Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Description of Watazumi in Loori (2004)

Quotes from Loori, J. D. (2004). The Zen of creativity: Cultivating your artistic life. New York: Random House.

Doso didn’t use the highly polished lacquered and well-tuned flutes…. His flute was much less processed and far closer to its natural state. The inside of the section he used still revealed the bamboo guts. Most people, even experienced masters, considered that kind of instrument unplayable. Doso’s music proved that wrong. His playing always touched the very core of one’s being. Sometimes the sound had a tremendous strength, like the driving force of a cascading waterfall. Sometimes it roared like thunder. At other times it was gentle and sweet like birdsong at sunrise. It always seemed to reach me, but not through my ears: It entered my body through the base of my spine, moved upward, and spread through my being. (pp. 171–173)

the ability to be free in his music was the result of Doso’s life-long, unrelenting commitment to the discipline of the breath. He actually wasn’t very interested in the shakuhachi as a musical instrument. He called his flute suijo, which loosely translates as “concentrated breathing tool.” Doso saw himself not so much as a musician or entertainer, but as one who is totally devoted to developing his life force—chi [ki]—by utilizing and strengthening his breath. The bamboo flute was simply a tool for that practice. He said once, “Since I must have some way of knowing how my breath is doing, I blow into a piece of bamboo and hear how it sounds.” (p. 173)

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