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Let's play "Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si(Ti) Do" in C major!

The shakuhachi used here is 1.8 (D) tube_5holes.

Here, Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do represent the relative pitches (movable Do).

Two major schools of Shakuhachi: KINKO-school and TOZAN-school may have different name of fingerling called for the same pitch.

The first octave

Figures for fingering and pitch of shakuhachi(C-major scale First octave)

Figure1: Fingering chart for the first octave in the C Major Scale

C4 means the fourth C key from left on a standard 88-key piano keyboard (Middle C)

The fifth note of the basic five notes is called «Ri» in the KINKO school and «Ha» in the TOZAN school. Although the names of the fingering are different, the pitches are the same. Regardless of the length (key) of the instrument, the range from «Ro»: Tsutsune-tone (the lowest note produced with all five holes closed and without MERI/KARI) to «Ri/Ha» is called OTSU.

Do (C4) This note is outside the range of the 1.8 tube (D_tube). In fact, the ICHI-on MERI technic (Whole Tone MERI: lowering the pitch by whole tone) can be used to lower D to C4. However this note is a rather special sound and is not used much except for playing classical pieces (especially the HONKYOKU). It is also probably quite time consuming to learn this note. For more information on how to play the HONKYOKU, refer to the DVD "THE SHAKUHACHI for BEGINNERS narrated in six languages".

Re (D) → «Ro»: Tsutsune (the lowest note produced with all five holes closed and without MERI/KARI) 。First note of the basic five tones.

Mi (E) → «Tsu _ChuMeri» (KINKO) / «Tsu_Meri» (TOZAN): This note is not included in the basic 5 notes. You make it by closing 1/2 on hole no.1. You do a little MERU at the same time the hole is 1/2 closed. This is a Half tone MERI (F♭=E) of «Tsu» (F).

Fa (F) → «Tsu»: Second note of the basic five-notes.

Sol (G)→ «Re»: Third note of the basic five-notes.

La (A)→ «Chi»: Forth note of the basic five-notes.

Si (B)→ «Ri_ChuMeri» (KINKO) «Ha_Meri» (TOZAN): Not included in the basic five notes. You make it by closing 1/2 on hole no.4. You slightly do MERU at the same time the hole is half closed. This is Half tone MERI (C♭=B) of «Ri/Ha» (C).

The second octave

Figures for fingering and pitch of shakuhachi(C-major scale Second octave)

Figure2: Fingering chart for the second octave in the C Major Scale

In the KINKO school, the note one octave above the «Ri» is called «Hi».

Regardless of the length (key) of the instrument, the range from «Ro» as one octave above the Tsutsune to «Hi/Ha» is called KAN.

Do (C5)→ «Hi» (KINKO) / «Ha» (TOZAN) 

From Re (D) to Si (B) → Fingerings are the same as for the first octave. With the same fingering, a note one octave higher can be produced if the flow of the breath is faster than when playing in the OTSU range. In the KINKO school, the note (fingering) one octave above «Ri_ChuMeri» is called «Hi_ChuMeri».

The third octave

Figures for fingering and pitch of shakuhachi(C-major scale Third octave)

Figure3: Fingering chart for the third octave in the C Major Scale

Regardless of the length (key) of the instrument, the range above «Gono_Ha» (KINKO) /«Pi» (the note two octaves above Tsutsune) is called the TAIKAN. When playing the range TAIKAN, the highest note that can be used in practice is usually «Re_Taikan». There are other ways to achieve even higher tones, but they are omitted here.

Do (C6) → «Hi» (KINKO) / «Ha» (TOZAN).

Re (D) → «Gono_Ha» (KINKO) / «Pi» (TOZAN). Do MERU with no.5 hole slightly open to produce a steady sound. The pitch is two octaves above Tsutsune.

Mi (E) → «Shino_Ha» (KINKO)  «Shi» (TOZAN).

Fa (F) → «Tsu_Taikan» If you play the TAIKAN range with the «Tsu» fingering, the 1.8 tube will naturally sound a half tone higher pitch: F-sharp instead of F.

Sol (G) → «Re_Taikan» This note can be produced by blowing even faster than when playing in the KAN range, however some instruments may have difficulty producing this note.

Next step

Once you have confirmed the C major scale, next try to play a key other than C major.

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