#21 mukyoku 無曲, new compositions by Shinzen for Taimu shakuhachi.
The Dragon looms large in Eastern mythology, and the reasons are obvious. In fact, serpent figures and imagery appear in every ancient world mythology: Mayan, Kabbalah, Kundalini of the Hindus, and South American shamanism, to name a few. The idea that the serpent figure is a representation or transubstantiation of our vital energy or internal power is just as fascinating as the conjecture that the double serpent of shamanic symbolism is in fact the two strands of our DNA appearing during certain shamanic rituals and medicine work: communications from the maninkari: small, invisible beings who brought us into being and gave us knowledge.
However, this piece is named after a more innocent, child-like vision of dragons---in the same league as unicorns, mermaids, dwarves, and rainbows. It is the closest I came to writing a true "beginner" piece in this series, and the child-like wonder seemed to go along with it. If you can get this piece, new worlds will open up for you on the Taimu. This begins a 4-part series of entry-level mukyoku, #21-24. Like the giant deities from #14, it somehow seems useful to think of giant serpents and dragons when working with the Taimu.
This was the primary impetus for mukyoku: create scores that were mostly just written-out long tones, giving form to long
tone practice with simple melodic direction and shaping. In my experience of honkyoku, Kyorei tends to stand out as a piece in its own category. Taimu are very much crafted to excel at pieces like Kyorei, and I thought this style was fertile territory for some creating, composing, and connecting to the Taimu even more. This piece is the simplest and most restrained of these Long Tone compositions (which is not to say the easiest, necessarily) as each of the other pieces in this category get moving a bit quicker in certain sections. These pieces require a slow pace, the slower the better, and very deep breathing between phrases. The dragon is huge and sleeping: don't wake it up, try and time your movements with its breathing.
The honkyoku piece Echigo Reibo is another piece derived from dragon myth and imagery.
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