shruti box

Spring / Summer Program Taiwan

Check out all the activities for the coming months and scroll down for details.

 

Shruti Nights

four  dates 4 Tuesday evenings in March, April, May, June

Concerts with Hans de Back’s

Thursday April 8 (at his place), Thursday June 17 (at Canjune)

Ocean of Voices

2,5 days in Puli/Nantou, May 15-17

Dulan concert

Night before the retreat (Friday June 11)

Dulan Voice Yoga Retreat

Saturday June 12  / 10AM – Tuesday June 15  / 1 PM

Concerts YiWoYu

June 26, Hsinchu, evening, August and September, Taipei

 

As always, there are ongoing weekly Voice Yoga classes you can always join.

Please check with us first as some weeks are cancelled or in another location.

 

THE DETAILS PER EVENT

 

Shruti Nights XV, XVI, …

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Learn to free your voice using a simple drone instrument.
A series of four classes, starting the first or second Tuesday of the month.

The aim of these four sessions is to learn to improvise melodies with the shruti box. Every month we will take a close look at something else. In most classes there will be all kinds of structural vocal exercises to build up your skills, some structural improvising and some free explorations of your very own musicality.

Watch a video of Mark playing shruti box here:
https://youtu.be/BhiMamcPuMw?t=1519

FOR WHOM:
– people who recently bought a shruti box from Mark
– others who already have a shruti box and want to learn more
– others who want to learn to sing better with a drone instrument
– since the aim is to sing melodies, it is preferable if you can keep a tone. If you cannot hold tones (or you are ‘tone-deaf’, to use a terrible expression), you can still join in most of the program, but for some exercises as a passive participant.

WHAT YOU NEED
You can bring your own shruti box but it is not absolutely necessary, we always have several pieces on hand.
If you consider to buy an instrument but not sure what you need, and you join four classes, you can try one out at home between two consecutive classes.

DATES & TIMES

Four Tuesday evenings from 19:00 – 21:15.

Exact dates: May 2021: 11, 18, 25, June: 1

Theme:

Inventing motives, using scales and timbres

we will take a close look at creating new thematic material: how to find or invent new motifs on the spot? How to create variations in rhythm? What possibilities does timbre offer for improvising?

More in general, we will focus on timing, phrasing, using drones, scales and intervals, and alternating parts between voice(s) and shruti(s). With demo’s, exercises and your own explorations we will hear and see that vocal improvisations with a drone make you a better musician and sound explorer.

Though still aimed at shruti box players, others, with or without shruti box, are welcome too.

Next June series: June: 8, 22, 29, July: 6

Theme: t.b.a

July/August Series: July: 13, 20, 27, August: 3

 Theme: t.b.a

https://www.facebook.com/Paraphony/posts/2291937537604481

Language: English with Chinese translation.

 

PRICE

Regular: 4 lessons 4000 NT$

Discount: 4 lessons 3600 NT$. Those who bought (or buy) a shruti box from Mark, (old) Resonance students/ Shruti Night regulars (more than 6 months) / Student Identity Card holders and seniors (bring your ID) (請出示學生證).

 

REGISTER & INFO

In Mandarin: starysky1017@gmail.com

In English: mark@fusica.nl / Facebook / Phone 09 103 827 49

 

PAYMENT

Payment upon registration by bank or Paypal.

Bank information:

Bank code: 822.

Name of bank: China Trust

Beneficiary: Mark Christiaan van Tongeren

Account number: 163540306745

Make sure to send an email after your payment. We will confirm reception in a few days time.

AVAILABLE NOW! NEW SHRUTI BOXES !!

After a long wait because of Covid 19, our supplier in India finally sent a new batch of shruti boxes, which has just arrived.

The shruti box can be used for all kinds of purposes: playing for yourself or with others, learning more about musical structure and harmony, or free play.

 

 

 

Concerts with Hans de Back

Watch a fragment of our 2020 Butterfly concert here.

Hear us close-by at Hans’ place (April 8) or at Canjune’s (June 17).

Details through Una:  unakao at yahoo . com . tw

 

 

Dulan: Voice Yoga Summer Retreat

Saturday June 12 – Tuesday June 15

Once again the successful Voice Yoga Retreat. Read more about the previous retreats by clicking on the link below:

First Voice Yoga Retreat (full report)

 

In Voice Yoga’s dynamic group process, students go beyond their own habits and expectations. Often, something larger than ourselves emerges: a flow of hidden creative potential. We work with all kinds of sounds without meaning, without emphasizing a beautiful voice. They help us to get beyond common subject-object and mind-body dualities, and bring our unconscious selves and irrational emotions to the surface. The group process becomes a mirror for the self and allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside.

“this is better than sex” (comment by one student)

Designed and taught by Mark van Tongeren, a Dutch sound explorer with a deep interest in the synergy of arts, sciences and contemplative traditions. Mark has 25 years of experience in theatre, music and dance productions and holds a PhD from Leiden University’s Academy of Creative of Performing Arts.

 

 

 

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VOICE YOGA Summer Retreat
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In Voice Yoga’s dynamic group process, you go beyond your habits and expectations. Something larger than yourself emerges: a flow of hidden creative potential.
Grounded in physical exercise such as yoga, we work with all kinds of sounds without meaning, without emphasizing a beautiful voice. They help us to get beyond common subject-object and mind-body dualities, and bring our unconscious selves and irrational emotions to the surface. The group process becomes a mirror for the self and allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside.
BACKGROUNDS
Mark’s Voice Yoga runs for over 8 years and brings together three decades of creative, vocal expression, yogic discipline and contemplative traditions.
Voice Yoga is neither yoga as you see all around you, or music as you hear it every day. It is a personal, artistic synthesis of a wide range of musical, resonant, theatrical, contemplative and physical arts. What binds them together is Mark’s unique synthesis and his vision to create a strong sense of flow, no matter what the activity is. Serious workouts smoothly blend with unforgettable (and unrepeatable!) musical creations, deep breath work morphs into contact improv and vocal exercises into absurdistic theatre.
This retreat will give you a big boost, whether you are a musician, dancer, yoga teacher, actor, or just interested in working on your personal growth through the connections between sound, body and mind. No problem if you’ve never done yoga before!
VOICE YOGA SUMMER RETREAT: FOR WHOM?
Anyone can attend, no experience with yoga or music is necessary. Making sounds and learning about the connections between sound and movement, tones and physical vibrations, and not yoga per se, are the main purpose of this retreat. We are working to create an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance. We make sure people of different levels of physical, mental, musical and other development feel supported and encouraged to grow and explore. We do our best to accommodate the program to the different levels of the participants and let you decide to skip or tone down certain exercises when you feel they are too demanding.
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DATES & TIMES

Details coming soon….
PLACE
We hold our sessions in Shufang’s Energy Healing, a gorgeous new yoga studio in Dulan, Taidong, isolated from nearby properties so we can make any sound we need to make. The studio has all utilities we need and is fully air-conditioned of course. There is a big lawn outside for musical workouts in fresh air, giant rocks to repose, and a few shady places.
Have a look here!:

https://www.facebook.com/shufang.energyhealing/
LODGING
Several comfortable options nearby in Dulan, different prices, some at walking distance.
OUR TEAM
This workshop is brought to you by Mark van Tongeren, Sunny Chen (translator) and Jackal Mei (general manager), and hosted by Shufang Wang.
For any questions about the contents in English ask Mark, in Chinese, ask Sunny or Jackal.
For registration, lodging and food details ask Jackal.
(contact info below)
YOUR TEACHER
Mark van Tongeren is a Dutch sound explorer with a deep interest in the synergy of arts, sciences and contemplative traditions. Mark has over 25 years of experience in theatre, music and dance productions and holds a PhD from Leiden University’s Academy of Creative of Performing Arts. He practices yoga for some twenty years and all kinds of voice/music/performance practices for 30 years.
Read more details below or check out www.fusica.nl.

PRICES

Details coming soon….

CONTACT INFO:

JACKAL MEI:
Phone: 0936596910
Mail jackallala@gmail.com
LINE: Jackallala
SUNNY CHEN
Phone: 0912024285
Mail ly.sunny.chen@gmail.com
LINE: soleilc77
Mark, in English only:
mark@fusica.nl
Phone 0910382749
LINE: 0910382749
TESTIMONIALS
“I felt many sounds inside me first time and I felt there is an inner space inside my body. That was an very powerful experience for me. The body wasn’t what I knew before. I felt peace when you sang… I do have a lot of fun when you want us imitate your voice… Every time when we make sounds together I feel I am decomposing and putting every part of me in one again. ”
– Judith
” Your class shows me the magic of breath and voice. This makes my inner child very happy. ”
– Nancy
” I enjoyed the class very much today. You had everyone engaged and creatively expressed as well as discharging and recharging well. ”
– Tina
” More than ever, it brings back my childhood so I can play again. ”
– Kovida
” Your class shows me the magic of breath and voice. This makes my inner child very happy. ”
– Nancy
” Voice Yoga helps me feel lighter. ”
– Jennifer
” I enjoy a lot and feel relaxed, this is a special course for me. ”
– Judy
” This is better than sex! ”
– Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world is not for beholding; it is made for hearing.

Jacques Attali, Noise, 1977

 

  

 

Shruti Box (af)fairs

This year I joined the Forest Fair and a World Music Fesival Fair in Taipei, and soon there is a Shruti Box Market coming up here in Taipei (details at the bottom): time for a little background story how I got into this. Scroll down for details of the Shruti Box Sale and Shruti Nights workshops coming up in December.

How I got shruti’d

Sometime in the early 2000s I got my first shruti box. It was brought to me from India on my request by my good friend Horst Timmers, aka DJ mpsPilot. At that time it was not tremendously popular, least of all in India, where everybody started switching to elecronic shruti boxes instead of the wooden thing. But I wanted something to accompany myself and others for singing and playing. Horst got me a fantastic instrument, that has done remarkably well for almost twenty years now without problems.

I love things handmade with a personal touch. When I compare mine to other shruti boxes it is quite different. Most shruti boxes you see now are rather flat with levers to select the tones on the side. They are on a panel that actually moves all the time you play it because it is part of the bellows. The one he got for me is more box-like, which it means it is more stable when standing up. The broader space on top is used for four round, turnable buttons, with three notes for each button. The flat type shows levers arranged like a neat piano scale on the side, and is indeed tuned chromatically like a piano: each next note is a semitone higher. If you like you can open as many levers as you like, all thirteen of them even, though usually two or three is more than enough. The box-type, on the contrary, allows for a selection of at most four notes, one for each turning knob. My first instrument features several double or even triple notes: the exact same note can be chose can be chosen by several knobs. When you chose to open, say, two A’s at the same time you get a nice phasing sound – an effect I really like and one that is very important in many traditions in South East Asia (see all the horns blown in pairs by Buddhist monks, for example).

BOX / FLAT TYPE SHRUTI BOX

After so many people asking me about my shruti box, I decided it was time to go to India and find more of them. For my students, and also in the case I might ever need a new one myself. Here in Taiwan they are hard to get by, and to ship them from Europe back to Asia did not seem to be a smart idea.

Finding new shruti boxes in India

In 2017 I went to South India, as plans to go to the North stranded for various reasons. I ended up finding the maker you see on the photo: he carried on the tradition from his father who had been making shruti boxes for decades. The qualities differed quite a bit and wasn’t tiptop altogether, but I was happy to find this same model I had been using for so many years, with the buttons on top. His note-layout was also different from what I had, more organised than my somewhat messy and perhaps quirky arrangement of pitches.

 

 

I decided to set out to get other models still through other means. That proved to be an interesting and risky adventure: the first batch of shruti boxes never arrived: the owner of the reputed company of instrument makers in North India was the target of cybercriminals who relayed the comunication, and I was the victim in terms of loss. I almost gave up but then decided to push it through.That was not an easy path either. I was carefull enough to get caught up in another fraud, but it turned out that a substantial part of every delivery of shruti boxes was unsellable because one or more tones were kaput: breathy tones, de-tuned notes, funny sounds, or just air without a sound at all. Yet I was eager to get my students into singing with shruti boxes and here in Taiwan there are no reliable import channels, it seems, so I pushed on.

So since this year I am selling  many types of shruti boxes here in Taiwan, mostly to people who joined my workshops. And sometimes it works the other way around, people are charmed by this simple musical tool and then join my monthly Shruti Nights workshop. As I  have tried to lay my hands on different types, the boxes now come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, colours, tunings, and qualities.

 

Repairing shruti boxes

With another market coming up and so many broken pieces, I decided it was time to see which of the broken shruti boxes could be fixed. I asked the help of one student-friend who bought two  instruments from me, an engineer who immediately took his box apart when he bought it in 2018. Yesterday we sat down to check them one by one, and found out what mistakes were made, how different they were depending on the brand, and what we could do about it. It was great fun, really, to spend a day learning about the mechanisms, and we managed to repair the majority of them.

Some basics

WHAT IS A SHRUTI BOX?

Although of Indian origin, the shruti box is now used for almost any kind of music and many different purposes. It is popular for healing and therapeutic music, music based on drones (see below), intuitive music making and improvising and all music genres.

ORIGINS

The shruti box is a wind instrument from the Indian subcontinent. It is used for accompanying singers and instrumentalists. Traditionally, in much of Indian music, a stable, continuous tone (called a drone) provides the foundation for all the melodic variations. It is the beginning and end of all Indian music, litterally, as it starts before and finishes after other musicians do their parts.

MECHANICS

The shruti box is powered by hand through the bellows, just like an accordeon. By opening one or more levers or turning a button the air passes by the brass reeds inside the instrument, producing one or more tones.

EASY TO PLAY

No skills are necessary, all you need to do is open the hooks and gently pump.

TUNING

Most of these shruti boxes have adopted the Western chromatic tuning system, like a piano keyboard. Most of them actually run from c-c’ and are arranged exactly like a piano keyboard. Each adjacent lever is a semitone apart and the whole series covers all the twelve tones of the octave. The thirteenth lever or tone completes the octave. They are tuned roughly to the standard concert pitch of a = 440 Hz, but small deviations are common.

HISTORY

The shruti box is derived from the harmonium, a portable keyboard instrument introduced by the British in India. Local instrument makers copied harmoniums and eventually developed this new instrument by leaving out the keys, using only the ‘stops’ that provide drones. I haven’t been able to find much information about the shruti boxes yet, but there is a book about harmoniums by Birgit Abels detailing how the ancestor of the shruti box became part of the Indian musical landscape.

 

 

 

Shruti Box Market in Taipei

 

Looking for fine, original Indian shruti boxes to make music alone or together with your friends or group? I have about ten different models (size / tuning / quality) on offer and also some used, nearly new models. Come and check on December 3 when we bring them all over to the Canjune Training Center.

 

以下影片連結為馬克吟唱和演奏shruti印度風琴

Watch a video of Mark singing and playing shruti box here:

 

當前我們剛結束第二期印度風琴之夜連續四週的工作坊。第一期是兩堂課,認識樂器以及應用。第三期課程會在農曆年之後開始。印度風琴之夜也是一門對於開發人聲的即興很有幫助的課程。

Right after the sale the seventh series of Shruti Nights is starting. The Shruti Nights is also a general class for developing your own vocal improvisations, with or without a shruti box.