1. Basic Notes
  2. Breathing
  3. First Tune
  4. Meri/Kari
  5. Chin Meri Type

Other Info

Lesson 4

Chin Meri Type

The second meri type is the chin rising/lowering kari/meri.

This is probably the most important technique one must learn to make tunes sound right, and beautifully. It is done simply by tilting the chin softly up (for kari) or down (for meri). To understand levels, you should experiment!

Lower and rise your chin slowly, until you note a slight sound change. When you are close to a limit where you blow, but no sound is made, you are in Dai level (although dai kari is not used very often, dai meri has very important uses). Also, you may experience a little loss of the original sound in the beginning. You can find the original sound position again, by playing a quick scale of ro, tsu, re, chi, ri, chi, re, tsu, ro.

The chin meri type is very important for Honkyoku tunes. One specific technique is called Yuri (which means: to make waves, or to drift), where you quickly go to dai meri and return, one or several times. Yuri is fundamental for every song in higher levels.

You can use both meri techniques to play a single note. The best example is the tsu no dai meri mentioned in the previous lesson. It is quite troublesome to consistently open 1/3 of a hole, so, players often lower the chin and open a little of the hole, adjusting the sound to perform a perfect tsu no dai meri.


The following exercise is for getting used to dai meri:

Play ro, and get down slowly to dai meri position, which is about one note lower than normal ro. On the 1.8 shakuhachi, ro is Re/D, so ro no dai meri is Do/C.

When you get used to the position, play a ro and rapidly go to dai meri, sustaining the note until your limit. Because meri/kari notes needs more power to be heard, this is a good exercise for gaining power.

When you get used to ro dai meri, other meri notes will be a cinch to do.