Please let the admin know if you face any errors.

Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Ideas and innovations in Indian classical music
Post Reply
raguanu
Posts: 82
Joined: 12 Oct 2008, 11:48
Contact:

Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by raguanu » 07 Feb 2017, 12:01

In an earlier post, we had demonstrated the difference between Carnatic Ga3 and its closest matching note on keyboards, the Major 3rd, with audio demonstration. It sparkled some discussion here at rasikas and in facebook. Some of the readers began to think that only Ga3 is different from what is on keyboards while other swarasthanas are ok.

Actually, all swarasthanas deviate from their respective western notes!

Take a look at this visualization that shows the deviation of carnatic swarasthanams from their nearest western equal-tempered notes:

Image

As you can clearly see from the chart:
  • Eight swarasthanas sound lower than keyboard notes.
  • Three swarasthanas sound higher.
  • Range of deviation is -15.64 cents (Dha2) to +11.73 cents (Ri1)
As a result, most swarasthanas will collide with their equivalent note on a keyboard and produce the out-of-tune beating effect as we have heard in case of Ga3.

Many carnatic music teachers make their students practice swarasthanas on keyboard in the hope that it might help them to improve their swara gyanam. Contrarily, it will only destroy their sense of swarasthana as most of the notes on a keyboard are very wrong. Let us fully understand the danger: according to this study, use of harmonium, which is also an equal tempered keyboard, has permanently skewed Hindustani music’s swara ratios. Fortunately, influence of harmonium is minimal in carnatic music, and the study says, we still retain the purity of our swarasthanas.

What is the alternative?

Absence of appropriate technology for carnatic is the reason why our teachers and students have to resort to other means such as keyboards.

On our part, we have created Shruti Carnatic Tuner, a reliable companion for authentic carnatic swarasthanas. It provides accurate reference tones. It also detects and shows you the swarasthanam when you sing or play. We, at Kuyil, will continue to innovate apps tailor-made for carnatic that will empower teachers, students and performers.

---

Cross-posted from http://beautifulnote.com/blog/2017/02/0 ... notes.html

---

Thank you,
Ananth Pattabi
_____________________________________________
Shruti Carnatic Tuner (Android app)
Tune your instruments or voice. Automatic swaram detection!
© Kuyil | Apps Crafted for Carnatic

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by Sachi_R » 07 Feb 2017, 18:08

Ananth,
Yes, I never found western musicians or musical instruments sounding good playing our ragas. When Menuhin played. And recently when the global Sai Symphony played.

What do you think of the 22-shruti harmonium?
How easy is it for you to put together a Carnatic 22 shruti keyboard app? It can be priced reasonably, and could have different instrument profiles - flute, veena and violin.

SrinathK
Posts: 810
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by SrinathK » 09 Feb 2017, 10:34

We had a very long and technical discussion on this topic before that spun off from how the 22 shrutis could work to create a framework for graha bhedam and harmonic intervals better than 12 tone - Equal temperament.

ET tends to deviate by up to 11 cents at times, which is rather huge.

Finally we felt if we could take 12 intervals out of those, it would be the ones below

http://www.rasikas.org/forums/viewtopic ... 50#p279259

The 22 shruti harmonium is quite an amazing instrument for this.

Now Sachi, you've given a very good idea. What would a Carnatic app look like?

I would like a tuner app with a tanpura/drone and a keyboard built in that allows me to
a) control my Sa to any key like C or G#, or choose the pitch in HZ. Any of the keyboard keys may be designated for this.
b) tune the 12 keys intervals to the relative values I want, inputs in fractions or decimal or cents or %
c) A range of several octaves like all keyboards
d) Transpose
e) As a bonus allow me the 22 shruti values as built in to choose from, a software variation of the 22 shruti harmonium or even all 24 tones.
d) A metronome with all the usual controls + 3 levels of subbeats (with full freedom to edit the subbeat patterns) for kalai and nadai.

I mean it should be able to render a khanda Ata tala in 4 kalai with sankeerna nadai for eg. That will be a pattern of 5+5+2+2 with a subbeat pattern of 4 and a nadai beat pattern of 1+2+2+2. Yes, wicked sick.

The nadai beat pattern will be like tt,t,t,t, - the commas are silent. So you can choose which beats are sounded and which are silent at all 3 levels, exactly replicating the way we put talas. A choice of different sounds can distinguish the start of the cycle or a change of talanga.

This app could be used to teach beginners instead of a keyboard.

Another idea is to have a pattern generator with a tempo in bpm. You enter 5 and it gives you all the 16 patterns of 5 counts. You can then choose a pattern or custom edit each of the 5 counts as a beat or a pause and make a pattern yourself.

That would give a learner the tools to do anything. It would make for a very interesting keyboard if it can be turned into hardware.

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by Sachi_R » 09 Feb 2017, 17:07

SrinathK,
surely a superset of ideas!
As a guy who's grown old in product marketing, three basic inputs:
1. Keep it straight forward and simple to use, for music buffs, not android geeks
2. Keep it as a mobile app
3. Factor in the Carnatic sruti positions, and as far as tonic is concerned, have a choice of three male and three female settings.
Adding a choice of instrument profiles will make it more attractive.

As far as tala/beat cycles are concerned, I place it as a lower priority, and maybe a separate app which runs in the background.
I feel any development effort such as this should be monetisable and the app could be priced at a couple of hundred rupees.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 09 Feb 2017, 17:43, edited 1 time in total.

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by Sachi_R » 09 Feb 2017, 17:10

PS somebody already did all the hardwork long back as a Windows app.
I have it somewhere. You can choose the scale, create a swarastring woth/without rhythm, and output it as a sound in veena/flute profile.

msakella
Posts: 1802
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by msakella » 15 Feb 2017, 18:20

All our musicians and music-lovers remain always ready to very severely condemn the usage of harmonium or key-board on one pretext or the other and, unfortunately, none of them tries even to think whether this helps in any manner to the poor aspirant in doing things independently.

In my extensive research in fairly quickening the process of learning our music very efficiently and independently it was proved beyond any doubt that the key-board having the facilities of both transpose and metronome helps the aspirants a lot more than the actual music-teacher. By mostly relying upon the key-board the aspirant not only has the precision both in terms of rhythm and note but can also work on his/her own as per his/her available time and pace independently remaining out of the tentacles of the illogical music-teacher. No music-teacher agrees with me but I can prove this at any time and place with umpteen examples. That is why, in our institution, Swarabhangima at Secunaderabad all the 60+ school-going kids invariably and very regularly practice independently in a disciplined way along with the key-board up to Varnas along with the Gamakas. Basing upon the very favourable end-results only I write these details for the benefit of our aspirants but not the teachers at all. amsharma

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by Sachi_R » 16 Feb 2017, 07:52

Sri AMS Sharma-ji,
pl clarify how you address the deviation of equitempered notes on the keyboard vs. the Carnatic swarasthanas as mentioned in the original post.

If you successfully address that issue, the keyboard will find wide acceptance, I think.

But thinking aloud laterally, how does Keyboard Sathya accomplish this? If I am not mistaken, he has accompanied some big musicians. Even Vidwan TNS plays a keyboard, I believe.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 16 Feb 2017, 20:57, edited 1 time in total.

msakella
Posts: 1802
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by msakella » 16 Feb 2017, 16:27

My purpose in properly utilising the key-board in making the aspirant independent in the process of learning our music is entirely different with all others and, by the grace of the Almighty, I very efficiently succeeded in this task. amsharma

SrinathK
Posts: 810
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by SrinathK » 17 Feb 2017, 18:01

pl clarify how you address the deviation of equitempered notes on the keyboard vs. the Carnatic swarasthanas as mentioned in the original post.
You don't.

No need to panic. A beginner's ears are not so sensitive to tell these fine differences. The method of using a keyboard at the beginner stage is actually very effective, I have used it myself. However I ditched the keyboard after I came to varnams and gamakas as the keyboard no longer served me at that stage. However, at the advanced level, a veena or a violin (played with great technique of course) will be of immense help in understanding gamakas.

I would even go further and tell beginners not to try and attempt to sing with a thambura (apps included) right away as it takes more skill to align with it, and blasphemous as it might sound, it is entirely possible to achieve decent swarasthana shuddham without it. A beginner is better off with a drone.

You move to the thambura after you've understood something about tone and it's aesthetics and how to fine tune your shruti shuddham to the natural harmonics it produces. At that point I'd recommend getting a 22 shruti software keyboard, but that doesn't exist yet.

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by Sachi_R » 17 Feb 2017, 19:49

Srinath, and Raguanu, and others,
I tried an experiment. Please click the picture to play the sounds from two apps, one the 22 shruti website synthesizer and the other, a virtual piano.

Image


Is it just me, or do you also hear a lot of differences?

Should one hear the true notes of a raga from the beginning or can start off with a keyboard?

SrinathK
Posts: 810
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by SrinathK » 18 Feb 2017, 11:46

@Sachi_R You are right. That is precisely why I stopped using the keyboard after sometime, the notes were never quite in the right places. I first started noticing the differences when I tried composing tunes on those old nokia mobiles -- something didn't quite seem right in the notes, but I couldn't tell what it was. Now I know. That's about the time when my ears started sensing these fine differences.

Ideally I would teach beginners with a keyboard that can tune to the correct frequencies, however a beginner's ears are not so sensitive to even 1/2 tone variations (my first music teacher used to scold me that I could never quite tell where to sing my D1), so they won't immediately realize these. Either way, getting a feel for the plain notes up to geethams is much easier with a keyboard & drone than without it.

There is a video showing the alignment of the 22 shruti harmonium vs a regular one and when you play the notes side by side the differences are even more glaring.

However, I would ditch 12 tone ET when I feel they can properly align to the natural frequencies.

msakella
Posts: 1802
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

Re: Carnatic Swarasthans vs Western Notes

Post by msakella » 20 Feb 2017, 12:10

Chi. ShrinathK dear,

Till now, you are the first and only person came out open and gave supportive facts relating to the usage of keyboard for the beginners etc. I heartily appreciate you for this.

To tell the truth, you did so as you are not a professional teacher or musician. Any professional teacher or musician will never come out open in this manner and do so as it helps only to spill out his/her own beans. Solely for the benefit of the poor and innocent aspirants and their worried parents any music organisation like the Chennai Music Academy must invite the professionals and hold discussions to finalise the teaching/learning methods of our music as they are our future torch-bearers. But, very sadly, as mostly such organisations are dominated by conservatives and egoists and they all unanimously think that there are no special and easy methods in teaching music they will never do it as it helps not only to embarrass them spilling out their own beans of logicalities in teaching but also to minimise their role as the so-called ‘Guru’ in the quickening and independent process of learning our music.

For another glaring example, for the first time in the history, I have very successfully demonstrated the rarest topic, Talaprastara on 25-12-1983 itself in the Music Academy and also donated some of its copies to their library. In this respect, being the employee of the Govt. Music Colleges in our State, I only have taken proper steps in carrying out the necessary modifications of the theory-portion of this topic Talaparastara and in binging out independent books for the Theory examinations. But, very sadly, as no other musician or music-institution or University carried out these needed modifications in their theory-portion, since many years the same in-correct and insufficient definition is followed by all the students appearing for the music-examinations in all the music-institutions and music Departments of all the universities in our South India. These things obviously show the lethargy and negligence of our musicians.

Even in respect of extending the knowledge of our melodical notes to our kids I have brought out some audio-files with full consonant effect for all the 12-shrutis and, for example, I have furnished the url link for the respective audio-files of 1-shruti in the sub-thread, Aesthetics in Shruti alignment in the main-thread of General Discussions. It is a very highly amazing experience to sing certain Ragas along with the consonant combinations of these audio-files. Interested persons having more Shruti-sense are welcome to do so and furnish their experiences in this column. amsharma

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest