A Manual for Learning

2nd Edition
New & Revised

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This volume, published in Japan, is by far the most comprehensive playing guide and history of the shakuhachi to come out thus far. Divided into two parts, it includes a complete playing manual which begins with information on bamboo and flute making techniques and goes on to discuss structure, care and handling of the instrument. There are chapters which explain fingering, ornamentation and reading the traditional Kinko Ryu notation. The second section of the book is a well-researched history of the shakuhachi. It is translated by Blasdel and adapted from a work by Yuko Kamisango, a recognized authority on Edo Period music in Japan.

THE SHAKUHACHI: A MANUAL FOR LEARNING was originally published twenty years ago by Ongaku no Tomo-sha, Japan's leading music publisher. It went through six printings and can still be found in many libraries, both public and private, around the world. This new version, published by Printed Matter Press, Tokyo, has been greatly updated, revised and made more affordable for shakuhachi enthusiasts. The new additions include the practice exercises re-written in easy-to-read computer generated fonts, a section on modulation in shakuhachi music, and a new chapter entitled, "Walking on its Own," a comprehensive and up to date treatment of contemporary shakuhachi history. There are also many new photographs and diagrams as well as listings of published music and places to purchase or have shakuhachi repaired.

Several practice exercises are provided in a separately-bound supplement written in both Japanese cursive and western notation. These exercises include folk songs, children's music and classical shakuhachi pieces which are recorded on an accompanying CD.

Also included are appendices of music publishers and stores selling shakuhachi flutes as well as a bibliography and complete index. Many photographs and illustrations.

Chapter and Subsection Titles

Preface to the New Edition
Preface to the First Edition

Part I - Learning to Play

1. The Materials
- The Bamboo Metamorphosis: from 'Simple" to "Sublime"
2. Varieties of Shakuhachi
- Origin of the Name: Shakuhachi Length and Pitch
- Styles of Shakuhachi Playing
- Choosing a Shakuhachi
3. Structure, Handling and Care of the Shakuhachi
- Description of the Shakuhachi and its Parts
- Accessories
- Basic Handling
- Holding, Posture and Breathing
- Special Characteristics of the Shakuhachi as an Instrument
4. Producing a Tone
5. Basic Notes
6. Rhythm, Beats and Counting
7. Fingering Practice
8. Playing Consecutive Tones: Finger Tonguing
9. Playing the Upper Register: Kan
- Producing the High Tones
10. Meri & Kari, Changing Pitch with Blowing Angle, Lips and Half-holing
- Chu-meri
- Full Meri
- Kari
11. Analysis of Japanese Scales
12. Standard Shakuhachi Ornamentation: Patterns and Phrases
13. Practicing with the Classics
- Deciphering the Traditional Cursive Notation
- Pointers for Playing Kurokami
- Pointers for Playing Rokudan
14. Modulation Techniques in Sankyoku
15. Thoughts on Training and Practice of the Shakuhachi

Part II - The Shakuhachi—Its History and Development

1. Types of Shakuhachi Found in Japan
2. Ancient Shakuhachi
- in the Tang Dynasty
- The Gagaku Shakuhachi
3. The Shakuhachi of the Middle Ages
- Origins of the Shakuhachi as Seen in the Taigen-sho
- The Rise of Mendicant Shakuhachi Players—The Komoso
- The Tempuku—Fossil of the Ancient Shakuhachi
- Hitoyogiri—Shakuhachi Prototype of the Middle Ages
4. The Edo Period Shakuhachi
- The 16th Century and its Impact on the Development of Japanese Music
- The Miyako Bushi Scale and the Demise of the Hitoyogiri
- Development of the Root-end Shakuhachi
- Development of the Shakuhachi as a Tool for Zen Meditation
- Origins of the Fuke Sect—Fact and Fantasy
- The Kyotaku Denki Disproved: Nakatsuka Chikuzen's A Historical View of the Kinko Shakuhachi
- Political Intrigue—The Fuke Sect and the Tokugawa Government
- Nakatsuka's Theories on the Rise of the Fuke Sect
- Komoso Sects and Komuso Temples
- The Fuke Sect's Suizen (Blowing Zen): the Lifestyle and Music of the Komuso Monks
- The Shakuhachi and Early Ensemble Playing by Laymen
- Public Shakuhachi Studios and the Beginning of the Kinko-ryu
- The Demise of the Fuke Sect—Misuse and Forfeiture of their Special Privileges
- Shakuhachi of the Late Edo Period—Rise of Individual Schools
5. The Modern ShakuhachI
- The Banning of the Fuke Sect and the Transition from a Ritual to a Musical Instrument
- Various Schools of Myoan Shakuhachi and Their Development
- The Kinko-ryu and its Emphasis on Musicality
- The Tozan-ryu and Ensemble Playing in the Kansai Area
- Chikuho-ryu—Gaikyoku and Suizen Combined
- Conclusion

Part III - The Shakuhachi—Walking on its Own

List of Shakuhachi Resources (Music, Instrument, Accessories, etc)
- Chikumei-sha
- Chikuyu-sha
- Dainippon Katei Ongakukai
- Kinko-sha
- Meijiro Co. Ltd
- Tai Hei Shakuhachi
- Perry Young Flutes
Practice Pieces (Traditional katakana tablature notation)
- Practice Exercise No. 1: One Tone, One Breath
- Practice Exercise No. 2: Basic Pitches and Rhythms in Metered Time
- Practice Exercise No. 3: Fingering Practice with Changing Tones
- Practice Exercise No. 4: Osu Fingering Tonguing
- Ichiban Boshi, Yuyake Koyake, Kagome Kagome
- Practice Exercise No. 5: Ryo & Kan Registers
Edo no Komori Uta, Phoenix Village, Osaka Komori Uta, Auld Lang Syne, Arirang
- Practice Exercise No. 6: Chu Meri
Akatonbo, no Ko, Domino Fidelum Motet
- Practice Exercise No. 7: Meri
Sakura, Defune, Kuroda Bushi, Chogoku Komori Uta, Kazue Uta, Furusatono, Hakugetsu, Russian Folk Lullabye, Soshunfu, Sogen Joka, Ode to Joy
- Practice Exercise No. 8: Kurokami
- Practice Exercise No. 9: Rokudan no Shirabe
- Practice Exercise No. 10: Chidori no Kyoku
Practice Pieces (Same pieces as above referenced with stave notation)
Kinko-ryu Tozan-ryu comparative Fingering Chart

200 pages. PG-1

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, born in Texas, began the shakuhachi and studies of Japanese music in 1972 with shakuhachi master, Living National Treasure Goro Yamaguchi. He received a teaching license and the professional name "Yohmei" from Yamaguchi in 1984. At the same time, he completed graduate work in ethnomusicology at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. A permanent resident of Japan, he has performed, taught and lectured throughout China, Thailand, Europe, North America, Mexico, India, Malaysia and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He has been a visiting artist in residence at Earlham College, Richmond Indiana, guest professor at the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, invited artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, resident of Centrum Arts Center and recently awarded an Asian Cultural Council grant to study the transmission of Thai traditional music. He was an executive director of the Boulder World Shakuhachi Festival 1998 and is the artistic director of the Fukuoka Gendai Hogaku Festival for contemporary Japanese music. His book, "A Shakuhachi Oddyssey," written in Japanese, is published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha and was awarded the prestigious Rennyo Award for nonfiction.

In his musical activities, Blasdel maintains a balance between traditional shakuhachi music, modern compositions and cross-genre work with a great variety of well-known musicians, dancers, poets, and painters, both Western and Eastern. Blasdel presently performs, teaches, and records in Japan and around the world. He works as Advisor to the Arts Program at the International House of Japan, is part-time lecturer at International Christian University and Temple University in Tokyo, teaches privately at the Asahi Culture Center in Shinjuku and writes regularly for The Japan Times.

Learn More About Christopher Blasdel
THE SINGLE TONE: A Personal Journey into Shakuhachi Music
Recorded Music

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