First, here is the PDF of these two honkyoku: HiFuMi & Akebono
*** Play them by heart ***
I wrote this post as a duet to attempt. That is rather difficult to accomplish given the need for 2 very different length shakuhachi. A much more useful way to use these two honkyoku lies in how learning either one of them by heart can make learning the other one by heart almost automatic, i.e., they share the same structure, the same melody, so to speak.
*** Or play them as a duet ***
Note that both pieces, HiFuMi & Akebono, are arranged side by side. HiFuMi is right and Akebono is left, with a line dividing each set of pairs.
Akebono’s tonal relationships are almost identical with Hifumi’s, at least what there is of them. Akebono is somewhat shorter as it lacks a comparable section toward the end of Hifumi.
What I did was add a section to Akabono so that it contains the same number of tones as Hifumi. I also added the relevant squiggly pitch raising or lowering marks to match Hifumi. (Note: You can of course play the standard Akebono along with a truncated Hifumi. Just leave out section of Hifumi that matches the part I added to Akebono.)
I also had to stretched out Hifumi’s notation to get it to match up with Akebono’s. I found this surprisingly helpful in its own right. It puts more ‘space’ in Hifumi’s notation. The utility of this lies in how it affords seeing it from another angle, so to speak. Now, that’s not as ‘good’ as playing by ear, but it does loosen things a bit. Adding space to the notation may even help notice it more, which should help play it by ear a bit more.
Any size shakuhachi will work here. All you need to is make sure the one playing the Akebono part is 5 half tones (i.e., 5 sun) ‘above’ Hifumi. For example, playing Hifumi with a 1.8 ( a shaku hachi, or literally a 1 shaku 8 sun long flute) means you need to play Akebono with a 1.3, which is 5 sun above Hifumi. A good 1.3 is hard to find and probably hard to play. Here are other options:
Hifumi 1.8 Akebono 1.3
Hifumi 2.0 Akebono 1.5
Hifumi 2.1 Akebono 1.6 (probably most optimal)
Hifumi 2.3 Akebono 1.8
Hifumi 2.6 Akebono 2.0
Soon, I’ll video this, either in parts or whole.
For now, print HiFuMi & Akebono and try it out. If you have any questions about this, please ask.