EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Finding Rules in Shakuhachi Timbre and Applying Them to Structure Music: Composition for shakuhachi and live electronics ‘Kaze no Michi’ (Wind Way)

Hiromi Ishii



PDF - 2.8 Mb
Download the paper


In shakuhachi solo music honkyoku of Kinko-style, a player uses various timbral expression. It is likely that the enormously wide range of timbral expression of the shakuhachi would not have been imported from the continent at the same time as the instrument, but must have been developed through the period during which the shakuhachi was used as a religious tool. Through the interview with shakuhachi master Ernst. G. Linder, the fact that the shakuhachi has several timbral qualities was revealed. The examples of shakuhachi tones explained by Linder were examined from the viewpoint of acoustic sound quality in order to apply the sound aesthetics of the shakuhachi to structure the live electronic piece Kaze no Michi. In this piece the shakuhachi part follows the ‘history’ of timbral development mentioned. The computer part is not an extension of the instrument, but is rather designed as ‘environment’. The functions for sound processing are planned referring to the parameters of timbral change in the shakuhachi sound mentioned. The paper presents the ways of analysis and structure of the piece.