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Thread: Native American and Japanese flutes

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    Default Native American and Japanese flutes

    I recently took up the Native American flute as well as the Japanese flute. Anyone else here into either the music or the playing?
    I currently have two flutes,one in A minor and the other in F#.

    I LOVE the music and sounds they produce.

    Here are a few pics of the flutes:



    Jim

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I love the Japanese Shakuhachi flute and have a few discs of the traditional music of the style. I also have several works by Takemitsu which employ elements of this. I'm also looking into Charles Koechlin's late flute music which is equally evocative of the Japanese... whether he was aware of it or not.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    I'm definitely interested in shakuhachi. Have been for a good while, since I first heard it. Who couldn't be captured by that kind of tone?
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    I'm contemplating buying a shakuhachi flute made by Shakuhachi Yuu.They are of PVC and very well done.

    Jim

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by handlebar View Post
    I'm contemplating buying a shakuhachi flute made by Shakuhachi Yuu.They are of PVC and very well done.

    Jim
    Have you got one yet?

    I'm interesting in actually crafting a shakuhachi (technically a hocchiku) from bamboo. It seems relatively simple to make a traditional one with the tone holes corresponding to the minor pentatonic scale, but I plan on making some built to my own tunings and temperaments. Finding suitable bamboo with the correct node placement and consistency seems to be a hard enough task in itself, never mind the construction.

    Also, both discovering and comprehending the equations to work out the placement of the tone holes seems quite complex. There are more variables than you would think, especially using a naturally irregular material like bamboo. Appears to be a bit of a trial and error job.

    Once I get decent enough at end-blown flutes, I'd like to have a go at a tranverse flute like the dizi. There looks a bit more to them though so I'll not rush ahead of myself.

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    Argus - you don't need to work out the placement - just copy a grid image of the hole placements and transpose onto the flute and drill there.

    I've seen these wooden flutes go for ridiculous money just for the custom design. Give me a decent Yamaha solid silver any day

    Dunno about you, but I find transverse flutes very natural to work with

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post
    Argus - you don't need to work out the placement - just copy a grid image of the hole placements and transpose onto the flute and drill there.
    Thats well and good for making a flute in a regular tuning (diatonic or chromatic) but I plan on utilising some less common intervals on later flutes, like the 7:4 subminor seventh, the 13:8 tridecimal neutral sixth and a 11:8 lesser undecimal tritone.

    Plus, not having the faintest clue how to play a flute, the nature of the fingerings and stuff like cross/fork fingering confuse the matters. I remember reading a book a while ago that explained it all with tone hole lattices and the differences between cylindrical and conical bore, but as I wasn't really big on the woodwind at the time it fell out of my brain quickly. It was all logarithms and ******** like that.

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    This we gotta see - pics please! On You Toob

    Thats well and good for making a flute in a regular tuning (diatonic or chromatic) but I plan on utilising some less common intervals on later flutes, like the 7:4 subminor seventh, the 13:8 tridecimal neutral sixth and a 11:8 lesser undecimal tritone.
    "Three blind mice" is going to sound really funny peculiar lol.

    Keep it simple! Start off with a PVC pipe. No cross-fingering required except for virtuosos of the six-fingered variety.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    After finishing my initial attempts I realise I have neglected one key aspect. I can't play the flute. I have never even held a flute. Playing a recorder in primary school is the closest I've come. This makes it very difficult to test the quality of the finished flute.

    I attempted 3 different bamboo flutes to have more of a chance of at least one being playable. I made a pretty generic transverse flute (sort of a hybrid between a bansuri and a dizi), and have started to create a South American Quena and a Shakuhachi. All made from some old bamboo my dad had stored away in his workshop for a good 10-20 years.

    Now I have this tranverse flute almost done sans some final sanding and I can't get a nice flute-like tone out of it for the life of me. This is down to two factors. Either I've made a pretty crappy flute or my lack expeience playing the flute means my embouchure and technique are non-existant, leading to no sound being produced. I think the embouchure hole may also be a bit big for the shaft diameter. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole when the whole diameter of the flute is only a smidgen under an inch. I can occasionally get a flute like sound out of it but I have to get the exact blowing angle and lip position and when I try to change notes it crumbles away.

    On the Shakuhachi and Quena I am unable to get any tone out whatsoever. This must be technique as the blowing edges look quite correct.

    I need to rethink my strategy.

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    After finishing my initial attempts I realise I have neglected one key aspect. I can't play the flute. I have never even held a flute. Playing a recorder in primary school is the closest I've come. This makes it very difficult to test the quality of the finished flute.
    Lol! You're a screamer.

    Send it over here and I'll test it for you and post the results on You toob (provided you don't lace the tip with nerve poison! )

    Actually, the 'recorder' is a very good grounding for all woodwind instruments from childhood. I learnt the recorder too but as soon as my hands were large enough, it was the flute.

    Why don't you take up lessons and get your tutor to show you how to use embouchure for your flute? Some of the fingerings will be very familiar to you from the recorder days.

    If you post your embouchure diameter/dimensions, I'll let you know how it compares to my C Concert Flute or G Alto flute embouchure/lip plates.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Heres some low quality pictures and some dimensions. I used this website to work out the hole positions. I wanted the flute to be in the key of E330 to combine well with guitars. I drilled six holes to make the diatonic major scale the natural playable scale without shading or embouchure change.

    The embouchure hole is 11mm in diameter, the inside diameter of the flute shaft is 14mm and the wall thickness is about 5mm all around. The bamboo node near the embouchure hole acts as the cork. I may have drilled a bit too far from the node but this should only change where the 'dead spots' in the flutes range are and not reduce the hole flute to a dead spot.

    Anyway, I'm going to reread the flute section of my Arther Benade acoustics book and see if I can find where the problem lies. Looks like a while before I'll be building one of these.

    I've also included a couple of pictures of the blowing edges of my other attempted flutes. These are basically simple hollow tubes with holes and a sharp edge.

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    Hmmm.

    The embouchures of my C concert flute is 12mm x 10mm and my alto flute is 12mm x 11mm. Same wall thickness (looks like 5mm).

    Neither are circular - more oblong. I don't know about playing shakuhachi flute, but I presume you could test it by sticking a head screw in to block the sound, so that you can force the air down the main pipe .

    Thing is - the length of your flute looks like it is approaching the size of a piccolo? The diameter of a standard C concert flute is approx. 18mm so I guess it is going to sound in the piccolo's octave range?

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