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Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-20, 13:49    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

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Can this be a thread where we share tips on how to move from to flat to correct pitch?
It seems to be a common issue for beginners...

Apparently I tend to play to flat on most notes, I have played for one year, and in the beginning my teacher asked me to not worry to much about correct pitch, but more on sound production.
But since christmas we have been training correct pitch almost every class. So I always check my pitch a few times everytime I practice now.

I have a few specific excercises to train lifting the pitch, that I will try to describe (I usually do this with Ro, tsu re, and not so much with higher notes..):


- Begin with root end quite high, to get good sound, the slowly lower the rootend, thus lifting the pitch, without loosing sound.
- Play one note, and do something inbetween repeat/trill, as if to press more air into the flute. This will lift the pitch, then keep maintain the pitch but stopp the repeat/trill

-My own experience tells me that warming up, playing the flute 15-20 minutes before checking with the tuner always gives better pitch. (Wht is warming up? Flute, me, or both?)

- Putting scores higher than face level also gives effect...
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ntimperio
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PostPosted: 2011-05-20, 17:43    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Scores high and lowering the bell* helps me. Also, practicing flexibility exercises where you dip your head as deep as possible, then raise your head as high as you can, and kinda bob up past what works and stretch it. After I'm warmed up with flexibility exercises I play along with the CD I got from my teacher trying to match pitch and speed (timing is my biggest headache).

My teacher demonstrated some extreme lowering of the bell in a recent lesson. It was flat against his chest and he was still playing. I've been working on this also, but I have a LONG way to go. A side note, my arms fatigue much less now that I'm lowering the bell.

edit: * bell = root end


Last edited by ntimperio on 2011-05-20, 21:44; edited 1 time in total
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Stefan Emich
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PostPosted: 2011-05-20, 20:55    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

ntimperio wrote:
Scores high and lowering the bell helps me. Also, practicing flexibility exercises where you dip your head as deep as possible, then raise your head as high as you can, and kinda bob up past what works and stretch it. After I'm warmed up with flexibility exercises I play along with the CD I got from my teacher trying to match pitch and speed (timing is my biggest headache).

My teacher demonstrated some extreme lowering of the bell in a recent lesson. It was flat against his chest and he was still playing. I've been working on this also, but I have a LONG way to go. A side note, my arms fatigue much less now that I'm lowering the bell.


Hey ntimperio, forgive my ignorance, but what are you referring to when you speak from "the bell".
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ntimperio
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PostPosted: 2011-05-20, 21:44    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Hi Stefan. That's what my teacher calls the root end. ...or my ears might be broken.

Nicholas

edit: I found several sources online calling it a bell. Guess my ears were on straight. (-:
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Stefan Emich
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PostPosted: 2011-05-20, 22:55    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Ah, I see. Good to know. Thanks Nicholas, no problem with your ears then! Very Happy
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Last edited by Stefan Emich on 2011-05-21, 17:42; edited 1 time in total
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Mischa M Hill
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 00:12    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Jarle Jivanmukta wrote:
(Wht is warming up? Flute, me, or both?)


Both Smile
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Glenn Shōyū Swann
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 05:12    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

the exercises to increase ability to bend the pitch up and down smoothly are great..... but be careful not to get too used to moving the flute a lot. the head tilt should ideally provide the angle change, with the bell being fairly steady.
another dimension to consider in flatness for beginners is the possibility you are jamming the flute into your chin- the closer the lips are to the blowing edge, basically the flatter the sound whether it's from angle change or directly moving the flute in and out- a few millimeters can make a difference. try blowing a constant note and carefully, very slowly move the flute away from and directly into your chin, you'll likely hear pitch change. a side-effect of excess hand/arm tension can be the tendency to jam the flute into position. should instead be just the right amount of pressure so it doesn't move around, but doesn't feel uncomfortable.
as far as warming up, the flute, especially if it's got thick walls or is cold, will tend to sharpen slowly as you play. much to the delight of koto players you may be working with Smile
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ntimperio
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 06:01    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Thank you Glenn, that's an excellent point regarding mostly moving the head.
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 13:13    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Yes Glen keeping the flute not squeezed into the mouth so much really is helpful.
I tried that now. And reminder to move head more and arms/flute less :-)

I also shaved after not shaving for 4 weeks, and noticed that after a little adjustments to find sound again, notice that tone is sharper.
Is it common that shaving the lower jaw gives better pitch?
(Might not work for women..)
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 17:41    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

If you are flat there is a 95% chance that you are not blowing hard enough and with insufficient diaphragm support. There is an additional 5% chance you need to raise your head a bit.

When beginners are flat it's usually because they are not blowing strong enough. No need for moving the flute around too much. Just build your breath.
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Glenn Shōyū Swann
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 22:39    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Jarle Jivanmukta wrote:
Yes Glen keeping the flute not squeezed into the mouth so much really is helpful.
I tried that now. And reminder to move head more and arms/flute less :-)

I also shaved after not shaving for 4 weeks, and noticed that after a little adjustments to find sound again, notice that tone is sharper.
Is it common that shaving the lower jaw gives better pitch?
(Might not work for women..)



there were discussions about facial hair on the BBQ.... i seem to remember most felt it didn't make much difference.... i don't personally have a problem with my pretty-much always there beard. it might be you just found the place the flute should be because you could feel it a little better- or just coincidence.
Tairaku's point about sufficient air stream is quite an important one to consider as well, assuming your angle is ok, but blowing hard into a more-or-less- chuu-meri position will just get you some nice windy sounds and harmonics.

solid blowing from the belly, proper angles, well-aimed airstream with properly relaxed lips will get you a good sound, eventually...
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 22:51    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

To me playing kan is more about focus than force. Smile

Try to imagine that your air stream come out vertically rather than horizontal in shape. That image helps my students quite often (and myself once upon a time).

When you narrow the opening in your lips and push the same amount of air through as you did in otsu, obviously the speed goes up.. so yes you need a faster air stream but that does not mean you blow harder....

...but then again.. in the beginning most people do blow harder to get kan. And that is ok as long as you are aware that it is not only a question of blowing harder and push more air out.

Also the place on the utaguchi that you hit to produce sound changes a little bit with the registers. Otsu is further down behind the utaguchi and kan is a litle bit further up. WE are talking millimeters here.

The shape of your lips changes too a little bit. In kan you produce a lip shape that is a fraction of a millimeter closer to a kissing mouth than in otsu. The middle of your lips protrude a little outward... like to create a funnel where the narrower air comes out....

Ok, it is late and I have been organising a work weekend for the meditation center where I live with 100 people.... sorry if I do not make sense! Neutral

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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 23:42    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Kiku Day wrote:
To me playing kan is more about focus than force.... sorry if I do not make sense! Neutral

zzzzzzzzzzzzz Mr. Green


Kiku, what you are saying would make sense if this thread was about Kan :-D
But I think we are many that are happy and neeed to learn about Kan as well.


Everyone, thanks for contributing. All advice so far has been relevant to me....
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-21, 23:47    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
If you are flat there is a 95% chance that you are not blowing hard enough and with insufficient diaphragm support. There is an additional 5% chance you need to raise your head a bit.

When beginners are flat it's usually because they are not blowing strong enough. No need for moving the flute around too much. Just build your breath.


When you have time, and if it is possible, I will be glad to learn more about what you mean by diaphragm support. Or is there any good written source allready?

I found this article: http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/PDFs/sb.pdf

And this: http://shakuhachiforum.com/viewtopic.php?pid=33416

Jarle
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Jeff Cairns
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PostPosted: 2011-05-22, 02:05    Post subject: Moving from too flat to correct pitch...methods of training Reply with quote

Jarle, What is meant by diaphragm support is that the player uses the large diaphragm muscle group just below the rib cage at the front of the body to control air movement in and out of the lungs. This is often recognized as belly-breathing and identified by the belly moving in and out as one breaths in and out. The group of muscles that are in action when chest breathing lack the ability to be controlled sufficiently to supply a steady and forceful enough stream of air to the shakuhachi for any length of time. Therefore, diaphragm control (support) is absolutely necessary to do what is demanded of you when playing shakuhachi including playing in pitch. That being said, diaphragm support generally requires training in order to strengthen the diaphragm muscle(s) enough to do the job. This is best done in a 'shakuhachi-playing' related way. The explanation I gave on your link from the BBQ is a good way to build these muscles to support the type of breath needed when blowing shakuhachi. Like any exercise, it doesn't necessarily show positive results right away. Muscles as well as old habits need to be worked on to get this right. Be patient and do it regularly. Okay
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