SHAKULUTE
Shakuhachi Headjoint for the Silver Flute


What People Say About The Shakulute


 

Page 5


"I have played the Shakulute on my old wooden flute for two months now. This flute is now so beautiful, it has blown my mind away. I have entered a completely new environment of performing. And I am discovering new musical experiences almost every day now.

"Thank you very much for the effort making my shakulute and in former times, my shakuhachi."

- Alfred Schmits, The Netherlands
www.theconsciouscompany.com


"

"As you know my arthritis has gotten to the point where it hurts me to hold my silver flute in a transverse position. Because of the enjoyment playing gives me, I hated the thought of having to give up playing the flute. Your vertical shakuhachi headjoint arrived a week ago. It is a marvel. For a week I have been able to hold the flute in a vertical position. I can play again.

"But it gets even more amazing. Over the years I have had Powell and Hanes flutes. I have even had custom-made headjoints. When I ordered your headjoint I was just hoping it would play adequately. What a surprise. The flute plays even better than with its original silver headjoint. The sound is more resonant, fuller and responsive. The sound is louder. I have never been able to push that much air down a silver barrel before. My original thought was that this would be a good headjoint for some one who could no longer hold a transverse flute. I have changed my mind! It is a great headjoint for any one who wants to maximize the sound production out of a metal concert flute. "

- Maynard Garfield, Naples, FL


West Meets East
A New Hybrid Combines the Best features of Shakuhachi and Western Concert Flutes

Whole Earth Review, Summer, 2002
By Robbie Hanna Anderman

From the perspective of a musician who was introduced to flute playing via the end-blown bamboo shakuhachi, the common Western transverse metal concert flute has a couple of advantages:

1. the relative ease of playing any note in the chromatic scale (traditional bamboo/cane flutes are stuck in one key, like a harmonica--though shakuhachi masters seem to have no limitations with that);
2. the facility of playing loud enough to be in an orchestra (some natural flutes do come close).It also has several relative disadvantages:
1. it sounds metallic;
2. one needs to twist one's body, arms, and/or head into an off-balance position. The hand position has contributed to many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome;
3. on an open-holed flute, one can "half hole" or (depending on the quality of the flute) quarter hole or more or less by choice. Metal on/off keys do not give that potential.
4. I have played a metal concert flute, and find I cannot get anything close to the "bending" of notes that is possible on the shakuhachi by tilting the player's head or the flute.

Finding that I like being physically "centered," rather than twisted, while playing, and desiring to carry only one flute to play along with other musicians, I decided that a marriage of the two styles of flutes was in order.

I traded in my father's retired trumpet for a concert transverse flute and asked Terry Wedge, an Ontario bamboo flute maker, to replace the usual metal "head piece" with an end-blown mouthpiece. The result showed me it was possible.

Then I sent it all to Monty Levenson, master shakuhachi craftsman in northern California (www.shakuhachi.com). The refined hybrid that emerged, pictured here, has a more natural sound (to my ears), a louder sound, and the ability to play all "Western" scales while remaining centered. And it has the potential to bend notes by tilting one's head or the flute, as only a shakuhachi player can.

The photo speaks for itself as to the mechanics of the marriage, but I want to note the importance of a comfortable and individually appropriate placement of the thumb rest (similar to a clarinet).

I offer the idea to anyone who'd like to center while playing with the winds. It opens up a whole new range of comfort and sound for flute players.


What People Say About the Shakulute
Page 5

THE SHAKULUTE
Shakuhachi Headjoint for the Silver Flute

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