In Which the Sound Contemplates Your Existence

from Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom by Cornelius Boots - Solo Shakuhachi 尺八



#24 mukyoku 無曲, new compositions by Shinzen for Taimu shakuhachi

A companion piece to #23, this is the final, short entry-level mukyoku in this series (#21-24). What seems at first to be a kind of clever or nonsensical title has, in fact, been a useful guide at slowing down my breathing, filling the flute and stretching my perspective on the sounds to hear myself from their perspective, so to speak. We spend so much of our time on the flutes directing our thought and energy one direction: out and down the flute. So much effort, focus, frustration, joy and discovery move in that direction that it is easy to forget that the physics at work inside the flute actually require the flute to "breathe" back at us. The air column that is in motion to create the sound we hear extends from just beyond the end of the flute, all the way back up the flute, back into your mouth, throat, lungs, nasal passages and sinuses. Getting this larger, more unified picture of the vibrating air column can help us refine and manipulate the small, focused air stream that sets it in motion. I'm not sure, but I feel like if I knew anything about it, there might be an appropriate golf analogy–or at least a Zen archery analogy–that could be inserted here.

Musical Details:
Spending more time in kan (upper register), this piece is not as easy as it first appears. It also demonstrates the evolution from Long Tone to
Chant as the melodic phrases expand from one- and two-note groupings with sustains, to 4, 5 and eventually 9-note phrases which end with a sustained tone. The contemplative, very-full-breaths-between-phrases approach should be in full effect on this piece, and the tempo will vary significantly depending on the phrase-length/breath capacity of the player (or depending on day-to-day changes).


from Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom, released December 21, 2013
Cornelius 深禅 Boots, 2.9 Taimu shakuhachi




Cornelius Boots - Solo Shakuhachi 尺八 San Francisco, California

Avant Nature Music. Bamboo Gospel & Buddhist Blues: from hymns to heavy metal. New music for standard & bass (Taimu) shakuhachi, the robust woodwind of Japan.

Cornelius Boots is a leading creative shakuhachi composer-performer, active internationally in woodwinds since 1990. A Shihan (master) in the lineage of Watazumido and ex-orchestral/rock bass clarinetist, jazz guy and bandleader.
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