December 23, 2017

ある(超難しい)響きについて & I started taking Suona lesson!

image: 碗(it means cup) for Suona

Now I am in Taipei. So cloudy and unexpectedly cold(not as much as Japan off course). To be precise, I am participating in an exchange research residency between ARCUS(Moriya, Japan) and Kuandu Museum(Taipei, Taiwan). Kuandu Museum is located in the north of Taipei near Tamsui. In the northern part of Taipei, there were several Spanish colonies which were then taken by Dutch and later by Chinese, English, Japanese and partly English again... such complex colonial histories are a part of my 17th century research.

The Museum is a part of Taipei National University of Arts. It's up on a hill, 10-15min away from 3 stations but somehow many easy-hikers on weekends. Winds are strong and you have a great view towards the city of Taipei. It means... I am far away from downtown Taipei. Well just an hour or so to be fair.

There are fine art, music, dance, theatre, and new media department. I am staying in the guest house of the university which is in the campus, so I often eat at the student canteen. It makes me feel like I am back in school again. Very proper for research residency environment? but being in school had an advantage in cases like finding a teacher for learning instrument.

I wrote a letter explaining my desire and reasons for learning the instrument to find some people who would be willing to help my search into to the sound of Suona. Soon after my letter was handed to the staff of museum, they passed it to traditional music department in the campus. Luckily one of the graduate student, Chi-yi, found it interesting and contacted the office.

I met to-be-my teacher in the museum office for the first time. There were already several Suona on the table. The instrument has a tiny wooden body called 管 (pipe) and a metal cup 碗 and the reed is rather small for making that massive sound. Seeing it for the first time, it looked well made and yet primitive at the same time.


The curators and staff at the museum were gathered around the table chatting with Chi-yi. It was nice to see them getting interested in the instrument. Although in Tainan and also elsewhere, I feel that the temple and people lives are connected strongly even among young people, the enthusiastic conversation kind of revealed the distance between the "traditional instrument" and people who are not engaged with it.

Musicians of traditional music(include Western traditional music "classical" music) often becomes elite group and at the same time, sometimes, segregated given some "special" tasks to carry out rituals etc. So it is not just the fast pace modern or contemporary urban life and rational(for production) society that separated these music from people but l personally feel the gap or closeness between this type of music and people hints something about the condition of our society. Not quite sure what it reveals but maybe how much extra(but necessary to breath) space it has?

I feel that we all need a space and time that cannot be named. Music may have provided it. Some time-space that refuses any claim and remain unknown. Maybe... and why am I writing this?

image: Chi-yi instructing me how to read and play

Anyway, I started taking Suona lesson. It requires certain amount of breath to produce the sound and to control the pitch. It is so difficult and loud that my ear started ringing after several notes I played.

image: notation for "上管風入松

hope to upload my recording soon! or not...TBA.







-hello is this mamoru?
-ok. TA at the traditional music department contacted us that they found a musician interested in your project and she is in the library now. Are you still sleeping?!
-no no. wow that’s great.
-can you come now?
-sure. in 10min.


-I will be coming to the office in 5 min. Is she already there?
-yes but it’s ok. take your time~


-hi nice to meet you. my name is mamoru
-oh hi, my name is Chi-yi









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