BiwaVocab for Satsuma-Biwa

Sound Information System by Junko Ueda

The Rubbing Technique (Suri): Tremolo

A Biwa string is constructed by twisting silk fibres, which are plied together with rice paste. Because of this, the surface of the Biwa string is not smooth and creates a scratching sound when rubbed by the 'Bachi'. Before we have introduced Suri with a single movement. Below are various techniques of rubbing the strings with the Bachi using a tremolo. While the Suri with a single movement usually is performed by an up or down movement over the strings, the Suri tremolo mostly uses a horizontal rubbing of the Bachi over the strings.

Basic Suri tremolo

Suri tremolo on 1st string
Here the 1st string is rubbed horizontally with the base of the Bachi ('Suso'). This sample shows this style of Suri at various locations on the string (starting from near the bridge to a higher position, respectively numbered as P1 until P4).
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Suri tremolo on 4th string
Here the 4th string is rubbed horizontally with the base of the Bachi ('Suso').
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Suri tremolo on all strings
Now, all string are rubbed horizontally with the base of the Bachi ('Suso').
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Suri tremolo with hitting the main body

Suri tremolo on 1st string with hitting the main body
Again, the 1st string is rubbed horizontally with the base of the Bachi ('Suso'), however now the Bachi also hits on the body of the instrument ('Hara-ita').
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Suri tremolo on 2nd and 3rd string with hitting the main body
With the tip of the Bachi placed between the 2nd and 3rd strings, both strings are rubbed by the Bachi while hitting the Hara-ita simultaneously. This technique is used in ‘Eclipse’, composed by Tôru Takemitsu.
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Suri tremolo with handle of Bachi

Suri tremolo with handle of the Bachi on all strings
For this technique the Bachi is turned around and now the handle of the Bachi ('Bachi-o') is rubbing over the strings. This technique is used in ‘Voice & Noise’ composed by Wil Offermans.
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Double tremolo

Suri tremolo on 4th string with finger tremolo on 1st and 2nd string
While the 4th string is rubbed horizontally with the base of the Bachi ('Suso'), the left hand fingers move down and play a tremolo on the 1st and 2nd string. Used in ‘Passacaglia’ composed by Keiko Harada.
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Combinations

Suri combined
A combination of single and tremolo Suri sounds.
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Another Suri combined
Another combination of single and tremolo Suri sounds.
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