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» Upper Octave

slimbutmedium   


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Post #1

Hi guys
I've been reading lots about the upper octave but still confused.
I understand that breathe and embrouche are important but one video I watched the guy said the thumb hole is for the upper octave, im struggling to get into this octave at all but will all holes closed I can just about manage it then soon as I open another hole it drops back to other octave.
Could someone please please enlighten me.
Thanks


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Rick McDaniel   


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Post #2

The thumb hole can assist with the upper octave, but it actually is an extended note, and the use of it for upper octave notes, is more of an assist, than a method.

You still need really good knowledge of your flute, and really good breath control and embouchure control for the upper octave. Some flute only get there, with perfect playing technique.

Try cracking the thumb hole only, for the highest 2 notes. You will not get more notes, just cleaner ones. The NAF is limited to about 3 notes above the octave. I have seen no more. Only embouchure flutes get full upper octave notes, and the technique required for that, is also a higher skill level.


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slimbutmedium   


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Post #3

Ok thanks mate
Yep definitely a big learning curve, im awaiting delivery of a lovely Shakuhachi from Steve Shepard but practicing on a pvc one atm
Between this practice its nice to pick up one of my NAF's for a break lol


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Rick L   


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Post #4

Not sure if you are referring to the second octave (kan) or third octave (dai kan). Dai kan has a lot more differences in fingering than the other octaves, often involving the thumb, and also more potential differences from flute to flute.

Perhaps the best advice I've gotten about upper octaves is to learn to play them relaxed. Takes lots for practice for me to be able to do that, but the results in tonality and consistency are well worth it. Check out the advice here on dai kan, but I think it applies to kan just as well upper octave advice.

Enjoy your Shepard shakuhachi, he made my first one, great value.


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Brother Cavefish   


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Post #5

on a NAF there really is not much of a second octave , my flutes can do around 4 notes, , which is great compared to others i have tried , but it will be nothing like a low whistle with complete 2nd octave and a third hitting whale sounds


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gregshaku   


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Post #6

A tighter embouchure is what is definitely needed with shak. When you get it, play long tones. One note per breath to give you practice. It takes time and effort but it is worth it.

This post has been edited by gregshaku: Nov 28 2014, 01:08 PM
Attached File(s)
Attached File  upper_octave.mp3 ( 1.2MB ) Number of downloads: 19
 


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gregshaku   


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Post #7

QUOTE(gregshaku @ Nov 28 2014, 01:00 PM) *
A tighter embouchure is what is definitely needed with shak. When you get it, play long tones. One note per breath to give you practice. It takes time and effort but it is worth it.


AS you heard , for my flute, the last two upper notes needed to be coaxed into playing by closing the bottom hole. For my flute this makes these notes play easier. Plus I need to practice more. sad.gif


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Yu-Jin   


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Post #8

You can play both upper and lower octaves using 4 holes only.
Here's a quick unprocessed ( dry.gif ) recording I did. I played both octaves and Ro dai kan (first note of the 3rd octave) with #5 hole closed. Just embouchure
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Attached File  Shaku_Scale.mp3 ( 1.05MB ) Number of downloads: 11
 


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Geoffrey   


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Post #9

An additional factor is the aspect ratio of the flute you are playing. You say that your flute is PVC. What is the inside bore diameter and what is the key of the flute? Is it the equivalent of a 1.8?

If you are playing a 1.8 (key of D) shakuhachi made from PVC, there will be some difference between a 3/4" bore vs. something larger. If the inner bore is 3/4", it will play the second octave more easily. If the inner bore is 7/8", 1", etc. it will not be quite as responsive. It's a subtle difference, but it certainly is part of the picture.

The overwhelmingly most important factor, as others have mentioned here, is embouchure development. If you are new to this type of instrument, remember that you are building up your facial muscles, and it involves "going to the gym" every day.

I've been learning to play the Irish flute in the style of the ITM (Irish traditional music) players. They favor an approach that creates a very reedy "honking" sort of tone. I've been playing various embouchure flutes for the last 8 years, but this is requiring me to make that trip to the gym every day for about an hour :-) To get that tone, the embouchure has to be tremendously powerful and focused. The more I develop it, the easier everything becomes, including the second octave.

My shakuhachi playing has improved dramatically as a result of these exercises.


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DaveNY   


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Post #10

What is happening when you move from the lower register to the upper register, on any flute or wind instrument is that you are increasing the velocity of the air by decreasing the aperature of the embochure. Think about what happens when you fill a balloon and let the air out, the more you squeeze the end, it makes the aperature smaller, the tone gets higher, and due to the smaller aperature, the velocity of the air quickens. Hence the balloon (your mouth cavity) retains more air as a reserve until it's time to come out. Samething with any flute, because no matter what flute you are playing your splitting an edge. Doesn't matter if it's veritcal or horizontal. Vertical flutes ie wide like a shakuachi or small like a quena, or small round holes like a Dizi requiring more accuracy and more narrow airstream or bigger like a Boehm flute. As one plays higher or softer less air is leaving the mouth cavity and the speed at which the air is leaving is quickened. Lower or louder tones require a wider aperture.

Moving from the 1st octave to the 2nd octave, you should exert no extra energy, or force. People will try to bob their heads, exert more pressure, change the angle of the flute etc.. It is a matter of subtle movements of the aperture and jaw.

A couple of things you can try and it's really good to focus only on two notes. All notes closed, bottom register and practice jumping easily and effortlessly to the upper register by being aware of subtle jaw movements. YOu might be able to see any wind player make these movements where as they move to the upper register or louder, they move the jaw forward. Important, not up. And as they drop to the lower register, they move the jaw back, not down. Try it without an instrument and you notice that when you move the jaw back slightly (all these are subtle movements that by the law of physics have to happen) you are opening the aperture. It also changes the air stream direction, the relative lip tension, and the openness or closedness of throat. I doubt anybody thinks of all these things when it becomes natural but the complex interconnectedness of bone, muscle and fascae all respond in this manner with very subtle movements.

It's alot of words but all you have to practice are small movements. Don't try blowing your brains out and eventually the jump between the lower octave and the upper octave is a matter of minute movements.

One other thing you might want to be aware of is that your tongue will change positions. Low notes will be the shape of Ahhh, and then it will rise as you go higher to the eee position. If you just do this, you might find that the jaw movement will happen anyway. Trumpet and other brass instruments are able to produce a lip trill or shake without movements of fingers only using these same exact subtle movements.


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slimbutmedium   


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Post #11

Thanks for the replies smile.gif
I now have a 1.9 Bamboo Shakuhachi from SP Shepard so will be practising on this from now on as the hole reach is a bit easier.
I'll persevere with the embrouche


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gregshaku   


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Post #12

Yes, Practice,practice,practice. I have put my flute down for a while and it shows. Its like running if you stop you lose your stamina.


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