Shakuhachi: Features, price, and history of this ethnic musical instrument


The shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese musical instrument. The origin of “shakuhachi” goes back to the Nara period. The oldest surviving shakuhachi is that of the six-hole three-section house in the Shosoin Temple of Todaiji Temple. The shakuhachi, which is also popular with foreigners, is an air lead instrument that produces sound with the vortex of the airflow created by hitting the air from the mouth against the airflow port of the instrument, and is in the same category as the flute and quena. It is said that the influential theory as the origin of the shakuhachi was devised by the Tang dynasty, and was introduced to Japan at the end of the 7th century.


This instrument was born and made in Japan. It was also used in gagaku, and since the Edo period, the shaku was played in ensembles with the koto, shamisen, and other instruments. It is said that there are many styles. Depending on the era, it is also called hotchiku.

About the price

According to information, prices range from around 80,000 yen to over 500,000 yen. When starting out, many people buy a set of sheet music. You can add changes to your songs with the unique pipes. It has undergone unique changes since ancient times, and has evolved and become popular in various regions, so there are many players. It is long and spacious inside. Generally, it is played in ensembles with Japanese instruments such as the koto at temples. It was introduced as a Japanese recorder from the Edo period and has been passed down from generation to generation, and is used in a variety of genres.

History of shakuhachi

It is said that the influential theory as the origin of the shakuhachi was devised by the Tang dynasty, and was introduced to Japan at the end of the 7th century. It seems that the origin of the name comes from the fact that the standard length is one shakuhachi. The shakuhachi at that time had 6 holes and was stored in Shosoin. When it was introduced to Japan, it was introduced as an elegant musical instrument, but it was no longer used during the Heian period. After that, Komuso appeared and created the Fuke-shu. As a legal instrument, Shakuhachi was supposed to be played only by the void priest belonging to the Fuka sect. The shakuhachi that was blown by the void priest is called “Fukai shakuhachi”, and it has become a modern shape that uses the roots of bamboo. The shakuhachi can be divided into “Kotoko style” and “Tozan style”.

Features of shakuhachi

The shakuhachi is made using the root of bamboo called Matake, which grows naturally in Japan. After removing the oil from the cut bamboo and drying it for nearly 10 years, the bamboo material is finally completed, and full-scale shakuhachi production begins. The shape of the bamboo material is adjusted, the knots are removed, and the length is adjusted for molding. Among the air lead instruments, the shakuhachi has a particularly calm astringency and depth, or the tone is glossy and stretchy, and it can be said that it can express the individuality of the artist who plays it. To make the shakuhachi sound, blow on the sharp and thin “singing mouth” to make the sound. The instrument classification according to how the sound is produced is classified as “air lead instrument”, and the same group includes Quena in South America, Shinobue and flute that blow sideways. As a finger playing method, you can not only fully open and close the finger hole, but also change the pitch and tone by opening it slightly or holding your finger over the finger hole. This makes it possible to express not only the 12 scales defined in Western music, but also the subtle pitches and timbres that fill the gaps. As a method of playing the neck, it can be said that the method of moving the neck horizontally or vertically is characteristic. If you shake your head sideways, the strength of the breath that hits the singing mouth will be increased or weakened, and you can vibrato. As for how to play the breath, you can change the tone by blowing on the part that makes the sound.

Shakuhachi song

Since the shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese instrument, you can often listen to it in traditional Japanese music. You can also listen to it on TV, dramas, and movies.


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