"Tsure - re - "
The very first - and
most essential - step
into the sound sphere
of Myōan Shakuhachi
Ozawa Seizan - 1977
Myōan Taizan-ha Shakuhachi Theory & Notation
Hifumi-chō - Myōan Taizan-ha Fuke Shakuhachi Tradition
If your computer loud speakers are turned on while this web page is open you'll be listening to the late Myōan Taizan-ha kanshu Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin's
version of "Hifumi-chō", recorded and presented to me on a (somewhat poorly recorded) cassette tape in Autumn 1977 (re the notation to the right).
The recording was digitalized by Danish audio engineer Bent Hulsrøj, Bent Hulsrøj/BH Audio, Denmark.
- - -
"A basket-trap is for catching fish,
but when one has got the fish,
one need think no more about the basket.
A foot-trap is for catching hares;
but when one has got the hare,
one need think no more about the trap.
Words are for holding ideas,
but when one has got the idea,
one need no longer think about the words.
If only I could find someone who has stopped thinking
about words and could have him with me to talk to!"
By Chuang Tzu, c. 369 - c. 286 B.C. - one of the most prominent exponents of classical Chinese Taoism. Trsl. by Fung Yu-lan
in: "A Short History of Chinese Philosophy", 1968, pp. 12-13.
Analogously, such is also the case with the symbols of music notation - in my own interpretation:
Symbols of music are for holding sounds.
Once you've grasped the essence of those sounds,
you need no longer think about, nor concern yourself with the symbols ...
The music of the Myōan Shakuhachi tradition is notated in the socalled kata-kana syllabary of Japanese writing:
Representing successions of sound events, the kata-kana symbols are written and read downwards from top, right - quite simple, indeed - and aesthetically pleasing, too.
Here follow, by way of example, small-scale reproductions of the six Myōan Shakuhachi pieces recorded on the album "Standing Waves" in 1983, calligraphed by my teacher Ozawa Seizan of the Kyōto Myōan-ji through 1977-78:
Hachi-gaëshi no Kyoku - Hi-fu-mi Chō - Chōshi
San-ya no Kyoku
Kyūshū Reibo - Shizu no Kyoku
"The symbol serves to express an idea,
By Tao-sheng, died A.D. 434 - one of the central figures in early Chinese Buddhism. Trsl. by Fung Yu-lan
and is to be discarded once the idea has been understood.
Words serve to explain thoughts,
and ought to be silenced once the thoughts have been absorbed ...
It is only those who can grasp the fish and discard the fishing net
that are qualified to seek the truth."
in: "A Short History of Chinese Philosophy", 1968, p. 253.