International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 02

Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 02

Jin Nyodo
Teichiku - XL-70135

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1   Kokû (Nezasa Ha) 虚空 (根笹) 14'15 Jin Nyodo

Nezasa-ha: SHIRABE - KOKU

2-shaku 3-sun
14 min. 13 sec.

1. About the title:

This piece is recorded with the piece Shirabe attached as a prelude (zenso) in accordance with Nezasa-ha tradition. Please consult the sections "Commonly Used Titles" and Nezasa-ha: Shirabe regarding Shirabe, and the sections "Commonly Used Titles" and "The Three Traditional Pieces" regarding Koku.

2. Structure of the piece:

It is divided broadly into two sections: a zendan ("before" dan) and kodan ("after" dan). It is one of the longest pieces in Nezasa-ha, and as it is so long one would naturally expect it to have the general Nezasa-ha structure of [(Shirabe - Honte) - (Takane) (Hachigaeshi) - (Musubi)]. However the piece gives a somewhat exceptional impression since it has the binary structure of [Honte (Zendan) - Takane (Kodan)].

Moreover, the whole piece has a rather back-and-forth, swaying tone (especially in the zendan), and there is very little of the jo-ha-kyu development generally found in the honkyoku of Tohoku lineage which includes Nezasa-ha.

3. Special features of the piece:

In terms of melody, two particular melodic patterns occur repeatedly. One is the pattern utilizing "koro-koro"; the other consists of lowering the jaw from the position of o-kari to o-meri linking the two in a curving melody. This melodic pattern is unique to this piece, even in Nezasa-ha. It is repeated four times in RO in the Honte, three times in KG and two times in RO in the Takane giving a strong individuality to this piece.

The sentiment in the piece is one of mystery and meditation. In Nezasa-ha it is the last piece learned in the "oku-no-kyoku".
2   Sagari Ha Urajoshi 下り葉 (裏調子) 04'16 Jin Nyodo

Nezasa-ha: SHIRABE-SAGARIHA (Urajoshi)

2-shaku 1-sun
4 min. 12 sec.

1. About the title:

The same as Nezasa-ha: Shirabe and Nezasa-ha: Sagariha.

2. Structure of the piece

The same as Nezasa-ha: Shirabe and Nezasa-ha: Sagariha.

3. Special features of the piece:

Within the ten pieces of the Nezasa-ha there were originally four tunings (choshi) apart from hon-joshi. These are Akebono (dawn), Kumoi (sky), Yugure (twilight), and Taikyoku (?). Collectively they are referred to as ura-joshi and are played in ensemble with hon-joshi. (However on this recording we find a solo performance.)

The ura-joshi of the three pieces included on this recording (Shirabe, Sagariha, and Matsukaze) is in each case Akebono-joshi. Instead of the 1.8 flute o: hon-joshi a 1.3 flute is used; likewise a 1.5 flute replaces a 2-shaku flute. That is to say, the flute used is a full four steps higher than in hon-joshi.

The skeleton of the melody is identical with hon-joshi but there is more detailed fingering to the articulation (kizami) of the tones than in hon-joshi, so that compared with the latter ura-joshi is more rhythmical and unconstrained and hence more emotional.

When ura-joshi is played in ensemble with hon-joshi, the custom is for the senior or more skilled musician to play ura-joshi. This entwining of the two choshi gives an even richer texture to the piece.

When ura-joshi is played alone it differs from hon-joshi in its more sorrowfully subtle quality. On this recording Shirabe is followed by Sagariha in close succession.
3   Matsukaze Urajoshi 松風 (裏調子) 05'39 Jin Nyodo

Nezasa-ha: MATSUKAZE (Urajoshi)

5 min. 36 sec.

1. About the title:

The same as Nezasa-ha Matsukaze.

2. Structure of the piece

The same as Nezasa-ha Matsukaze.

3. Special features of the piece:

Please refer to the section on Nezasa-ha Shirabe / Sagariha (Urajoshi).
4   Daiwagaku 大和楽 03'07 Jin Nyodo

Jin Nyodo Shokyoku: DAIWAGAKU

1-shaku 8-sun
3 min. 3 sec.

1. About the title:

Jin Nyodo composed this piece in 1941 (16 Showa). The term shokyoku was coined especially by Jin Nyodo and is based on the concept that "good music can not be created through the intentions of a single individual". Rather the creative process of the universe manifests itself momentarily in one human being so that the piece is not composed (sakkyoku) but is born (shokyoku).

The title derives from the ancient teaching "good manners are the beginning of heaven; music (gaku) is the harmony (wa) of heaven." For further discussion of the piece see the separate article "The Musical Lineage of Jin Nyodo".

2. Structure of the piece

The piece shifts gradually from the lower register to the upper, then returns to the lower and concludes. This structure is like a gently rounded mountain, and is similar in format to that of Shirabe.

3. Special features of the piece:

The composer has said that it was written as a basic instructional piece for shakuhachi, and that as in the iroha (syllabary) Poem of Kobo Daishi all the basic sounds are utilized and their arrangement is endowed with symbolic meaning. For more specifics please consult "The Musical Lineage of Jin Nyodo," but as a rough guide the piece compares and contrasts the transitions found in human life, time and the seasons.

Throughout this piece, the technique called kyosui is used. Kyosui is a playing method without yuri or komi where the breath is blown in calmly and evenly and allowed to fade away naturally. The playing techniques of each school of honkyoku can be summarized under the five types: kyosui, kusabibuki, yuribuki, sasabuki, and komibuki. Because of its natural quality, kyosui is the first step to proper playing, but in fact it is a quite difficult technique to master. In this sense kyosui can be seen as both a basis of shakuhachi as well as its highest attainment. The fact that this basic instructional piece is permeated with kyosui, demonstrates the great importance that Jin Nyodo's thought placed on this particular technique.
5   Rokudan (Ikkan Ryu) 六段 08'36 Jin Nyodo

Ikkan-ryu: ROKUDAN

1-shaku 7-sun
8 min. 33 sec.

1. About the title:

This piece is known either as Ikkan-ryu Rokudan or Nagashi Rokudan. The melody of the piece Rokudan was adapted for komuso shakuhachi and in the process altered to the free rhythmic structure of shakuhachi honkyoku. The form handed down by Jin Nyodo is that of the Nezasa-ha and is played as komibuki.

The following is a traditional story about this piece: The seventeenth abbot of Rantei-in in Hirosaki, Tessan Yoshiki (died 14 Tempo, 1843) inherited this piece as the disciple of Miyaji Ikkan. However, he would not teach the piece to anyone or play it in another person's presence. Ban Yasuyuki asked to be taught the piece but was not granted his request. So over and over again, late at night, he would sneak into the temple cemetery and listen in secret to the abbot's playing. In three years time he was able to grasp the first four dan, (some say three), but his memorization was cut short by the abbot's death.

Although this is an Ikkan-ryu piece, there does not seem to be any direct transmission of this work in the Kanto area.

2. Structure of the piece

Even though it is called Rokudan (six steps) there are in fact only three dan.

3. Special features of the piece:

Although it generally follows the exact melody of the koto piece Rokudan, ornamental tone patterns typical of shakuhachi honkyoku are added throughout. Tetra chords of the melody (yo'onkai) are mixed in and phrasing and rhythm are freely altered in the manner of shakuhachi honkyoku to the extent that the feeling of the piece is quite different from the original.

Because it is played as komibuki in the particular style of the Nezasa-ha, it has an unconstrained feeling quite similar to the ura-joshi of Shirabe, Sagariha and Matsukaze.

Even though the Jin family actually possesses an old notation b()ok (date unclear) giving four dan for this piece, Jin Nyodo played three dan exclusively throughout his life; so this recording only goes through the third dan. We do not clearly understand why he did not play the fourth dan, but we can surmise that the interest of the piece diminishes sharply after the third dan.
6   San'ya (Echigo) 三谷 (越後) 10'25 Jin Nyodo

Echigo-Myoanji: SAN'YA

2-shaku 1-sun
10 min. 22 sec.

1. About the title:

Please consult the section on "Commonly Used Titles." This piece is called Echigo-San'ya because it was passed down through the Myoan Temple in Echigo (Present-day Niigata Prefecture).

Myoanji in Echigo was constructed in the Tokugawa Period by the lord of Echigo-Muramatsu in the castle town of that name. Later it was relocated to Shimoda, south of the city of Sanjo. This temple held to the principle of ichi-ji: ichi-ritsu (one temple: one melody = only one piece should be passed down as the legacy of each temple), so that this piece was the only one played; however, Reibo was also taught as a junkyoku ("associated piece").

Jin Nyodo inherited this piece from Saikawa Baio.

2. Structure of the piece

It is constructed in the manner of Tohoku-style honkyoku: [Takeshirabe - Honte - Takane - Hachigaeshi - Musubi]. It has a clearly defined jo-ha-kyu structure, and the whole piece has a flowing rhythmical sense.

Takeshirabe This is a fairly long introductory section in the RO-range first octave). The highly dynamic yuri-buki used in the opening melody increases the strong emotional and rhythmic impression of this piece. The entire takeshirabe is played with this meandering, winding yuri-buki. In particular there are nine spots where emphatic yuri-buki is utilized, and three places where strong nayashi is employed (nayashi = a technique where shaking the head accents certain tones). The melodic forms linked to these techniques add greatly to the emotional impression of this piece.

Honte: A high-pitched section in the KO-range (second octave). Two melodic patterns are played, each filled with the infinite sadness characteristic of this piece. Takane It begins with a takane melody typical of Tohoku--style honkyoku' (i.e. a melody centering on the KO-no-hi and ha tones), and continues the characteristic melodic pattern already mentioned in the honte, a pattern which conveys an acute sense of yearning. This melody is gradually modified and repeated three times.

Hachigaeshi At this point the mood shifts and from the summit of sorrow there begins a melody which includes a feeling of resignation. After the large "mountain" of the takane, this is a smaller rise in a lower register.

Musubi Again the piece returns to the lower range. However, the overall tone is a little higher than that of the takeshirabe, so that we feel a little "afterglow" from the mood of the takane and hachigaeshi. At the same time the characteristic technique of yuri-buki found in the takeshirabe reappears, so that as we feel a return toward the opening section, the piece ends in a mood of mysterious darkness.

3. Special features of the piece:

Among the numerous San'ya pieces, this one is quite prominent. Musically, its structure and development are remarkable, as is its smoothly flowing rhythmical progression in the midst of extreme emotionalism.
7   Mujunshin Kyoku 無住心曲 08'31 Jin Nyodo

Jin Nyodo Shokyoku: MUJUSHIN-KYOKU

2-shaku 3-sun
8 min. 30 sec.

1. About the Title:

This composition was born at the time of Jin Nyodo's trip to mainland China in 12 Showa (1937). Jin Nyodo himself did not regard this as a "composition," but rather called it a shokyoku ("born piece") -- a sort of transcription of a work that emerged naturally by itself. The title derives from a passage in the Diamond Sutra: "Just at the point when one has no place to dwell (muju), such a spirit (shin) is born. For more details regarding the development of this piece please see the article "Jin Nyodo's Musical Lineage -- From his own Writings" which contains a section on "Sakkyoku (composition) and Shokyoku."

2. Structure of the piece:

It has the balanced kisho-denketsu structure (a four-part structure characteristic of classical Chinese verse): [Ki (shirabe) - Sho (honte) - Ten (takane) - Ketsu]. This is a structure that pervades honkyoku of the Tohoku style.

Shirabe - It starts quietly with kyosui playing in a low tone. In the second melody the playing technique called tsuzumi-buki, which is unique to this piece, is utilized. In this method of playing, the melody is blown forcefully; then in the middle of the phrase the tone is weakened as if (echoing) in the interior of a tsuzumi (drum). Then again the breath is blown more strongly. This was a new technique introduced by Jin Nyodo and is used frequently throughout this piece with the result that it lends a uniquely strong dynamic effect to the flow of the composition.

Next, the melody climbs to the middle range with gentle yuri-buki. It ends quietly after descending again to the lower range.

Honte This section begins with resonant blowing in the Ko-no-re tone. The melody which follows is characteristic of this piece in its gentle flow and abundant emotional quality. After this melody is repeated, there is a section forcefully played in the mid-range and rich in modulation.

Takane It begins in a strong Ko-no-re tone, proceeds to a beautiful melody focusing on the hi and ha tones then moves again to the upper range. A soft re-tone in Dai-ko (third octave) leads to the most emotional point. Just then, like a flow bursting through a dam, a melody occurs filled with an infinite sense of sorrow and desolation. This takane then reoccurs once as a kaeshi (return) with some alteration in expression by means of tamane.

Musubi One of the melodies from the honte is repeated in the middle of the Ro-range (first octave), and the piece ends tranquilly.

3. Special features of the piece:

The composition could be said to arise from elements that Jin Nyodo received from classical honkyoku and let crystallize. Uramoto Setcho evaluates it as "the work of Jin Nyodo's lifetime." This may remind us of the Fuke Sect saying: "One temple = one melody." In each of the Fuke temples, there was a tradition that in each temple only one piece was handed down as its seikyoku (true piece). Probably it was felt that in the case of outstanding classical honkyoku, one piece was capable of containing infinitely deep emotion. A composition that could contain such varied mental states was called ichiritsu (one melody). This piece could be called Jin Nyodo's one melody.
8   Nagashi Reibo 流鈴慕 10'32 Jin Nyodo

9   Matsukaze (Nezasa Ha) 松風 (根笹) 05'48 Jin Nyodo

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018