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Tube of delight!

#26 2006-04-25 21:13:21

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

Re: Air volume/tone duration

kyoreiflutes wrote:

Well, looks like I should just buy my next flute, since none of mine can do that. They play, but not near that loud, not without going into the 2nd octave.

Thanks for the sound clip, Perry. You da man. wink


Sorry to say:  Don't assume it is the flute.  I have fallen for the fantasy that the next more expensive flute will fix all of my shakuhachi troubles one time too many.



#27 2006-04-25 21:21:26

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

Re: Air volume/tone duration

And so have legions of others....

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



#28 2006-04-26 00:16:08

From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061

Re: Air volume/tone duration

Thorsten wrote:

B-52 Ro, Atomic Ro ... maybe I'm overreacting here but maybe some Japanese (and others) may find this a curious choice of terminology for a characteristic of a japanese instrument (or any instrument for that matter) given that as you all know B-52s 'Enola Gay' and 'Bock's Car' did the big 'Atomic Ro' to Hiroshima and Nagasaki...
There should be no need for this kind of connotation when describing shakuhachi sounds maybe someone can come up with another name.
And I mean no offence to the people who brought up that name as I am sure it was done in good spirits simply to describe a sonic texture.

Maybe '747 Ro' 'the Bigger Ro' or ... suggestions please !

Just a thought.


Hi Thorston,

Thanks for pointing it out.

Best, Perry

"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)



#29 2006-06-12 17:49:32

Dokyoku (Daishihan); Zensabo
From: Maderia Park, BC, Canada
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 104

Re: Air volume/tone duration

One way to really feel the point where the airstream is properly exiting is to imagine you have a mouthful of sesame seeds and spitting them out one by one. The part where it exits is where you should be focusing your airstream. Put a bit of spittle there and look in the mirror and see if you can create a pinpoint of an opening. It must be ONE airstream. Some people make two sometimes three airstreams. If you don't do this you can't make the proper sound. This can all be determined even before place a shakuhachi to your lips. Once you see the ONE airstream, success in sound production is virtually guaranteed.

Once you make the "sesame seed embouchure" then test it on the utaguchi of of your flute. Then there comes a fork in the road: jiari or jinashi (hocchiku). If you want the "B-52 RO" (which requires a jiari flute) then practice as follows:

Kari Buki (blowing upwards) for Jiari:

1. First (without the flute) imagine your airstream going up to the sky. Your "sesame seed" embouchure will turn into a  "flat noodle" if you put more air pressure behind it. So now imagine the flat noodle going up to the sky. 

2. Next is the "horizontal shakuhachi" practice. Start by sitting up with a straight back. Place the shakuhachi at your lips with the flute in a  horizontal position (actaully the bell just above horizontal is better.) Then try to blow a note (you don't need to cover the holes.)  Once you make a sound pull the bell towards you stomach till the flute is at a 45 degree angle to your body, or in a comfortable position, while still making a sound. Then cover all the holes till you're at RO. Theoretically, this is the optimum position for kari-buki as the feeling from the horizontal position is still there, and there is just enough space between the embouchure and utaguchi to create a big sound.

3. It is not enough to blow kari, however, to make the RO boom. The inner cavity of the mouth must be utilized properly. The feeling is like there is a "ping-pong" ball inside your mouth (as Kakizakai-sensei is fond of saying.) Sometimes it's helpful to imagine a baseball or even a basketballl! Anyway, the main point is to use the space inside the mouth. Also imagine your embouchure and mouth opening up as you play RO (but still keeping the airstream focused.)

It may take several years before a RO blossoms into a booming one. That's why daily practice is needed. But you must practice properly. Once you get it, you'll never forget it, like riding a bike. When I first made the break-through it was such a great feeling! I had to lengthen my flutes as I was blowing more kari.   

The photos of that Edo-san are somewhat misleading since each player has a totally different sound color and way of playing. People who play jinashi exclusively such as Atsuya Okuda CANNOT make the booming RO as they never learned how to produce this kind of sound due to the kind of instrument they play. Which brings us to:


When playing a jinashi flute such as one you have made yourself, without all the bore technology, the most important thing is the tone colour of the flute. So, making the B-52 Ro is inconsequential, although knowing how to produce this may help in playing. Playing with control and sensitivity is more important than the loud RO. To do this, practicing producing a quiet long tone is important. Also, the three breaths: Cold Breath (airy/breathy), Warm Breath (pure tone), and a mixture of both.  All other techniques apply however: yuri, komi-buki, tamane, muraiki, etc, etc.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, they're just different styles of playing and instrument which requires time and enery with each to play well. But playing both helps each of the others, and enjoyment of the world of shakuhachi is increased greatly!


I live a shakuhachi life.



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