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Breathy, Squeaking sound

 
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Bevvie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-26, 23:12    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

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Hi Everyone!
Well I started practising and have been for a few hours, All I am getting is a breathy, high pitch squeaky sound.
I'm playing with no fingers covering holes. What am I doing wrong?
Is it the positioning? Or maybe my lips? Or maybe too much breath?
I can't afford a teacher or a book but tbh at the moment I want to just get a sound.
Thanks in advance!
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 00:08    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

I closed the upper three or four holes when I got ny first sounds. I practiced (irregularly) for 1-2 months before it happened....

Enjoy!
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Bevvie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 00:34    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

I just tried it with all holes covered. Sound is much better but it is really breathy and weak :/
Its really light the tone is really weak.
Anyone know what I'm doing wrong?
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Bevvie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 01:17    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Also Jarle its encouraging that it took you 1-2 months as I was reading a post on a youtube tutorial and one poster said it took a few hours to get a sound and I'm getting a wee bit annoyed!

Not meant in a bad way but its more encouraging for me! xD
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RickM
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 03:14    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

It was easier for me in the beginning with all the holes covered. A "really breathy and weak" tone after you've only been playing shakuhachi for a few hours is just fine. In fact I'd say it's pretty good. Some people are naturals and get a decent sound right away, but for most people it takes quite a while. The muscles in your embouchure take time to develop just like any other muscle. It's not unusual for it to take months to get a solid tone consistently.

Try looking in a mirror as you play and notice what your lips/embouchure look like when you do get a good tone, however briefly it lasts. Then try to duplicate that shape.

You are probably already trying to move the flute and your head up and down as you blow to find the angle that works best, but also try moving it closer to and farther away from your mouth.

The one thing that I can say with certainty is that if you keep practicing you will get better.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 04:04    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Common problems:

1. Blowing too hard
2. Wrong angle of airstream across the mouthpiece
3. Lips too close to mouthpiece.
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 06:51    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Bevvie wrote:
Also Jarle its encouraging that it took you 1-2 months as I was reading a post on a youtube tutorial and one poster said it took a few hours to get a sound and I'm getting a wee bit annoyed!

Not meant in a bad way but its more encouraging for me! xD


Sorry, not meaning to discourage....
I had a visitor trying the flute for fun, he played the flute after 5 mins.
My point is: be patient and keep practicing. My breakthrough was when i had time to practice 1 hr+ daily for one week. After getting sound comes new challenges, keep blowing and good luck! :-)
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 07:34    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Usually, it is easiest for most people to get a sound without any holes covered.. but it may depend on the person.
If you just started practicing, it is totally normal only to get these sounds you describe. The airy sounds are prodused when the air hits places on the utaguchi (mouthpiece) that do not produce a tone. The high note probably indicated you are hitting the place that produces sound but in a wrong angle so you get an overtone. Perhaps you blow too hard as well.

• Try first of all to change the flute's angle. Take the flute away from your lips and "reset" it to try new angles. Many beginners are afraid - for some reason - to try again and keep on blowing in an angle that doesn't work.
• Try to imagine your breath being vertical rather than horizontal in shape. This may help you to get your breath more focused.
• Blow softer. It is not necessary to push to get a sound of a shakuhachi.

Good luck! It does take most people a while to get a sound, so nothing to do than "enjoy" the practice. You will get there.
Let us know on the forum how it goes! Smile
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Bevvie
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PostPosted: 2011-05-27, 11:59    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Jarle Jivanmukta wrote:

Sorry, not meaning to discourage....
I had a visitor trying the flute for fun, he played the flute after 5 mins.
My point is: be patient and keep practicing. My breakthrough was when i had time to practice 1 hr+ daily for one week. After getting sound comes new challenges, keep blowing and good luck! :-)


Actually you didn't discourage me! More like encouraged me xD
I was feeling like a small bit of an eejit as I couldn't get a tone!
I stumbled on the proper tone last night but now i can't get it again! Dx
But i'll practise again!
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CharlesKoeppen
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PostPosted: 2011-05-30, 00:46    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

Are you sure the problem isn't the shakuhachi itself? Even if you don't have a teacher available, most transverse flute players can get a reasonable tone from a shakuhachi within a few minutes of trying. You might want to see about getting a transverse flute player to try it out just to be sure the problem is you and not the shakuhachi. Most transverse flute players would welcome the experience, and it might even turn them onto shakuhachi as an added nicety.
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muraiki
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PostPosted: 2012-03-06, 16:14    Post subject: Breathy, Squeaking sound Reply with quote

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to relate my experience:

I bought a shakuhachi yuu in 2005 and was only able to make that breathy, squeaky sound for months. It wasn't a clear note, just whistling harmonics. Eventually I gave up. Occasionally I would try to produce a sound on it, trying all sorts of techniques (imagining I was blowing over a beer bottle, keeping my lips closed and letting pressure open them, etc.) After I got married my wife tried the shak and got a sound out of it pretty easily, which only served to make me more frustrated, haha...

In early 2010 I tried the Boehm flute for a few months. Unlike the shak, I was able to make a sound after a day or two. I don't know if the embouchure on the western flute is "easier" or not than the shakuhachi, but it was for me! However, I had to give up because of some neck problems. But later that year I randomly picked up the shakuhachi and blew into it, and I finally got a sound! I was so excited; even though it was very breathy it was an actual note instead of weird harmonic whistling sounds.

You probably have been able to make a sound by now, but if you (or anyone else reading this) is struggling, it might not be a bad idea to try and produce a sound on a Boehm flute first. Maybe a friend has one you can borrow, or you could rent one from a music store.

I think the two main problems I had were (1) I can't whistle, so I had no idea how to even approach the right embouchure (2) my upper lip has a bump in the middle, forcing air off to the side and thus requiring some adjustment of the instrument and my airstream.
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