Note: This is the rest of this piece. I’m not sure how helpful this approach is, so I thought I’d try something else next time. Perhaps it would work just as well to record the whole honkyoku piece. Then one can just play as much or as little of it as needed. On the other hand, I can see the utility of breaking a piece down into manageable parts. The experiment continues…
The Honkyoku Experiment
Every now and then I’ll post a section of honkyoku. My guess is that breaking honkyoku down into bite size parts may help some at the beginning of this journey… or not. This is an experiment, after all! Naturally, I eagerly welcome all constructive criticism, as long as it doesn’t suggest I play ‘better’. (: -)
The Tao of Blowing Zen feels like a good name for this experiment in teaching / learning honkyoku. Zen, or 禅 chán in Chinese, literally means prolonged and intense contemplation. It translates in Sanskrit to dhyana, which in Hindu and Buddhist practice means profound meditation that is the penultimate stage of yoga. Well this is awfully ‘loaded’, if you know what I mean. A Taoist perspective can lighten the load.
Not being a purist, bringing Tao back into the picture helps temper Zen ideality. At least Tao, or 道 dào in Chinese, translates humbly to road, way, path, etc. Traveling this road of honkyoku feels doable if all I’m doing is blowing and paying attention, or to paraphrase the Taoist Doing without doing, blowing without blowing! I’ll leave the penultimate stage of yoga to the enlightened Illuminati(1)
(1) It helps to take penultimate ideals with a grain of salt, for as chapter 65 of the Tao Te Ching points out,
Play it by ear?
Maybe presenting honkyoku this way will facilitate a play-by-ear approach. Playing by ear is truly the way to go, at least with ‘normal’ music I’ve found. Alas, I’m not musically talented enough to accomplish that with honkyoku, or perhaps I just don’t pay enough overall attention. Considering the nature of honkyoku, I’m not sure how important that is either… I’ll leave that for you to decide.