Searched Again on Karakui: Tuning Your Sanshin


Looks like there are still a lot of you who are finding us through a search for learning to tune your sanshin. We posted an entry about a neat little freeware app called Sankichi-kun at the beginning of the month. The only thing is that the app is in Japanese so here’s a quickie explanation chart for the app (note that you’re looking at the Mac OS X version).

Sankichi-kun English Explanation Chart
  1. Tuning for Sankichi-kun is in the key of C which may be a tad too high of a pitch for most people. I usually practice in C but we’ll often perform in B and sometimes lower (A#, A) for female singers. This is the default, or “honchoushi”, tuning for sanshin.
  2. Click on this karakui to tune in “ni-agi” (ni-age in Japanese language), the raising of your 2nd (middle, nakajiru) string. You’ll find this particular type of tuning on koten ongaku (classical music) songs.
  3. Click on this karakui to tune in “san-sagi” (san-sage in Japanese language), the lowering of your 3rd (bottom, miijiru) string. We use this a lot on minyou (folk, shima uta) songs.
  4. This area indicates the current tuning (i.e., honchoushi, ni-agi, san-sagi) you’re in.
  5. This is the uujiru, or top string.
  6. This is the nakajiru, or middle string.
  7. This is the miijiru, or bottom string.
  8. This is a view of the available notes you can fool around with. For tuning purposes, you’ll be clicking on the notes at the top (合 ai, 四 shi, 工 kou) which are your open strings. With these notes, you can play “Asadoya Yunta” among other songs. Pretty neat. 🙂
  9. These buttons at the bottom of Sankichi-kun are extras. Clicking the one on the left-hand side will “take you to the beach” and clicking it again will “take you back home”. The button in the middle will quit the app. The pull-down button on the right-hand side has pre-set tunes you can practice with or just enjoy listening to.

This basically explains Sankichi-kun but if you have any other questions feel free to email me at karakuipress[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a comment on this post. Maybe I’ll upload a video of my tuning of the sanshin in the near future. 😉

I decided that this post deserves its own Page. You’ll find the link to our Pages at the top right-hand area of Karakui.

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2 thoughts on “Searched Again on Karakui: Tuning Your Sanshin

  1. @Alif Muhammad: Highest sanshin players normally tune to is C-F-C and sometimes up to D. On the low side and especially for female singers, I’ve gone down to A.

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