I’m in Japan at the moment, preparing for a shamisen performance tomorrow. Teachers and students of the Kineya Katsu guild have come together in Kyoto to perform an all-day nagauta (Kabuki music) extravaganza at the famous Minami-za Theater. My teacher’s group is playing a piece called Tsuki no Maki. It’s about 17 minutes and involves changing the instrument tuning halfway through the piece. It’s surprising how much more difficult that makes the piece! I’ve spent the last year or so working on it and the last week in Kumamoto cramming, so I think I’m as ready as I can be. Wish me luck!
Archive for June, 2013
I don’t know why we didn’t find this sooner! A surprisingly easy way to create double-strokes… now called the “teko” technique (“fulcrum” in Japanese). By simply moving the rim click hand (left hand in the video — my right hand is using “ryoutan”) over the edge of the drum a bit, one can totter the batchi over the edge, allowing the butt of the batchi to leave the skin for a moment and hit again when the batchi returns upward. It works on tsukeshime, okedo, and nagado… any drum with a roughly horizontal face and no protruding rim (like a snare or uchiwa). Now to find more uses!..
I am involved in the opening of a dedicated taiko school in Torrance called the “Los Angeles Taiko Institute”, to be housed at the new facilities of Asano Taiko US. The store and Institute are set to open at the end of next month and we’re kicking it off with an exciting array of concerts and workshops, including guest artists from Japan and Hawaii, a hands-on intensive that condenses a 12-week LATI course into a fun-filled weekend, lectures on taiko history, a Matsuri Crashers battle, and more! We’ll be performing the debut of “Eau de Squarepusher”, a highly-technical slant drum piece we’ve been working on for the past year or so.
Tickets to the myriad events happening July 26-28 in celebration of the opening of Asano Taiko US and the Los Angeles Taiko Institute are on sale now! I’m terribly excited about all this. Please join us for the opening of the new facility and the start of LATI!
Where to start!? The 134 was difficult for me to wrap my head around at first. I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to feel it, since I don’t do very well trying to count while playing. I spent so much time on that, in fact, that I sort of ran out of time to actually put the solo together and I’m very excited to revisit and revise it here.
If you’re not familiar with it, the 134 is played in 12/8 time. That may sound intimidating, but it’s really just 4/4 where every “beat” is an eighth-note triplet. Still confused? The slow parts of Led Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused should clear it up for you. Go listen =) At first, I had a really tough time understanding how the Matsuri patterns and the triplet fit together, so I hope that explanation helps someone out!
What I found most challenging about developing a solo around the triplet ji is that the tempo remains pretty slow, even at performance speed where you invariably go faster than you practiced everything. Placing those ka’s properly continues to be tough for me and I hope to practice and address this in a future update.
Video and composition released under the Free Art License 1.3.