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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This area indicates the current tuning (i.e., honchoushi, ni-agi, san-sagi) you’re in.
- This is the uujiru, or top string.
- This is the nakajiru, or middle string.
- This is the miijiru, or bottom string.
- 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. 🙂
- 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. 😉
Here’s additional information on gear you can use to help with your sanshin tuning.
- AW-1 Micro Tuner from Korg — all the cool kids are using it.
- TU-12 Chromatic Tuner from BOSS — the ol’ standby which I’ve owned for over 15 years but used mostly for guitar/bass tuning.
- Pitch Instrument (P-13E) from Tombo — your grandfather’s father’s tuner! Durable, easy to carry around in your pocket.
- iPod from Apple — Me? An Apple fanboy? It’s possible to make an audio file of different pitches and have it on the ready in your iPod. Yes, really. 😉
A reference pic for those who may be wondering what that thing (it’s the AW-1 Micro Tuner from Korg) is on the ‘ten’ of a person’s sanshin. Now you know. 🙂
We’ve been receiving a lot of requests for a video tutorial on tuning your sanshin so here it is: Tuning your sanshin, Part 1.
Download a higher quality of it at Revver.