Danso: A Korean Bamboo Flute

I try to play the dansoAny time I’m feeling too smart, all I have to do is try playing the Korean bamboo flute (단소, danso or tanso) to be reminded of what an idiot I truly am.  My brother in law gave me two of them: one of plastic, for practice; and one of real bamboo, for performance.  I can produce a solid flute tone for only five seconds out of ten minutes practice.  The rest is just breathy noise and squeaks.  I keep trying out different positions of lips and flute, searching for the sweet spot.  I have not got the knack of embouchure, but I’ll keep trying.

Some other people have trouble playing this instrument, and like me, they seem to enjoy their trouble:

Further description of the danso, and why many Koreans today are taking it up as a hobby:

I’m sure I will never sound this good:

Two Weeks Later

The Japanese Shakuhachi is a similar instrument, slightly larger and lower in pitch.  I found these Shakuhachi lessons useful, and now I can make real flute sound about 50% of the time.  But the proper embouchure is more taxing on my facial muscles, so I practice only five minutes at a time now.  Relaxing while blowing is a great challenge.


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