Take a deep breath...
So, the lesson on 2 December did not happen: Michael had to cancel. Oh well, my next lesson will be on 30 December. Why so far away? I’ll be going on a holiday in Europe starting from today!
Today’s lesson was entirely about Yamabiko. I like Yamabiko because it has such a catchy melody. According to Michael, it was composed sometime in the 1960s or 1970s. It is a duet piece in five parts: the first part is a solo and in the fourth part it is very evident that the second player echoes the first.
Generally, Yamabiko is quite straightforward. 五のハ appears several times, but other than that we only have the basic notes from the lower and upper registers. The catch for me is that I must be careful for when we change register in the middle of a phrase.
One thing to note is that in the solo portion, there is a repeated チ and ヒ sequence in which the pair is repeated by alternating holes #1 and #4. During practice, I merely hit hole #4, but that is not quite right.
My next lesson will be on 2 December. A shorter interval than usual, but that is because I will be on holiday overseas within a fortnight.
After concentrating on Honshirabe for the past few lessons, this one was a change: the pieces were scattered among Sakura, Chugoku Chiho Lullaby, Kojo no Tsuki, Takeda Lullaby, Azatoya Yunta, and Yamabiko (Mountain Echo).
When I played Sakura by myself, I did not quite get the well known melody that I expected. There was always something off, and it turns out that this was mainly because my pitch needed work. For example, my ウ had hole #3 partially shaded. This normally works, but not for Sakura.
Chugoku Chiho Lullaby was interesting in that I noticed that the E natural note appeared a few times. Michael mentioned to me previously that traditional Japanese songs did not use this note. It turns out that the song was from a region close to China, hence the E natural was from Chinese, not Western, influence. The only problem I had with this piece had to do with what Michael called a “dead チ”, i.e., I needed to play it more kari by lowering the bell of the flute to get the right pitch.
Kojo no Tsuki, Takeda Lullaby and Azatoya Yunta were pretty much a breeze. We played the solo part of Yamabiko, i.e., the first two columns. The rest was glossed over by Michael as being rather standard in notes used; a duet with shakuhachi #1’s notation on the right side of each column.
My next lesson is on 25 November!
Truth be told, this was far more than a “flute fun” day. On Saturday, my friend Samantha hosted two other friends of mine for a keyboard + guitar + violin jam session that Audrey and I joined in with her Native American-style flute and my shakuhachi.
Consequently, we played some of the stuff that we wanted the practice, but part of the fun was seeing whether we could harmonise or even join in some of the pieces that the “Western group” were playing.
Towards the end, Samantha lent me a file with scores for some anime related music, included the theme for Princess Mononoke. I’m hoping to either learn enough Western notation to play it by our next flute fun day, or just translate the score to the shakuhachi notation that I know.
This lesson was supposed to have been on Tuesday three weeks ago, but my teacher had a family emergency that week. Sadly, a member of his family passed away.
The lesson itself was a continuation of my lesson on Honshirabe. I went through what I already knew of the piece with Michael, after which he taught me from the sixth line to the end, i.e., the ninth line.
Once again, things to take note of:
So fun! My next lesson will be on 11 November. One catch though: Daylight Savings Time comes into effect for Michael, so my lesson will start at 11:30 p.m. here in Singapore instead of 10:30 p.m.
How time flies. The last Flute Fun jam session was back in April. Unfortunately, Samantha had a stomach upset problem in the afternoon, leaving Audrey and me to jam after dinner.
Oh, dinner. We ate at a hidden gem restaurant called Tuckshop. They have pretty good truffle fries. Audrey ate some ribeye cut into pieces; I ate some clams with bread. Tasty.
I played a YouTube video of Takeda Lullaby over dinner. Audrey insisted that I play it for her to hear, so that’s how I started my share of the flute jam session, moving on to Azatoya Yunta, some of the children’s songs and folk songs, as well as some practice on Honshirabe. Audrey played Amazing Grace on her NAsF, as well as some Native American melodies.
We ended off listening to music that I introduced, namely Kimi o Nosete and Arrietty’s song. Hopefully, we’ll have Flute Fun #4 soon with Samantha around.