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Blowing angle meri/kari
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Peter Schreiber
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PostPosted: 2015-02-08, 12:48    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

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Dear friends,

I've read recently in the newsletter from the European Shakuhachi Society the article "Memories of Yokoyama Katsuya" (Newsletter No 3/2014; http://files.shakuhachisociety.eu/publications/newsletters/ESS NEWSLETTER 2… ) by Furuya Teruo.
He pointed out that "(...)the the pitch of meri and kari is unrelated to the blowing angle.".
That makes me wonder, if a special head position is necesary for playing mery/kari notes?
If the angle has no effect on the pitch - does one need to change the head position?

The full text ist "About 20 years ago, I published a series of articles in the Hogaku Journal entitled, ‘A
rational method of playing shakuhachi’. In the part dealing with meri and kari, I wrote that
“the pitch of meri and kari is unrelated to the blowing angle’, which made Yokoyama-sensei
very angry. When I asked him why he was so angry, he demanded, “Is this true? Have you
confirmed this through your own experiments?” When I answered that I had, he complained
saying, ”Then, why haven’t you told me about this before? You know I have been teaching
students at workshops that ‘meri is related to the blowing angle!’ Why didn’t you tell me that
that wasn’t the case. What’s the point of communication if you don’t talk to me about these
important things!” "

It leaves me with no clue - as a beginner I would surely love to play my meri notes without changing anything ( I never hit the note good when changing the head position). But - is that true?
What do you say?
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2015-02-08, 13:29    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Hi Peter,

I cannot answer you exactly on this point, I have not enough experience.

What I noticed, by watching playing good players on videos, it is that for Meri and Kari, some move the head vertically, with the amplitude, with other one with a very light movement,
some do not move the head but make an almost imperceptible movement by moving forward or by moving back the chin on the utaguschi.

Some blow in front of the utagushi, others blow on the side to execute Meri and Kari.
I believe that it is necessary to try everything, until find what is effective for you.
According to your anatomy, and to Shakuhachi with which you play. From an instrument to the other one, you should not take itself there necessarily in the same way.

That adorned me difficult to change the pitch only by closing more or less holes, without moving the head. It is maybe possible, but it seems to me that the sound is not the same.
The note is maybe good, but its color is not beautiful. In any case according to my small experience of the thing !
Smile
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Christophe Gaston
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PostPosted: 2015-02-09, 00:26    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Hello
I guess what he means is that driving the pitch down is done by closing holes.
On a classical shakuhachi there are 7 holes: 5 for the fingers 1 at the utaguchi level and 1 at the bottom
of the flute. if you play ro and if you partially close the bottom hole (approaching it very near from your
leg for example when playing while sitting) the pitch will go down.
When you go in meri position with your head or your chin or both,
You close the upper hole: that is the physical reason of the pitch going down
my two cents...;-)
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Peter Schreiber
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PostPosted: 2015-02-09, 21:14    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Thanks you both! Smile

Plume I think you're right, it has something do to with the tone color. I would be happy to find here a reasosn to avoid playing meri tones with changing my posture but of course I know it is somethign that belongs to the shakuhachi. I was just suprised to read that it could be a profound question to play those tones without changing anything.
And so I think that it really could be just a small change, as you mentionet.

Christophe I'm not really sure if I understand what you said. Sad Sorry! Of course closing the holes will lower the pitch, but also playing it in a different angle, or am I wrong?
I totally have no experience witth 7 - hole - shakuhachis so I'm not sure about this.
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Christophe Gaston
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 01:38    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Well I am not an acoustic expert but I think Teruo Furuya is right:
You don t lower the pitch by changing the blowing angle even though
it is counter-intuitive.

But first let me clarify my previous post: your flute
has seven holes (yes believe me! :-)) :

You have five holes that you close with your fingers,
one hole were you blow (this hole is the embouchure) and
the hole at the root end.

My point is that the hole where you blow as well as the hole at the bottom are not different from other holes: if you partially close them the pitch goes down.

When you switch from a normal position to a meri position you close a bit more the hole in which you blow and the pitch goes down. If you go too much in meri position you completely close the hole and you cannot produce a sound anymore of course...

Maybe it is easier to be convinced of that by experimenting with the bottom hole: blow ro and slowly approach the bottom hole from an obstacle (a wall... Your leg if you play sitted... Or ask a fellow to approach his hand close to the bottom hole). You will notice that the pitch goes down.

With the hole where you blow it is the same thing. The more you close it (by going in meri position) the more the pitch goes down.
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Christophe Gaston
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 01:59    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

I just forgot one point: the bad news is that you still have
to learn to play meri to lower the pitch... there is no trick
unfortunately. But when you play meri the reason why the pitch
goes down is not the one you thought
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 13:25    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Peter, try to make a little both: you recover partially a hole with the finger and you a little lower the head.

When you recover partially the hole, the pitch is goes down. Then you a little lower the head and it goes down more.

The more you lower the head and the more it goes down. The more the hole is closed and the more it goes down also.

Later it is necessary to find the balance so that the note is good !

Knowing that more you close a hole with the finger more the sound volume decreases.
It is simpler, and less getting tired at the level of the breath not to close too much a hole and to lower the head a little, than of many to close it or to lower the head a lot.

It is necessary that make tries. For fingers it is easy but for the head that is it less.

It is necessary to look in which precise place you have to blow to obtain the note which you want.

For the register Otsu, I lower the head simply a little, by blowing in front of the utagushi. On the other hand for the register Kan, I have more evil to find a position which walks every time.

Sometimes I blow straight, others little on the right side of the utagushi, others by not holding anymore the shakuhachi right but a little tilted to the right or to the left.

It is not easy, it is necessary to recognize it. But do not loose courage, you will arrive there.

It is normal that this learning is long, it is there that is situated the specificity and the difficulty of Shakuhachi I think.. If it was easy to make Meri and Kari in both octaves, so much to play the piper.

It is necessary to go to the discovery of the instrument and yourself. It is necessary to search to find.

and then especially play a lot to make progress. By playing regularly, and by making exercises, as a pianist makes his ranges, your body will learn and will memorize what to do.

More that seems to you difficult, bigger will be your enjoyment when you will arrive there ! Okay
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kongwee
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 14:15    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

For me I try to follow closely from videos that I bought.
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 17:09    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

I have just understood a thing which is maybe going to help you also.

Watch that your thumb closes completely the hole when you do Meri.

Without being conscious of it mine moved, and that is why I looked for a solution by blowing to the right or to the left of the utagushi to compensate.

That countered elementary, but you see I have just understood it, after several months to play in Kan.

Which just goes to show that each the rhythm ! Mr. Green
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 17:19    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Hi Kongwee,

Videos to learn to play Shakuhachi ?

I think that it is a good help.

But they are probably in English. Neutral
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Lorka
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 17:32    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Interesting post. Inspired by watching videos of Goro playing. I noticed that he did not move around like a wild monkey, with big dramatic flourishes, but rather sat in a very still, calm posture, and made no unnecessary movement. I think you can get meri notes without moving in bobble-head mode. You simply loosen and tighten embouchure, and perhaps "aim" the airstream at different parts of the utaguchi. For the ultra deep meri, yes, I think you need to move your head, but regular meri can be done in relative stillness. Not sure if that contributes anything, but it is a fun experiment. It is fun to play with a mindfulness of eliminating absolutely all movement that does not directly contribute toward the piece you are attempting to play.
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 18:12    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

Very interesting video of Yamaguchi Goro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXfel_lxiic

Thank you Lorka. I realize the economy and the efficiency of its extraordinary playing. Okay
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2015-02-10, 21:21    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

My two penneth would be that I don't have the technique yet to play meri without some angle adjustment. Like most things about the shakuhachi only time will allow you to perfect your technique. If Goro Yamaguchi can do it, well that's no surprise, but I think I am happy to perfect my walk before I can run, and perhaps one day I will run!!
My experience was that I found it difficult to hit the right meri note at first because there is a lot going on, embouchure, posture, fingering and these all have to come together. The big, top secret explanation for any progress in playing is hours, days , years of practice.
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Eugene
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PostPosted: 2015-02-11, 07:41    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

felix martens wrote:
My two penneth would be that I don't have the technique yet to play meri without some angle adjustment. Like most things about the shakuhachi only time will allow you to perfect your technique. If Goro Yamaguchi can do it, well that's no surprise, but I think I am happy to perfect my walk before I can run, and perhaps one day I will run!!

While it certainly is a matter of technique, I think that it is also a matter of style, i.e., there is nothing technically wrong with using angle adjustment to shade the top opening, partial covering or shading of finger holes, or a combination of both, to obtain the desired result with the economy of movement that one needs or intends. Trying to shade the bottom opening would probably be awkward for those situations where one is standing without any convenient way of doing that shading Smile
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Jam
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PostPosted: 2015-02-11, 14:10    Post subject: Blowing angle meri/kari Reply with quote

As a Kinko player (and magodeshi of Goro sensei) I've always been amazed at Goro Sensei's lack of movement, but you have to remember that he was an absolute master after many years of playing.

I would wholeheartedly suggest practing meri and kari with head movement, and particularly with a tuner if you're not getting the notes right!
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