Miyata Kohachiro - Shakuhachi: The Japanese Flute
Here is a nice set of some of the most relaxing and beautiful music I have in my collection. I hope it givews you what it gives me. Ultimate peace! Great for late at night. If you can't sleep - put this on! Works every (almost) time!
What can I tell you about this?
Hmm, not much it seems. I just listen to it.
I hereby invoke the spirit of good old wikipedia...
'The shakuhachi is a Japanese end-blown flute which is held vertically like a recorder, instead of transversely like the Western transverse flute. Its name means "1.8 foot", its size. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but versions now exists in wood and plastic. It was used by the monks of the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen (blowing meditation). Its soulful sound made it popular in Western 1980s pop music.
The name shakuhachi means "1.8 foot", from its size. It is a compound of two words:
shaku means "foot" (an archaic measure of length), equal to 30.3 centimeters (0.994 of the English foot) and subdivided in ten (not twelve).
hachi means "eight", here eight sun or tenths of a shaku.
Thus, "shaku-hachi" means "one foot eight" (almost 55 centimeters), the standard length of a shakuhachi. Other shakuhachi vary in length from about 1.3 shaku up to 3.3 shaku. (The longer the shakuhachi, the lower its tuning.) Although the sizes differ, they are all still referred to generically as "shakuhachi".'
Isn't that quite an education? I mean, I just thought it was the name of a bloody album but no...it means a whole lot more!
I mean, check this out:
'The five finger holes are tuned to a pentatonic scale with no half-tones, but the player can bend each pitch as much as a whole tone or more, using techniques called meri and kari, in which the blowing angle is adjusted to bend the pitch downward and upward, respectively. Pitches may also be lowered by shading or partially covering finger holes. Since most pitches can be achieved via several different fingering or blowing techniques on the shakuhachi, the timbre of each possibility is taken into account when composing or playing. The shakuhachi has a range of two full octaves (the lower is called otsu, the upper, kan) and a partial third octave (tai-kan). The different octaves are produced using subtle variations of breath and embouchure.'
Incase you are as thick as me...to save you going to dictionary.com: 'The embouchure is the use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece of a wind instrument. Less frequently, it is used to mean the mouthpiece itself. The word is of French origin and is related to the root bouche (fr.), 'mouth'.
The proper embouchure allows the instrumentalist to play the instrument at its full range with a full, clear tone and without strain or damage to one's muscles.'
Don't know about you but I find it fascinating.
Suppose I shouldn't leave out the actual musician
Read here a run down of the album pieces.
SAMPLES courtesy of amazon. (Not sure if these will load directly from this page but you can try it)
Sample Track 01
sample Track 02
Sample Track 03
Sample Track 04
Sample Track 05
If none of those work then go directly to the page and click the sample links yourself.
Just make sure you try this album out!
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