Hotchiku

Name: Hotchiku.
Type: Notched > Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: Hotchiku [in Japanese Kanji 法竹 Hiragana ほっちく, meaning “bamboo of the dharma”; lit. “dharma bamboo”]. It is sometimes romanized as hocchiku or hochiku, is a Japanese end-blown aerophone, crafted from root sections of bamboo.

Features: Older Komuso and Myoan shakuhachi also share this trait, though unlike Hotchiku they usually have an inlaid blowing edge. This property, along with the un-lacquered bore, results in a rough and breathy timbre. Because of its extremely natural construction, the hotchiku is commonly used for suizen 吹禅 or blowing Zen meditation.

Playing Techniques: Playing traditional honkyoku would only be attempted by highly technically skilled shakuhachi musicians since the blowing and fingering techniques required for honkyoku have to be altered considerably. Hotchiku are a played solo and are not accompanied by other instruments. So they are not tuned to any standardized musical scale.

Construction: After cleaning and sanding, the heavy root end of the bamboo stalk reveals many small circular knots where the roots formerly joined the stalk. The same part of the bamboo plant is also used to produce the shakuhachi but, unlike the shakuhachi, internal bore of the hotchiku and external surfaces are left un-lacquered. Inlays are not used in the mouthpiece. The membranes at the nodes inside a hotchiku bore are generally left more intact than those of a shakuhachi, though older komuso shakuhachi also share this trait.

Citations: Hotchiku website [in Japanese] with pictures ;

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