Taki Otoshi (Taki Ochi)

Taki Ochi 滝落

Cascading Waterfall Piece

The word ‘waterfall’ in Japanese is taki. As with many honkyoku, there are many versions of this piece. Here are some different interpretations / inspirations.

This is a colorful honkyoku composed at the Ryugen-ji kumoso temple, situated at the base of the Asahi Waterfall. It is located south of Izu Ohito, and was famous as a great waterfall that is clearly depicted in the music’s three varying sections. (Kurahashi Yodo II)

The spirit of this song is as simple as the title. Become a waterfall! Maybe a grand waterfall with the huge sound of water crashing down on rocks and flowing in a wild rage. Perhaps a small stream running down the mountain quietly, sometimes swiftly and sometimes slowly, bouncing off small rocks and hugging slimy green shadows to merge with another stream.
It is necessary to practice playing this piece at a quick pace so that you can develop a smooth technique and also to help bypass any “thinking”. One should play this song over and over so it feels and flows out naturally. Its tempo and rhythm are the main aspects to focus on. (Taniguchi Yoshinobu)

Starting from slow current over rocks in the mountain, the water goes through many small waterfalls. Gradually increasing the water amount and the speed, it reaches to Takane representing Ootaki (great waterfall) in the second half. The piece is consisted of a mixture of straight and curved lines describing the flexible movement of water. (Zenyoji Keisuke)

One is often overwhelmed by the presence of water in Japan. The Izu Peninsula is renown for not only its incomparable beauty, but also for its many onsen (hot springs) and waterfalls. One such waterfall, the Asahi falls located behind the temple of Ryujenji, was the inspiration for Takiochi. The structure of the piece reflects the spirit of water as a small quiet spring, a raging torrent, and finally the calm of a river as it empties into an estuary. (Tokuyama Takashi)

In life, there are happy moments, and painful ones. This is compared to the process through which a small brook widens to become a river, and eventually reaches the ocean. (Fujiyoshi Etsuzan)

This famous classical honkyoku is in the Japanese tradition of art that portrays the spirit of nature. It portrays a waterfall that grows in three sections from two meandering, trickling streams to a strong torrent, and eventually empties into a larger body and finds repose. When playing it, one can become the waterfall.
The first section introduces the feeling of two small burbling, laughing streams; the second section repeats the first half of the first section, giving a sense of increased excitement…in speed and force until it becomes a “white water” cascade. The third section, played strongly in the high range, portrays the greatest force. At the end, the music conveys the peaceful union with a large strong body of water.
There also is a Kinko Ryu piece called Takioshi or “waterfall” that has many melodies in common and coinciding structural points, but a different mood. It appears to have been taken from a koto piece, Takitoshi, which also means waterfall, upon which these shakuhachi versions are based. (Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin)

Source: The International Shakuhachi Society (www.komuso.com)

Practice recording:


Hélène Seiyu Codjo

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