In Gentleness and Suddenness details

In Gentleness and Suddenness

for shakuhachi (2010); duration: 5′ 00″; publisher: Wirripang

score available from
Wirripang Pty Ltd

Franklin in action at the University of Western Sydney, 2012

program note

My purpose in writing this piece was to create a work for my colleague and friend—Jim Franklin—that captured both stillness and explosive colour moments. Shakuhachi sounds emerging from my colleague’s next door office suggested an approach of a rich timbre palette of sounds “inside” the note. What eventuates in my music is an exploration of timbres inside and outside the note. This takes place via vibrato, gurgles, microtonal builds and acciaccatura pants. These colour moments are contained within a triptych structure. It moves from gentle and explosive breath sounds through to a climactic middle section emphasizing acciaccatura pants and high tessitura sounds. The music returns to the opening blues scale and panting effects quietening into silence. This form—its beginnings and momentary climaxes—are articulated by the gentle breathing and explosive attacks.


“The shakuhachi solo, In Gentleness and Suddeness, explores the birth of the single note. The composer coaxes each note to life, taking it on a journey, only to relinquish it. The dramatic contrast suggested in the eponymous title generates a momentum scaffolded by a blues scale – remarkable!”

Professor Michael Atherton, preface CD Double Resonances Wirr017

Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Space (inside)

performance history

6 October 2010, In Gentleness and Suddenness, Kawamura Taizan,  (shakuhachi), Asian Music Festival 2010 in Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Main Hall

Kawamura Taizan & Bruce Crossman

 15 November 2006, In Gentleness and Suddenness, James Franklin (shakuhachi), Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

21 July, 2006, In Gentleness and Suddenness, James Franklin (shakuhachi), Pan-European Shakuhachi Summer School with Koto and Shamisen, Brunei Gallery Theatre, University of London

Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Space (outside)