davantage sur l'inspiration et l'expiration en utilisant mon diaphragme, ainsi que sur la position des lèvres.
Je n'avais jamais entendu qu'il fallait fermer les coins de la bouche pour éviter une perte d'air. Intéressant.

J'aime bien aussi l'idée que nous soyons la caisse de résonnance du Shakuhachi ! Razz

Merci beaucoup.

Comme tu peux pas écouter mon fichier sur Soundcloud, je te mets le lien vers un de mes morceaux sur Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBn4omj8B-c
Pour que tu te fasses une idée. C'est un morceau dont je suis contente. Wink

Je pratique le Shakuhachi depuis 2 ans et 8 mois en autodidacte. comme je le disais plus haut, jusqu'à présent j'avais le sentiment de faire des progrès.
Et maintenant je me rends compte que j'ai des lacunes de base, et que cela m'empêche d'avancer.

Aussi je pense qu'il faut que je reprenne les bases pour construire des fondations plus solides.

J'adore le son "windy" du Shakuhachi, c'est ce qui m'a irrésistiblement attiré vers cet instrument. Mais j'aimerais aussi être capable de faire aussi autre chose.
Il y a tellement de choses qui me restent à découvrir, c'est à la fois merveilleux et parfois (souvent) frustrant. Shocked

Où as-tu trouvé un professeur ? Depuis combien de temps joue-tu ? Y a t'il un endroit (Youtube, Facebook...) où je puisse écouter ce que tu fais ?

En tout cas merci beaucoup. Razz

Hello, Christophe.

Thank you for you be bothered to make this long comment.

Your explanation talk to me and I see very well what you mean.

It really helps me, and I will try to work more on inspiration and expiration using my diaphragm, as well as on the position of the lips.
I had never heard the need to close the corners of the mouth to prevent air loss. Interesting.

I also like the idea that we are the soundbox of the Shakuhachi ! : P

Thank you very much.

As you can not listen to my file on Soundcloud, I will put the link to one of my songs on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBn4omj8B-c
So you do have an idea. This is a piece which I am happy. Wink

I practice the Shakuhachi for 2 years and 8 months as an autodidact. as I said above, until now I had the feeling of making progress.
And now I realize that I have basic gaps, and prevent me to move forward.

Also I think I must return to the basics to build stronger foundations.

I love the sound "windy" of the Shakuhachi, this is what attracted me irresistibly to this instrument. But I would also like to be able to do something else.
There are so many things that remains to me to discover, it's both wonderful and sometimes (often) frustrating. : shock:

Where did you find a teacher? Since how long play you? There is a place (Youtube, Facebook...) where I can listen to what you do?

Anyway thanks much. : P
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Christophe Gaston
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PostPosted: 2014-02-19, 01:42    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Hi Plume Blanche,

I leave in Paris so I am lucky because there are several teachers aound me. I am mainly a Tôzan player (I study with Sôzan Kariya) even though I study (less seriously for the moment) other styles.
I've been playing for almost 6 years the shakuhachi. You have no ways to meet teachers around you? Where are you located?

Sorry but no pointer on the web for the moment ;-)
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-21, 19:23    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Hi Christophe,

I live in Lyon, and there is no Professor. I believe they are all in Paris and its region.

I'll continue my path like that, hoping that I will continue to make progress little by little, with videos of John Singer. After, we'll see.

Thanks for your answers. Wink
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2014-02-26, 13:04    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Just very shortly, Plume Blanche,

Sound production takes time. As far as I have heard in the recordings you have uploaded, the sound you get is fine for the place you are in your learning curve.

How to produce a good sound is very individual. I didn't read Gaston's long reply, so I may repeat something.... but as you know we are physically very differently built. The reason for John Singer puts his flute a little to the side is that his body has during the learning process learned that the sound is best when he places it there. Many of us place the flute not exactly straight but there is no recipe on how to place the flute the best way. That is something you have to find out for yourself as no-one can tell you how to place it best for you. We can help you on a general level... but not later on when it really comes to the point where you have to learn how the flute can be an extension of YOUR particular body. So, what you are doing is good. Just go ahead. I would of course like to add that learning from a teacher is great but I know when people prefer to learn by themselves, there is no point in emphasising the importance of a teacher. I hope you come to one of our summer schools one day and I can have a look. Smile
Good luck with it! You are doing great! Don't worry with the stagnation phase. We all have that. A learning curve is not straight. It takes quite some detours. The fact that you hear it and are aware of it shows you will be fine - as long as you continue to play!

Good luck and have fun! Smile
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kongwee
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PostPosted: 2014-02-26, 17:24    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Recently, I just new wind instrument call Xiao. There is a part behind the the embouchure. It is a chinese expression that I can't translate in English. Direct translation will be is grab a breath inside your mouth and pump in to the bore. There is a small air buffer inside your mouth. Just to imagine you could sound out a "woo" at your existing embouchure. Just imagine and form it, don't sound it out. It should not affect your duration of long note. Actually it does affect your embouchure, just naturally adjust it. When I do that, my larynx is actually move down a bit, but it must be at relax position. I work on my shakuhachi. At the moment, I have better control on Ro. I will be slowly adjusting to it as it is possible to reduce hiss noise when you don't want it to be there.
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-28, 13:37    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Hello Kiku.

I understand that it is not possible to explain to somebody how he has to play, especially in writing.
Apparently, with Shakuhachi, there is no " miracle method ", each has to discover by himself how to make a duet with its instrument.
It is what makes the difficulty, and also all the interest. The sound of every Shakuhachi is different, and every player is different.

What is difficult to accept when we begin, it is that it is normal not to arrive there!
I play in my head the pieces as I would want to play them, and in my head, it is great!!! Mr. Green
When I play them, even if I put it all my heart, it is not that of the whole.
Obviously that goes for all the instruments. But as Shakuhachi is an instrument very physical and directly bound with the emotional because it is a wind instrument.

The distance (physical and emotional) between one and the instrument is almost zero. This direct continuation of one makes that we are fast disappointed by oneself.
In any case it is the way I feel. The difficulty is to trust and to take some time.

Thank you for your encouragements, Kiku. Okay
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-02-28, 13:57    Post subject: Step backward Reply with quote

Hello Kongwee,

I tried what you speak, and I also find that the tone of my Ro is more ample and more beautiful. Razz

Thank you.

Is your flute Xiao one Dông Xiao, the one who looks like Shakuhachi? Either the one who is long and fine?

Smile
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