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Go/No/Hi (ryo) sounds lower than Ro (kan)?

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Joined: 05 Oct 2015
Posts: 4
Localisation: London

PostPosted: 2016-03-16, 10:19    Post subject: Go/No/Hi (ryo) sounds lower than Ro (kan)? Reply with quote

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Hey everyone,

I'm pretty new with shakuhachi - I got one in autumn and have been practicing mainly on my own and with Blasdel's guide since then.

I can produce a tone fairly consistently, and having had some experience with bamboo flutes before the kan range is also slowly revealing itself, which feels great!

I yesterday started looking more into intonation, and actually I just realised that my Ro in ryo is down to a C# or even C. (I am playing on a 1.8 D shakuhachi.)

The awkward thing is that when I play the Ro in kan, it sounds like a D - effectively, when I go up the scale, my Go/No/Hi in ryo sounds like a clear half-step below my Ro in kan. My embouchure and chin position remain virtually identical, and I only change my fingering, yet there is this clear half-tone difference.

I am aware (and have been warned!) that beginners tend to play notes lower than they're supposed to be played - but shouldn't that be reflected in the Kan register too? Which is why I'm confused - the kan register is the proper pitches (ro-kan is a D) but with the same chin position the ro-ryo is a C to C#.

Is it possible that I have been playing ryo in tsu-meri the whole time and didn't realise? It feels very easy and natural to produce the tones as I have been so far, and if I try to change my chin position/embouchure to make my Ro in ryo sound like a D, the sound loses strength.

Is it just a matter of playing the ryo notes with a tuner until I can get them comfortably out at the proper pitch, or is there something else at work here?
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felix martens


Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: 2016-03-16, 21:53    Post subject: Go/No/Hi (ryo) sounds lower than Ro (kan)? Reply with quote

Could be you are impatient. Lots of long tone practice and build the strength of your embouchure, and your notes won't lose strength. Patience and practice, practice, practice. Oh, and more practice. Enjoy!
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