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Kan Register - end of my rope

 
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iontichy
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 15:59    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

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Hi,

i've picked up Shakuhachi playing December 2009 and have been teaching myself. I had one hour of Skype lessons which helped me a lot, but the teacher has fallen out of Scope at the moment due to travels.

I have no difficulties playing a booming Ro, the lower octave is no problem at all except for the Tsu Meri and perhaps the I Meri (which seems hard to nail on pitch), but I'm working on that. What I can not wrap my head around is this:

How do I play controlled, consistent and mellow high notes? Everything in the Kan Register above Re is a massive pain. I've been working on this for 6 months or so now without any noticeable improvement, indeed I got the feeling it's getting worse even. This problem is beginning to break my will to continue with this instrument. I've been practicing at least 60 minutes every day (and I mean EVERY day except when I had the flu) for 17 months now and this is really starting to get to me. I need help!

ANY pointers or exercises are most welcome. So are offers of lessons via Skype, I'm fully equipped for this.

Thanks!

J.
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david
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 16:30    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

I remember having a very hard and frustrating time with kan, until I read the following posts on the old forum;
http://www.shakuhachiforum.com/viewtopic.php?id=3110
For me it was the 7th post from Kiku Day and the 29th post that really cleared things up. I was instantly playing kan lik a pro(okay semi-pro)!
Just in case its not quite clear, I will try and explain to the best of my ability. Play a note like tsu in the normal position and while you are doing that, act like you are singing 'ah' as well. Some people say to actually sing it, but I don't remember actually singing it...that may confuse things. Maybe just whisper it. Next play the note again and sing along with it, but sing 'ah' as if you are singing it higher..in the next octave. I was immediately able to get a perfect, smooth and quiet kan. Doing that puts everything (tongue, throat muscles, cheeks, etc) where they are supposed to be for kan.

I hope this works.
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iontichy
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 17:00    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

wow ... it's working! I'm in your debt! Of course I'll need to fine tune it (couple of hundred hours *g*) but the principle immediately was clear to me from my time singing in rock bands.

Cheers!!
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 20:55    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

It is a nice feeling that we are using the old forum achieve!
Good luck with the kan practice!  Okay
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GalinaSG
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 21:24    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Oh my God! It works!! The same difficulties with kan. Thanks thanks thanks people!! Exclamation
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-16, 01:37    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Here's what Kiku said:


"Erin, I wish I could show you.
Well, of course even though I show you it still takes time building the muscles for the embouchure + to get in control.

But I can try to explain a little.

You have a hole between your lips where the airstream comes out at a certain speed and width. And with this airstream you are able to create the notes in otsu.

Now, in order to play in kan you need a faster and narrower airstream. It is so that by narrowing the opening your airstream will both get narrower (logical) and faster because you are blowing the same amount of air through a smaller hole. This is a good basic point to think about when trying to learn to play kan notes.
The theory may not hold water 100%, but one main problem when learning to play in kan is not to blow like a crazy and just get into kan by force. Playing kan by just blowing harder would not make your notes sound nice at all and you will not be really in control either.

If you look at yourself in the mirror, you can actually see the lips moving a little forward when going up in kan register. This is partly because of the narrowing of the hole, but also because the sweet spot where you should aim to hit with your breath is a little different than when playing in the otsu register. In general it is a little higher up on the back side of the utaguchi.
Now... that said when you become an experienced player, you can change consciously where to hit with your breath in order to change timbre or even to change the pitch.

So, things to remember when practicing kan register:
1. A narrower and more focused airstream
2. A faster airstream, but that does not mean you use more air than in otsu (it probably does in the beginning but good to have in mind)
3. A slight different sweet spot for the creation of sound

Good luck! "
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-16, 15:07    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Its so nice to bring forward the notes from the old forum, I have tried all the things from the thread in the old forum.
One thing not mentioned is the gradual increase in pitch, up and down and up and down, various scales and excercies.

I bought this book, and following the excercises there improved my kan.
http://www.shakuhachi.com/PG-Schlefer-WB.html

I have also been blowing hard, soft, narrow, upwards, towards lower lips etc.

But mostly, my kan improved quickly when I had a few days with very intense practice, more than three hours daily.....

LOVE!
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-17, 03:49    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Yes the Schlefer book is a great resource to help experienced players or beginners. If you play along with the CD it will at least let you know if you're hitting the pitches.

James is/was my teacher and he always said, "There's no problem that can't be solved by practicing more."
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iontichy
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PostPosted: 2011-05-25, 23:14    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Hi again,

I got some more issues to figure out, which belong in this thread. When I first started playing some 17 months ago, I got to Kan by sheer force of will, it was shrill and loud. This is getting better now, thanks to the excellent advice I got here. But there's another problem connected with playing Kan, that still bugs me: control.

I noticed, that especially above the Re I got difficulties maintaining a steady tone. Often, my throat seems to do something funny and my vocal chords seem to get involved. When that happens, I often notice things seem to be really tense in the neck and the face. I'm trying to work against that by attempting to relax the throat some more, but I fear I might have developed some bad posture or technique. Raising the chin up more also seems to help a little with getting the note, but control is poorer.

Oddly enough, when I turn on a metronome and just noodle the scales up and down, after a few minutes it seems to work. For a while. When I attempt high notes while playing a piece, things lock up again and the sound is back to tortured squealing.

Perhaps there's another simple thing I'm not getting?
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Birne
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PostPosted: 2011-07-04, 16:44    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Hello there ^^

I started playing the shakuhachi a while ago and try now to play the kan register. I train it now for a week and make no real progress. I not even get a tone ^^ ... I also read the thread in the old forum and tried the tip from "Bruce Hunter" with the different lip positions. he wrote ...

Quote:
Ah yes, faster airstream. How do we get that without blowing harder? In addition to altering the direction of the airstream, one approach is to alter the shape of the inside of one's mouth. Otsu is probably played with the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and maybe back a little, being careful to not strangle the sound. By moving the tongue progressively forward and up, Bernoulli's principal comes into play, and kan and even dai-kan should be more accessible. May not be your cup of tea, so to speak, but it works work me.


I instandly got some kan-notes and was surprised ^^ ... but now I ask if it is good to start lerning the kan-register with this other "tongue-position" or is it not a good idea, cuz I may learn "bad playing habits" because of it? ...

Sorry for my bad english ^^
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CharlesKoeppen
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PostPosted: 2011-07-05, 14:09    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Attempting to play a note in kan and producing it is a better habit to get into than attempting to play the note and not getting any sound. Using the tongue to help shape notes is OK to do and unless you're making very exaggerated and unusual movements it probably won't develop into a bad habit.
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Birne
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PostPosted: 2011-07-05, 19:18    Post subject: Kan Register - end of my rope Reply with quote

Thanks a lot ... then my training will go on with this (for me) new technik ^^
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