Limitation, exploration, and play.
RETRANSLATED is the practical component of my Doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London. The project seeks to explore and develop timbral possibilities provided to the flautist by the Kingma system flute through a series of three phases, each more open than the last:
i) Transcription- This opening phase places the most limitations upon the exploration of sound as I aim for as close a recreation of recorded shakuhachi performances as possible. Each sound must be carefully understood in terms of sonic activity and timbre, often also considering the physical attributes that create that sound. Once understood, careful and methodological exploration on the Kingma System allowed a recreation of these sounds.
ii) Re-interpretation- The second phase opened up the limitations placed upon me by allowing a slightly larger arena in which to play and explore how the sounds and fingerings learned in the transcription process can be applied to the performance of extant repertoire that explicitly references the shakuhachi. This process allowed me to be creative in the manipulations of learned sounds to fit an already given musical context and highlights how the Kingma System offers more possibilities than the closed-hole Böhm flute in the creation of shakuhachi inspired sounds.
iii) Re-translation- The final phase opens the playing field wide open as I work with composers to create new repertoire. This process allows the composers to place their own limitations on my exploration, leading to focussed work on specific sounds and techniques as appropriate to the new musical context in which they are being placed. These limitations set by composer can be both exceptionally restrictive or liberatingly open, both approaches encouraged me to develop sounds and fingerings, thus improving my own understanding and practice.