Gunnar Jinmei Linder

Notes on
Kinko-ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku

Performance • Techniques

Analysis • Classification • Explanation

English Language

I3 CDs

This English-language volume is a detailed guide for intermediate to advanced students, who wish to thoroughly study Kinko-ryu honkyoku.

The book is divided in two main chapters. The first chapter contains three parts: Part 1: A theoretical discussion of ornaments and their definitions, as well as division of pieces and phrases in smaller units. Part 2: Some remarks about rhythm and notation. Part 3: 55 pages include detailed explanations of the ornamental techniques used in Kinko-ryu honkyoku. There is also a Quick Reference Guide at the end of the book covering the basic terminology used.

The second chapter is one-hundred and twenty-four pages in length and consists of detailed, phrase-by-phrase explanations of ten the Kinko-ryu honkyoku pieces listed below. The book comes with three CDs that include recordings of all ten pieces. There are fold-out scores at the end of the book, made especially for this edition, in beautiful easy-to-read calligraphy. The scores are based on the Miura Kindo notation, but auxiliary explanations and superfluous repetition marks in the original Miura notation have been excluded to make the scores easier to read. Each phrase is numbered in the scores and in the explanations, in order to make it easy to locate a certain phrase. The book is bound with a spiral ring to keep the pages to stay open when playing. The spiral ring also facilitates flipping the pages with one hand. There is an appendix with Fingerings Charts, a Quick Reference Guide to ornaments, and Fold-out Scores for the pieces covered.

Kinko-ryu Honkyoku Pieces

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement by Matsuyama Ryumei
Preface by Christopher Yohmei Blasdel
Forward by Gunnar Jinmei Linder

Note on Japanese Words and Names

Introduction to the Text
About Honkyoku
Schools, Lineages, and Pieces
The Notation
The Recordings
Some Comments About Kinko-ryu Honkyoku
Regarding the Selection of Pieces
Some Central Features of Kinko-ryu Honkyoku

Chapter 1: Ornaments and Structure

Part 1: Ornaments and Definition
The Ornaments
The Ornamented Sounds
Division of a Piece

Part 2: Rhythm and Notation
Lines and Dots: Some Remarks About the Notation
About the Lines in the Notation and Their Absence
About the Dots in the Notation
One Example
Phrases and Rhythm Patterns

Part 3: Ornamental Techniques and Structure
Kinko-ryu and Ornaments
Ornaments and Their Location
1 - Pre-attached Ornaments: Zenpu-kaon 前付加音
1.1 - Preliminary Discussion and Definition of Zenpu-koan
1.2 - Attack: Zenda-on
1.2.1 - Finger-attack: Yubi-atari 指当たり
1.2.1 - Aesthetical Aspects of Oshi and Uchi - Atari Used in the Beginning of a Phrase or Pattern - Zenda-on in Gaikyoku - Zenda-on in Honkyoku - Various Patterns - Movement Between Sounds - Attack Within a Phrase - The Yubi-atari Used for Repetition: Okuri 送り - Okuri in Gaikyoku - Okuri-on in Honkyoku
1.2.2 - Breath-Attack: Iki Atari 息当たり
1.2.3 - Chin-Attack: Ago Atari 顎当たり
1.3 - Pre-added Ornaments: Zenchi-on 前置音
1.4 - Lead-in Ornaments: Zendo-on 前導音
1.5 - Common Sound Constellations: Onku and Onkei 音句と音型
1.5.1 - Idioms (onku) of Zenpu-kaon 前付加音の音句
1.5.2 - Patterns: Onkei 音型

2 - Progressive Tones: Keika-kaon 経過加音
2.1 - Microtonal Ornaments: Bibun-soshokuon 微分装飾音
2.2 - Ornamental Performance Techniques for Lowering the Pitch
2.2.1 - Meri-komi メリ込み
2.2.2 - Ori or Ori-komi 折り・折り込み
2.2.3 - Suri-sage スリ下げ
2.3 - Ornamental Performance Techniques for Raising the Pitch
2.3.1 - Suri-age in Patterns with Ascending Pitch スリ上げ
2.3.2 - Suri-age in Patterns with Descending Pitch スリ上げ
2.4 - Ornamental Performance Techniques to Lower and Raise the Pitch
2.4.1 - Meri-komi Suri-age メリ込みスリ上げ

3 - Post-added Ornaments: Kobi-kaon 後尾加音
3.1 - Ornamental Techniques for Ending a Phrase: Keshi 消し
3.2 - Lowering the Pitch Before Ending It
3.2.1 - Ori-keshi and Tome 折り消し・止め
3.2.2 - Meri-komi no Keshi メリ込みの消し
3.2.3 - Hiki-ne 引き音
3.3 - Raising the Pitch Before Ending It
3.3.1 - Suri-age no Keshi スリ上げの消し
3.3.2 - Meri-komi Suri-age no Keshi メリ込みスリ上げの消し
3.3.3 - Open Holes and Cut Out - Ake no Keshi 明けの消し

4 - Vibrato related Performance Techniques: Yuri ユリ
4.1 - Techniques to Create Yuri: Yoko-yuri, Tate-yuri, Mawashi-yuri, Tsuki-yuri
4.2 - Yuri as Vibrato
4.3. Yuri as Effect Sound: Nayashi ナヤシ, Yuri-komi ユリ込み, Otoshi or Sute-byoshi

Chapter 2: Explanations: Notes on Kinko-ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku

About Performance Conventions and Ornamental Techniques
About the Explanatory Notes and the Notation

Sections on each honkyoku piece include Introduction, General Comments, How to Practice, Detailed Phrase-by-Phrase Explanation of Score

Piece 1 - Hi fu mi Hachi-gaeshi no Shirabe 一二三鉢返調
Piece 2 - Taki-otoshi no Kyoku 瀧落の曲
Piece 3 - Akita Sugagaki 秋田菅垣
Piece 4 - Koro Sugagaki 轉菅垣
Piece 5 - Kyuyshu Reibo 九州鈴慕
Piece 6 - Shizu no Kyoku 志図の曲
Piece 7 - Kyo Reibo 京鈴慕
Piece 8 - Sanya Sugagaki 三谷菅垣
Piece 9 - Sagari-ha no Kyoku 下り葉の曲
Piece 10 - Akebono Sugagaki 曙菅垣

Appendix and Scores

Fingering Charts: Basic Fingerings, Lowered Pitches (meri, ro no o-meri and chu-meri), Third Octave (dai-kan), Some Other Fingerings
Terminology - Quick Reference Guide: Beats, Attacks, Intra-tonal Ornaments, Phrase-ending Ornaments

Scores and 3 CDs of the ten honkyoku pieces covered (Fold-out sheets)

Samples of Notation

Miura Kindō notation (written in 1928–29). "Taki-otoshi no Kyoku" end of Section I, beginning of Section II.


The same part of "Taki-otoshi no Kyoku" from the notation in the book, beautifully calligraphed by Ryōko Satō-Linder.

What People Say About This Book

"Shakuhachi honkyoku appeal to musicians and music lovers around the world due to their simplicity and expression of the all within a single tone: each utterance of sound becomes a microcosm of universal music. Honkyoku, however, come in many styles-some are simple meditations on repetitive tones and others tend toward a higher degree of musical sophistication. Of all the shakuhachi honkyoku, those of the Kinko attain a special musical beauty- through a complicated and highly refined series of ornamentations. Mastery of these honkyoku ornamentations requires years of training in the balance of tone color, timing, volume, fingering and breath control. This training is achievable only through repetition and hands-on learning. Indeed, the normal way one learns these pieces in Japan is to sit at the feet of a master for years, patiently imitating the music and taking in that which is transmitted non-verbally between teacher and student.

"This kind of "silent transmission" can be vastly augmented, however, by a sharp intellect and detailed musical analysis of what is actually going on in the music. Gunnar Jinmei Linder has achieved exactly this with Notes on Kinko-ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku, guiding the reader through a selected number of Kinko-ryu shakuhachi honkyoku. Each phrase and its ornamentation, as learned from Yamaguchi Goro, are carefully analyzed and explained in a step by step description, and the corresponding notation is well marked and made easy to read. Linder also provides recordings of each piece, where one can easily discern the details of the ornamentation.

"Books or recordings will never replace the experience of one on one learning, but in this book Linder, as one of only two foreigners who received a shihan license from Yamaguchi, provides a wealth of knowledge for shakuhachi students, ethnomusicologists and composers' who are trying to appreciate and understand the delicate, refined ornamentations of Yamaguchi's interpretations of the Kinko honkyoku. I cannot think of any other example of such accurate and detailed explanations of honkyoku, and I am certain that this volume will be an important addition to the library of any shakuhachi player or scholar."

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel - Shakuhachi Shihan, Chikumeisha

232 pages PG-23


Gunnar Jinmei Linder began studying with shakuhachi master, Living National Treasure Yamaguchi Goro (1933–1999) in 1985. He has continued within the guild of Yamaguchi-sensei (Chikumeisha). He is a council of the organization, and head of the guild’s European Branch. He graduated with an M.A. from the traditional music conservatoire at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Tokyo Geidai) in 1997, and received his shihan licence in 1998. Linder has been active extensively, both in Japan and other countries, as a performer and teacher, and as a lecturer on shakuhachi and traditional Japanese music.

Gunnar moved back to Sweden in 2005, and continues his shakuhachi activities in Europe. He is also working as lecturer at Stockholm University, Department of Japanese Studies, besides conducting research in the field of Japanese traditional arts.

Learn More About Gunnar Jinmei Linder
Shakuhachi Honktyoku Performance Techniques
Recorded Music
Shakuhachi Teaching Video

Price of Book Ordering Information

Arrow Playing Guides Menu
Arrow Tai Hei Shakuhachi Homepage
Arrow Main Menu