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#26 2009-03-11 20:02:26

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

chikuzen wrote:

...However, it is also a fact that all the moderators are NOT professionals...

True, but I think that they're all at least very advanced players.

chikuzen wrote:

radiognome wrote:

I'm fine with prefacing posts here with "I'm not a pro but..." however the solution you propose of non-pros posting "meet me over in some other place to discuss this because I think I can help" I'm not fine with because trying to quote the original posters question on a different thread can be a real pain.

I see your dilemma of it being a real pain. The "I'm not a pro" preface certainly shows consideration and is the best answer to this that's been offered. I think that would be enough to let Guests know such.

OK, I'm not a pro, but that seems like a good solution to me.   


BTW, to anyone out there still following this, this thread took a tangent not related to the original poster's questions. Two of the original posters original questions still stand. Why some flutes have a more severe utaguchi angle and what adjustments the player needs to accomodate  the difference. The "how to play" part seems like it might be too invloved for a text-based forum, but the "Why" part could probably be answered easily enough by someone who knows.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#27 2009-03-11 22:01:26

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Radiognome- I think the why part of the questions would best be directed to Monty in the 'maker' section, however he doesn't seem to participate much in this forum, so here's a quick stab at the question.  Every maker is a person, presumably with relatively the same anatomic parts as most players, however, there is room for variation here.  Those variations when applied to great amounts of practice become consistencies for the makers.  Thus, the observed consistency in Monty's utaguchi angles.  With respect to this part, or any part of the shakuhachi, there is room for variation.  A more advanced player would know this through experience and quickly make adjustments to any shakuhachi when they begin to play it, in an attempt to find the sweet spot and equally quickly take note of that in terms of intellectual/muscle memory for the next time they pick that instrument up to play.  This comes with experience which was addressed by Jim's, Geni's and your own answers.  The mistake is to assume that there is any one perfect way in construction or playing.  Though the shakuhachi was and for the large part still is made from bamboo, it fortunately has always been plastic both conceptually and formatively.
As a pro player, I would like to add that this part of the forum is somewhat misnamed and certainly leads to some confusion as witnessed.  I would like to suggest to the administrators that they consider this section heading to be something less directed, like 'Questions' or 'Questions for the Experienced' or 'HELP!.'  Since the majority of questions seem to come from those with less playing experience under their belts relatively, it makes sense that others, pro or not, who have encountered those problems somewhere on their journey may have a good answer to them.  As such, any answers could and should be fielded.  Within the heirarchy of experience, any misinforming answers can and probably will be addressed by those who 'know better' and they may indeed come from pros.  A simple change of the name of the sub-section will solve this problem.  Should anybody wish to address a question directly to a 'Pro', then they have the right to do that, though with discretion, I would hope.  I have certainly had people privately mail me with direct questions which I was only too happy to help with as I was able.  Again, discretion is the key word here.
Thanks for allowing me my two yen worth.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#28 2009-03-11 23:43:44

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Hhhmmmm....

I am not a professional shakuhachi player but I am a professional at communications and knowledge management.  So on this topic I will offer two observations:

1) If you look at the forum every section is organized by a subject area: practice, jinashi, technique, sales, art, event and so on...

But then all of a sudden there is one section which is not named by the subject area but by virtue of who will be answering the questions.  This is a totally different organizational critera and it creates confusion.

Example: Right now the forum seems to suggest that if you want everday simply folk to dicuss 'practice'  in their simple ways go to the practice section.  But if you want a serious educated opinion on the same question then you should post your practice query in the 'pro' section.

Isn't that weird?   Why not just have a practice section and allow people to chime in - and the reader can judge the various opinions according to the credentials of the people posting? 

And now you will also find questions in the pro section that really belong, by virtue of their subject area, in all of the different sections.  We have technique questions, maker questions, history questions and so on.... but all jumbled together because someone was seeking a 'pro' perspective.  For someone who will come to the forum with the intent of reading old posts on a partcular question, this will be very confusing. 

Example:  I want to collect information about utagachi angles.  I go to the 'maker' section and read for hours and find no answers.  Sadly, I had no idea that the most informative questions and answers were actually in the 'pro' section.  What a shame.

2)  I hope it does not surprise anyone when I point out that the title 'pro' is not so clear.    I have my opinions which I will not share on this matter.  But it may be healthier to just back off the practice or coronating pros all together. 

I also think that it is confusing in that most of the pro moderators listed hardly ever provide guidance here at all.  (And that is why I think many non-pros are stepping up to the plate to answer questions.)   So this section in some way seems to offer a service that is not really being provided.   



So, in short: I would recommend just closing this section all together.  Or, at the very least, allow people only to submit questions and answers via email and have a top moderator edit the questions and answers so that they represernt a true student and master dialogue that can not be covered in the other sections.

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#29 2009-03-12 00:24:24

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 884
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Jacques,

On some flutes I've played that have a similar blowing edge angle as your flute, I've noticed the overall design of the flute was for something that might be considered a "responsive" tone. Sometimes, the opposite angle is used on flutes that are designed for a more diffused tone. Keep in mind that this is a generalization and these utaguchi angles are not exclusive to specific tones. It's just an observation.

Jeff makes an excellent point that I feel is more on the mark. Makers are different and tune into slightly different ways of getting things done. Often, it's difficult to say exactly why. It just works for one or a group of makers.

--------------------------------------

As for "pros" not participating in this forum. Yes, it would be nice to see more participation. However, I also understand the reluctance of many to respond for reasons which have been brought up in this thread.

We started the "Ask the pro" forum in order for members to ask questions and get feedback from the more experienced people in the shakuhachi community. Obviously there are going to be gray areas, overlap, disagreements, turf issues, etc. That's the nature of the beast.

We'll discuss the semantics and logistics here and decide if any changes need to be made.

Ken

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#30 2009-03-12 11:02:27

jaybeemusic
Member
From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Mujitsu wrote:

Jacques,

On some flutes I've played that have a similar blowing edge angle as your flute, I've noticed the overall design of the flute was for something that might be considered a "responsive" tone. Sometimes, the opposite angle is used on flutes that are designed for a more diffused tone. Keep in mind that this is a generalization and these utaguchi angles are not exclusive to specific tones. It's just an observation.

Ken

Thanks for the reply ken,

I know that all things are related....so there's no difinitive answer but, if i understand you correctly, the more vertical utaguchi angle would be used in conjunction with a smaller bore etc... to create a flute with a faster response.

Conversely, would a more horizontal utaguchi works better for a larger bore flute?

Would the utaguchi angle ALONE change the response of a flute?

I know that this should really be discussed in the flutemaking section.....but I started the thread here.....my bad.

I had 2 questions and i really should have put them in their respective places.


oh and for what it's worth, i'm starting to GET the different embouchure for the new flute.  It's VERY different than anything i've ever played before.
but i'm glad for the learning experience.


Thanks everyone for their input.

Even the Non-Pro's

Jacques

Last edited by jaybeemusic (2009-03-12 11:12:20)


It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people "think" that you're stupid, than to open it, and remove all doubt.

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#31 2009-03-12 17:33:06

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 884
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

jaybeemusic wrote:

I know that all things are related....so there's no difinitive answer but, if i understand you correctly, the more vertical utaguchi angle would be used in conjunction with a smaller bore etc... to create a flute with a faster response.

Conversely, would a more horizontal utaguchi works better for a larger bore flute?

Hi Jacques,

I meant there have been times that I've noticed a similar correlation you speak of here with shakuhachi. Not that it is the rule.

jaybeemusic wrote:

I know that this should really be discussed in the flutemaking section.....but I started the thread here.....my bad.

No worries Jacques!

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#32 2009-03-12 19:36:02

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Seth wrote:

So, in short: I would recommend just closing this section all together.  Or, at the very least, allow people only to submit questions and answers via email and have a top moderator edit the questions and answers so that they represernt a true student and master dialogue that can not be covered in the other sections.

We could probably close the section altogether and move all the topics to the nearest related section, that's a good suggestion. We will discuss with the Brain Trust.

Most of the points raised here are relevant. Pros are always welcome to weigh in at any time on the forum. Chikuzen's statement about not everyone being a pro is interesting as well.

It was my idea to give moderator status and titles (such as "shihan") to pros in order that newbies could understand that some contributors have qualifications. However in my urge to be non-sectarian I granted moderator and titles to any licensed teacher, any professional maker, and anybody who performs and records in significant ways. This has led to some problems because some people are not quite up to the task. Which is OK in terms of being forum members, but backfires in terms of being moderators.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#33 2009-03-13 03:37:42

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 922
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

I would like to - as a moderator - try to answer the original question.

Jacques, your question is very valid and is one very important aspects of the changes that the shakuhachi has undergone the past 150 years or so.
In my research I have noticed - just like other researchers and makers have done - that modern shakuhachi have a steeper angle and larger depth of the utaguchi than older shakuhachi from the Edo period.

Now when I come with a statement like that - please - do bear in mind that there are always exceptions as shakuhachi in all times have a great variation. I am only talking about the general trend here.

My research has more aimed at modern makers of shakuhachi. And here it is clear that many makers who make jinashi shakuhachi has studied older instruments and has therefore been influenced by them. They often make shallower utaguchi.

For some reason when I try to post pictures they all come up in this one uniform very small picture... But here are two examples.
The two first photos are a taimu made by Ken. I know that Ken has studied old Edo period shakuhachi and have been influenced in his own style of making by them. You can see his utaguchi is way shallower and the angle not so steep as the shakuhachi in the next two pictures, which is made by Monty.


http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/LaCosse1.jpg http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/LaCosse2.jpg


http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/Levenson1.jpg http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/Levenson2.jpg

Why this difference?
When changes (or 'improvements') were made to the shakuhachi during the Meiji, Taisho and perhaps into early Showa periods, the aim was to create an instrument that could do the same things as a Western flute. By making the depth of the utagushi larger and by making the angle sharper - you have to use another blowing technique. That blowing technique is a more focused breath and with a tighter embouchure (the smile). The sound created would then be more focused and 'pure' - e.g., the opposite of what some in this forum call leaky-iki (which is a great term - not criticising the term here).
The 'old' style utaguchi requires a much more relaxed embouchure and the air will be less focused. The timbre created will be softer but less focuse - e.g., exactly the leaky-iki with more noise as well.

Now many modern shakuhachi makers come from a background of jinuri-making. Now that jinashi has become more popular and they begin to make them - many make them with a modern utaguchi. This is how music is always evolving and changing.

Good luck with your new flute, Jacques. Play it with a tighter embouchure and more focused breath. I am sure the sound will come and once you get used to that type of embouchre you will love Monty's flute. He makes good flutes.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#34 2009-03-13 21:08:37

jaybeemusic
Member
From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Thanks Kiku!!!

That's exactly the type of answer i was looking for.  Very helpful.

i have noticed that i must really tighten up my "smile"   and i also noticed that my tone improved too..... thanks

Jacques

Last edited by jaybeemusic (2009-03-13 21:10:11)


It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people "think" that you're stupid, than to open it, and remove all doubt.

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#35 2009-03-14 06:28:30

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 922
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

I am glad it helped!
Remember that timbre in shakuhachi is a matter of taste and style.
The tighter embouchure gives a more focused but harder tone.
The softer embouchure gives a more complex and soft tone.
Let us know how it goes!


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#36 2009-03-14 06:55:18

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Kiku Day wrote:

I would like to - as a moderator - try to answer the original question.

Jacques, your question is very valid and is one very important aspects of the changes that the shakuhachi has undergone the past 150 years or so.
In my research I have noticed - just like other researchers and makers have done - that modern shakuhachi have a steeper angle and larger depth of the utaguchi than older shakuhachi from the Edo period.

Now when I come with a statement like that - please - do bear in mind that there are always exceptions as shakuhachi in all times have a great variation. I am only talking about the general trend here.

My research has more aimed at modern makers of shakuhachi. And here it is clear that many makers who make jinashi shakuhachi has studied older instruments and has therefore been influenced by them. They often make shallower utaguchi.

For some reason when I try to post pictures they all come up in this one uniform very small picture... But here are two examples.
The two first photos are a taimu made by Ken. I know that Ken has studied old Edo period shakuhachi and have been influenced in his own style of making by them. You can see his utaguchi is way shallower and the angle not so steep as the shakuhachi in the next two pictures, which is made by Monty.


http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13 … Cosse1.jpg http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13 … Cosse2.jpg


http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13 … enson1.jpg http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13 … enson2.jpg

Why this difference?
When changes (or 'improvements') were made to the shakuhachi during the Meiji, Taisho and perhaps into early Showa periods, the aim was to create an instrument that could do the same things as a Western flute. By making the depth of the utagushi larger and by making the angle sharper - you have to use another blowing technique. That blowing technique is a more focused breath and with a tighter embouchure (the smile). The sound created would then be more focused and 'pure' - e.g., the opposite of what some in this forum call leaky-iki (which is a great term - not criticising the term here).
The 'old' style utaguchi requires a much more relaxed embouchure and the air will be less focused. The timbre created will be softer but less focuse - e.g., exactly the leaky-iki with more noise as well.

Now many modern shakuhachi makers come from a background of jinuri-making. Now that jinashi has become more popular and they begin to make them - many make them with a modern utaguchi. This is how music is always evolving and changing.

Good luck with your new flute, Jacques. Play it with a tighter embouchure and more focused breath. I am sure the sound will come and once you get used to that type of embouchre you will love Monty's flute. He makes good flutes.

Wow.  That was a really well informed and informative response.   Maybe the forum should have a special section for these types of responses from 'pros.'  Just a suggestion.

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#37 2009-03-14 07:48:11

jaybeemusic
Member
From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

I actually prefer the softer jinashi sound (by a factor of 10)....... but i noticed that Monty's flute requires an embouchure that is about 2x tighter..(just a rought analysis) just to GET a sound.   

after i had played monty's for about an hour or so....i switched back to Perry's chikusing 1.8 and it was a lot easier to play.....almost like i went from lifting 50lbs to 25lbs......  and i felt a freedom that was very exciting..... my volume/tone etc.... was waaaaay better.

thanks again to everyone

jacques


It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people "think" that you're stupid, than to open it, and remove all doubt.

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#38 2009-03-14 23:44:52

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Hey Jacques, Sorry I've been MIA on your thread here. Lots of stuff piling up.  Much thanks to Kiku!

Older flutes are made with a less perpendicular blowing edge because the early players did not blow as hard and they were interested in the sound that was "in the bore". After the flute developed with musicians, the playing style changed to an "out of the bore" sound. This of course required the players to play more forcefully and the instrument changed to accommodate the more aggressive playing techniques that developed. The makers found that a steeper utaguchi produced a clearer harmonic, which gave the flute a brighter tone and slightly more punch.
When we first talked about your commission, I recall you saying that you had a modern flute you could use for lesson, but that you wanted a more organic sounding flute. I remember saying, "I know exactly what kind to make for you." And when I sent your finished flute out, I wrote that you should be able to spend a long time discovering this flute. I'm happy to see that happening!

Best, Perry

Last edited by Yungflutes (2009-03-15 20:45:48)


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#39 2009-03-15 00:51:46

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Yungflutes wrote:

'...more perpendicular blowing edge..."

"The makers found that a steeper utaguchi produced a clearer harmonic..."

Sorry, Perry, but this is confusing to me; aren't these two the same thing?


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#40 2009-03-15 15:39:28

marek
Member
From: Czech Republic
Registered: 2007-03-02
Posts: 187
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

jaybeemusic wrote:

.....almost like i went from lifting 50lbs to 25lbs......

be careful not to mistake tight for tense,
with the "smile" the lips are in different position and its the air passing out of the mouth that makes them tight... But, then again I ain't no pro...

Btw. what is the word for being relaxed in a set position?

Cheers,

Marek


"what are you gawping at!?"
                                          Uchiyama Roshi

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#41 2009-03-15 20:47:53

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

edosan wrote:

Yungflutes wrote:

'...more perpendicular blowing edge..


"The makers found that a steeper utaguchi produced a clearer harmonic..."

Sorry, Perry, but this is confusing to me; aren't these two the same thing?

Hi Edosan

The top line should read "less perpendicular". I've changed it on the posting. Thanks for pointing it out. It was late:)


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#42 2009-03-15 21:08:38

jaybeemusic
Member
From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Hi Perry,

thanks for the extra clarification with the utaguchi angle. 

and YES, I am completely IN LOVE with the shakuhachi that you made for me.  I am discovering new things about it every day.  You hit the nail on the head with the sound that i was looking for.   Thanks soooooo much.

jacques


It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people "think" that you're stupid, than to open it, and remove all doubt.

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#43 2009-03-15 21:14:51

jaybeemusic
Member
From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Utaguchi Angle...

Hi marek,

the tightness that i was referring to was my "smile muscles" (if that's even the right description).....not in my lips.   I don't know why but it seems my "margin-of-error" when i'm playing monty's flute is much smaller.  Almost like it's less forgiving of bad technique.   Demanding that i do it right.

With Perry's flute i feel like i can relax a bit and still play just fine.  (or at least as well as i am able to play....LOL)

I hope this makes sense....

Jacques


It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people "think" that you're stupid, than to open it, and remove all doubt.

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