Tags: koto


state of the cat

Brief update.

I bought a super expensive lawn mower. I also bought a "better" gas can (which isn't here yet.)

I have successfully failed at quiting taiko (more to come later on that.) Though part of it is I will be playing Black Ships again. Time will also tell on what that actually means.

I've started the doodles back up again (should be an update soon.)

I switched to soprano sax in school of honk (skipped last week, though) and got the sax repaired (the guy was supposed to give me a quote, but just did the work, so I spent more than I wanted.) I'm still struggling with the sax some. I will be selling my marching quints, which is sad. If they could only be lighter!

I made a "musical doodle" which was also an experiment in making a track and then syncing the video to the track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e3hNYKFhvw

I reinstalled my laptop from 32-bit to 64-bit so I can run the android studio. I wanted to treat myself to a slick new laptop, but couldn't find any indication if ubuntu would work on it or not.

I ran out of steam for experimenting with dairy free ice cream flavors. This may mean that "empty pasture" flavor may never come to be.

In early June I had a very bad (and first) koto gig that made me reevaluate the difference between what I want and what I can get. I am waffling on selling my harp.

And for no reason, here is a video of a bird screaming into a cup. (it's cuter than it sounds.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsfOGJ5lZg
koto bridges

I love my koto

I inadvertently got a koto gig, so I've been practicing my koto.

I've discovered that I love my koto and I'm not giving it up.

I want to make or buy and electric koto.
koto bridges

Good bye koto :(

I had my very last koto lesson today. My teacher is moving to LA and social pressures are such that I want to put my energies into an instrument that is less controversial for a white person to perform.

My teacher was great, very patient. I got to perform after her rock band, Ten, a few years back, which was amazing getting to see us both perform. She often tours with people I know from taiko.

We played the song that I had been working on. I still can play it front to back, but our last run through was my best, and really fun. It's a piece called Okoto which had a wonderful mix of old and new influences. We had a little bit of time left, so at my request, she dug out the second to last song we had played and ended with that, which I really love that song. I loved that my last lesson was basically the privilege of playing duets with her. When I didn't throw off the flow, it was really really happy to hear the lovely music coming out of what we were playing.

She pointed out that it had been about 4 years. She thought I had learned very fast, where I thought I had learned slowly because I started out with half lessons and never really had enough time to practice, so I thank her for the compliment.

Also very appreciate to the koto academy for bringing my teacher up from New York City every month. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity.

I don't think I'll have the stomach to sell my koto for a little while. I really love the instrument for a variety of reasons.

I am really hoping this Korean company, http://www.supersoundintl.com/, that's making fiber carbon gayageum starts it's production run soon, so I can get me one of those and still have expressiveness of the transverse plucked harp mixed with the instrument being weird enough to have little attachment to cultural tradition. Though they seem much more focused on promoting their band right now, than getting the instruments produced and sold, which makes me fear the cost of production was much higher than the CEO was hoping.
koto bridges

koto lesson

i had my first koto lesson. I got several bits of notation, which is the thing I'm most starving for. That and basic technique. It's a good thing I know kanji numbers because anytime I hit the last three strings (To I Kin) I was lost because didn't know the kanji for them.

I feel like I should make an enlgish notation page for anyone else like me who don't have access to a teacher.

There was a bit of a language barrier, but she had a little translator bo for the words she didn't know and I have a pretty good understanding of things by just being shown.

I wasn't sure I could afford $50 a month for lessons, but they said I could do a half hour instead, which does seem with in the budget.
koto bridges

adventures in koto!

After researching which of my special bridges should go where (never really got a good answer, but I have some good guesses) and making sure all the strings were the same tension (thank goodness for a tuning peg koto so I can do it myself.) I got the bridges in the right place for one of the many standard tunings and I'm thrilled! Since you can get the accidentals, you tune it so that all the notes are "valid" so anything you play sounds really awesome and Japanese. I picked out Sakura easily and with no problem. Plus the song book that came with it has sakura, so now I can backwards engineer the music a little bit.

I found some damage and I'm not sure if I did it or if was there to start with. It's just a bridge dent.
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cello white

Adventures in musical instrument addiction

So I didn't drive 3 hours to Vermont and 3 hours back. Instead I drove to a dark alley in the middle of nowhere a bright, sunlit park-n-ride lot in the middle of New Hampshire. We set up the koto with a few bridges in the back of my car so I could hear it, counted out the cash and drove off. If the day hadn't been beautiful and sunny, it would have felt like buying a koto off the back of a van.

Pictures will come. First I need breakfast/lunch.

Oh, and I'll be selling my electric/acoustic guitar to make up both the financial and space hit.

EDIT: also, I successfully webstalked the seller on facebook before hand. Which is a little creepy.
taiko fue

my visit to the koto academy

So since I'm planning on getting a koto, I went to observe a class at the koto academy. the lesson was in Japanese, but I didn't mind. I can learn a lot from watching. The teacher was a real pleasure to watch. She was so natural and elegant. The student was very good as well and they played a lovely duet together (stopping on the parts that the student was having trouble with.) It was a pleasure to just listen to them.

When it was over, she showed me some basics. I was very shy since I'd just observed the class and the borrowed picks didn't fit very well on my fingers.

Afterwords the owner of the academy asked if we had met before. He did seem familiar, so I said, "likely." And then he asked if I knew Marco. Which, yes I do. So apparently local Japanese music community is small enough. The teacher had also met some one from ONE, my best guess being Mark.

The teacher was also very pleasantly surprised that I could read kanji numbers.

As I was leaving they were also getting out some shamisen. I didn't think to ask if they gave sanshin lessons.

Now I just have to find money for a few lessons.
cello white

possible solution to the koto desire

I just found this Chinese instrument, the guqin:

It's super sexy, sounds very much like a koto, is a bit smaller and is very affordable, in comparison. The only drawback is it's not Japanese, but that's ok.

I will have to ponder on this, especially since I want to save budget for my trip to LA in august, but... drool.
cello white

It's my journal and I can poll if I want to: more koto

I'm still hung up on the koto harp. Since koto-man let me down and didn't come back to Boston before he sold it after a month of playing with me, I have to now consider my other options. The chinese version, which is clearly not Japanese and has many more strings, is much cheaper. The authentic Japanese versions are sort of more than I should be spending on yet another instrument that I won't actually master. However, my hope would be to get good enough to perform it as a filler between set changes at an ONE show, so authenticity is worth something to me. Plus the Japanese ones are just prettier looking.

Harping on the issue...

get the cheaper chinese version and see how far you get with learning the style.
Get the Japanese version because maybe even if it's not useful to you, someone else in ONE can use it if it's completely authentic and it's not like the instrument looses value, though it might be very hard to sell, given the small market.
I'm clicking this, even though I know when you get obessed with something, it doesn't matter how many people tell you, "don't buy that," but really, don't buy yet another instrument. Go practice one you already own!

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