International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Murasaki Reibo

紫鈴慕

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Chikuho Ryû and Myoan Shinpo Ryû Schools . Also Known As : Murasakino no Kyoku (Tokuyama)?, Shrinpo.

History (Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin):

This piece has been attributed to the great Zen Buddhist monk, Ikkyu Zenji (also popularly known as Ikkyu-san) who lived about 400 years ago. He was known for his great intelligence, and especially for his ability to see the simple, natural way of things.
This piece compares the nature of people and clouds. It is said that the alternating movement and stillness of clouds are truly in the spirit of nature. So too, should people imitate the clouds and know when it is time to move and when it is time to be still.
"Shrinpo" (also known as "Murasaki-Reibo") is a Meian honkyoku from Daitokuji temple in Kyoto. It is played with the intention of creating an overall feeling of peacefulness.

Murasaki Reibo appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Aki no Yugure (Autumn Dusk) Kurahashi Yodo II


Hi Fu Mi Renkei Hashimoto

    Yearning for the Bell (Muraskino version)
    This is a Reibo-version (see above), which the komuso tradition attributes to the famous Zen monk and poet Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481), who lived in the Daitoku-ji temple in the Murasakino area in Kyoto. His eccentric and non-conformist persona - he called himself -crazy cloud- has been the subject of numerous stories and anecdotes in Japan up to today. In a number of his poems, Ikkyu mentions the shakuhachi as something that gives him comfort in his solitude, however, he does not relate the instrument to Zen meditation or to the legendary founder Fuke. It is not clear which shakuhachi Ikkyu played on, perhaps an instrument with only one bamboo node (hitoyogiri).


IN THE MOMENT


Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 05 Jin Nyodo

    Kyoto Myoan-ji: MURASAKI-REIBO

    2-shaku 2-sun
    5 min. 6 sec.

    1. About the title of the piece:

    It is said that this is a piece by the Zen priest Ikkyu, the forty-seventh chief priest of Daitoku-ji in Murasakino, Kyoto. Probably the element Murasaki ("purple") in the title comes from Murasakino ("purple field"). Reibo is one of the various Chinese character representations of that common title for shakuhachi pieces. For more information consult the section (in Reibo in "Commonly Used Titles."

    This is one of the rare examples among classical shakuhachi honkyoku where the name of the composer has been handed down. That it was composed by Ikkyu is an oral tradition: there are no supporting written records. However since the
    collection of Chinese-style poems Kyoun-shu by Zen priests, as well as other materials, make it clear that Ikkyu enjoyed playing the shakuhachi and the hitoyogiri, it would not be impossible to suppose that he did indeed write this piece.

    Leaving aside the issue of Ikkyu's authorship, we can wonder whether in fact this piece dates back well before recent times to an older style of music. That is to say, its straight-forward melodic structure without embellishment, its simple and lucid composition as well as other features give an overall placid feeling not found in more recent times.

    2. Structure of the piece

    It is formed of three dan, the middle of which is a takane using the tone pattern kara-kara. At the opening of the piece, the melody is in the middle tonal range, and throughout the piece the tone shifts from the mid-range to the upper tonal range as its focal point. The rhythm is never sluggish but maintains a distinctive beat so that the mood of the, piece is not at all heavy or somber.

    3. Special features of the piece:

    In the melody of this piece we can feel the kind of nostalgic yearning round in komori-uta (lullabies). Perhaps it is one of the folk melody patterns that the Japanese people have possessed since ancient times. The wandering mood of the piece cannot help but suggest the personality of Ikkyu Wako. Due to the simplicity of the melody and structure, this piece allows the player freedom to respond to his own mood: he can play in any way he feels whether it be light and happy or sad and lonely.

Kyorei Tokuyama Takashi

    This piece takes its name from a district in northern Kyoto, in which the temple of Daitokuji is located. One of Japan's most celebrated Zen priests, Ikkyu, was sent to Daitokuji as a child for his education. Ikkyu was alleged to be the illegitimate son of an emperor, and his mother is said to have been of an anti-Imperial family. Ikkyu's heritage most certainly contributed to his having a discreet upbringing. Nevertheless, we know from Ikkyu's writings that he played the shakuhachi, and indeed, nearly always carried one in his sash. Hence, the strong association of Ikkyu to Murasakino (which incidentally is also the birthplace of the Tozan school of shakuhachi), and this piece is unmistakable in its attempt to convey Ikkyu's spirit of zen. Traditionally, the composition of Murasakino-no-kyoku is attributed it Ikkyu, but this has yet to be substantiated. Ikkyu is also renowned for his poetry and calligraphy; a sample of which illustrates this cd cover.


Makoto Shinjitsu - with a heart of true sincerity Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    (Also known as Shrinpo)

    This piece has been attributed to the great Zen Buddhist monk, Ikkyu Zenji (also popularly known as Ikkyu-san) who lived about 400 years ago. He was known for his great intelligence, and especially for his ability to see the simple, natural way of things. This piece compares the nature of people and clouds. It is said that the alternating movement and stillness of clouds are truly in the spirit of nature. So too, should people imitate the clouds and know when it is time to move and when it is time to be still. "Shirinpo" is a Meian honkyoku from Daitokuji temple in Kyoto. It is played with the intention of creating an overall feeling of peacefulness.

Reibo - In memory of the bell Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    This piece has been attributed to the great Zen Buddhist monk, Ikkyu Zenji (also popularly known as Ikkyu-san) who lived about 400 years ago. He was known for his great intelligence, and especially for his ability to see the simple, natural way of things.
    This piece compares the nature of people and clouds. It is said that the alternating movement and stillness of clouds are truly in the spirit of nature. So too, should people imitate the clouds and know when it is time to move and when it is time to be still.
    "Shrinpo" (also known as "Murasaki-Reibo") is a Meian honkyoku from Daitokuji temple in Kyoto. It is played with the intention of creating an overall feeling of peacefulness.


Searching - Yearning for the Bell Volume 7 Riley Kelly Lee

    The word Reibo (Yearning for the Bell) may be found in more titles of pieces in the shakuhachi honkyoku repertoire than any other word. This is why it has been possible to record a series of seven CDs of honkyoku, all including one or more Reibo pieces, and call the series 'Yearning for the Bell'.

    The legendary 'father' of the honkyoku tradition, Fuke (ca. 9th C. China), did not play shakuhachi, but rang a rei (handbell) instead. To his disciples, Fuke's bell has come to symbolise enlightenment. "Yearning for the Bell" can therefore be defined as 'yearning for enlightenment'. This piece is much shorter than other Reibo pieces. It is believed to have originated in the Murasakino district of old Japan, but has been transmitted throughout Japan through many lineages including Chikuho.

Sui Zen - Blowing Meditation on the Shakuhachi - 01 Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    Oral tradition attributes this piece to the monk, Ikkyu Wako, also called Ikkyu Zenji, or simply Ikkyu-san. Like many famous people, he can be identified by only one name. A great Zen master, he eventually became the 4ih chief priest of Daitokoji Temple in Murasakino, Kyoto. Murasaki means purple. This title comes from Murasakino, the Purple Field area in Kyoto where the temple is located. This area is the birthplace of the Tozan School of shakuhachi.

    There's no written proof that Ikkyu composed this piece. The best written evidence extant is that some the Chinese style poems, called "kyoun-shu," written by Zen priests and from other sources, state that Ikkyu enjoyed playing the hitoyogiri shakuhachi, the short, light form of the flute used in that era.

    Ikkyu lived from 1394 to 1481. Some say he was a son of the emperor and a woman who was a member of an anti-imperial family, and that he was sent away to become a monk to remove him from treacherous court politics and preserve his life. He shunned luxury, preferred poverty, led a wandering life, and refused to take his own temple or even his own disciples. He was a renowned poet and calligrapher, and generally had his flute tucked into his sash wherever he went, and is said to have enjoyed fish, sake and sex.

    Even among Zen monks, who have a history of being strange people, his behavior was considered more than a little outlandish. He finally was prevailed upon to accept the position of 47th abbot when he was in his 80s. He had a legendary wit, and his personality was very wild, erratic and unconventional, and was known for his ability to cut through the "bull" to get to the essential, sometimes earthy, nature of things.

    We have this English translation of one of his most famous poems. This poem includes a pun on the name of the early style of flute that he played, hitoyogiri, "one node cut," which is evoked by the phrase "one night" (hitoyo).

    My shakuhachi
    Has the name of "one night"
    But many nights have passed; it's My friend in old age.

    Kurahashi Yodo related a story about a feast that was given in Ikkyu's honor. This was an elaborate and very formal event. Ikkyu just wanted to come in his usual rags, but he was prevailed upon to dress in a very fancy, special kimono. When he sat down and they put food in front of him, he initially behaved very formally, with stiff correctness, but then took some food and poured it all over his beautiful, expensive kimono, and then said, "OK, Now I'm ready to eat!"

    This piece has a three-dan structure, with a special technique used in the middle takane section, using the tone pattern, kara kara, hitting notes in quick succession. There are several different ways in which to execute this kara kara, but it generally gives a sense of "triplet" notes.

    Kurahashi Yodo taught that Murasaki Reibo referred to kaze, the wind. When the wind blows, the clouds move. When it doesn't, they're still. And it is the spirit of nature to sometimes move and sometimes wait, as the clouds do.

    The piece has a simplicity characteristic of the oldest pieces in the shakuhachi repertoire. Unlike some later Zen pieces, it has a quite placid, light and peaceful, yet rhythmic feeling. You can imagine a monk strolling through the purple fields surrounding the temple. Some nostalgically find it reminiscent of the folk music or peaceful lullabies or komori-uta of the area that Japanese people have possessed since ancient times.

    The wandering mood of the piece suggests the personality of Ikkyu. The simplicity of the melody and structure allows players freedom to respond to their own moods; light and happy or sad and lonely. Playing Murasaki Reibo is valuable for promoting insight into your own nature, since it feels and sounds different at different times, thus accurately reflecting simply being "where you are." You have the freedom to explore different sounds in the kara kara of the takane. Sometimes the reibo (memory of the bell) quality of this piece is very apparent; the kara kara sound like the ringing of a monk's bell. It's played here on a 2.4. The piece has an optional repeat that should be played faster.

Suizen - Chikuho ryu ni miru fuke shakuhachi no keifu - 02 Sakai Chikuho II


The Voice of Bamboo Steven Taizen Casano

World of Zen Music, The - Saji Nakamura Akikazu

    This piece has traditionally been attributed to the Muromachi Period Zen priest Ikkyu (1394-1481), who was himself a master of the shakuhachi and is considered to have laid the foundations for the subsequent development of the komusu and their music. The instrument used in Ikkyu's time was the short end-blown vertical flute known as the hitoyogiri. As well as performing and composing for the instrument, Ikkyu also wrote several verses extolling the merits of the shakuhachi such as the following:

    Shakuhachi wa
    Hitoyo to koso
    Omoishi ni
    Ikuyo ka oi no
    Tomo to narikemu

    This shakuhachi of mine
    May well bear the name
    'Single Night'
    But now that many nights have passed
    It has become the companion of my old age

    The piece employs a complex scale combination based on the miyako-bushi (with C as the starting pitch, a pentatonic scale consisting of the pitches C, D flat, F, G, A flat) and min’yo (again with C as the starting pitch, a pentatonic scale consisting of the pitches C, E flat, F, G, B flat) scales. An intriguing musical atmosphere is created by the use of different scales in ascending and descending forms.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017