Why HM sounds sweeter

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
varsha
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#151 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by varsha »

Tadepalli Loknatha Sarma

shankarank
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#152 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

Thanks - the force with which he reaches upper Sa at about 01:36, 37 .. helped me identify him after 25 years gap of hearing him. Yes I have not heard even a recording of his in between. Previous one was an Eta vunnara in CLT - IITM ( almost empty hall I should say!) with Sri Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam.

After having heard Balakrishna Sastrigal's tapes growing up - this was first time I learnt a concert can be done with Bhava..

The Tanjorian Marathi Grundig tape collector again - appears in the scene in the U.S in between - he mentioned that Sri Sarma was living by making Veenas and selling them!

So if we don't know how a tonally rich voice can sound in CM - how are we going to practice it?

Nobody would think they should try and imitate a Chembai , a Semmangudi or MMI even only as far back as 1980s/1990s - who were all long gone from live concert circuit!

shankarank
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#153 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

shankarank wrote:the force with which he reaches upper Sa at about 01:36, 37
I even missed to notice that he held the Ni first before hitting Sa later!

thenpaanan
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#154 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by thenpaanan »

While looking for a learnable version of Tiger's vAcaspati varNam I stumbed upon this article in the Hindu from 2014 titled "Missing the essence" by
Soudhamini V. I had never read an article by this author before but a paragraph at the bottom of the article got my attention (and the relevance to this now-silent thread)

"To put it simply, a Hindustani concert is designed, a Carnatic concert is structured. Their reference is a point, the sruti, ours is a line, the scale. Theirs allows for radial expansion. We are stuck with the linear, climbing up and down with amazing dexterity like clever trapeze artists, which, of course, is also a skill."

There are other similar paragraphs in there, this is just a gist. Whether you agree with the above or not the exit para (quoted below) should be non-controversial.

"So it is not so much about learning from another tradition, though where is the harm in that, as much as it is about coming more fully into our own."

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday ... 651383.ece

-Thenpaanan

sureshvv
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#155 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by sureshvv »

thenpaanan wrote: We are stuck with the linear, climbing up and down with amazing dexterity like clever trapeze artists, which, of course, is also a skill."
So much contempt!

The author must be from a traditional carnatic lineage.

Nick H
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#156 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Nick H »

The Hindu will publish one article a week about what is wrong with carnatic music for the next four weeks. Some of them may even be illustrated with [by?] cartoons. This is part of the season tradition, isn't it? :twisted: :D

Some of what they say will even be right. Especially about the decibels. And the toilets.

Happy Season, everybody! :)

kvchellappa
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#157 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by kvchellappa »

Sri Madhava Muni Rao shared this with me in private correspondence, vis-s-vis
http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday ... 651383.ece
though I wonder whether Soudhamini V expected any answer to the issues raised (rhetorical perhaps).
Quote
'Is Karnatic Music cutcheri missing the essence?'
Karnatic music cutcheri music essence is experience of joy, pleasure and bliss. Experience of bliss is at any time, rare of rarest in occurrence. Joy and pleasure are being experienced by both the practitioners and rasikas. To the discerning listeners question arises only with value gradation with the quality in delivery by the practitioners. What is truly amiss is patronage and support to practitioners, who are offering highest values of classicism. Discerning listeners and critics are having similar question on Hindustani concert music, instrumental in particular. What are common in practice of both the systems of music currently are higher values of effervescence- vivacious and enthusiastic, to offer instant gratification and secure appreciation, popularity and support.

'Is bhakti a rasa? In other words, does religiosity provide an art experience?'
Indian Classical performing arts does have the ideal of objectifying the subjective devotion. Bhakti, devotion is not restricted to only religiosity but it is inclusive of devotion to the art form; to the composer and his compositions of creativity; other modes of manodharma-raga alaapana, tana, niraval,
Pallavi, svarakalpana/prastara, all are expressions of divine qualities of imagination, ideation and creativity of the artists practicing Karnatic music. In Hindustani music system and practice, religiosity experience is offered in dhrupad, bhajans and dhuns and not in khyal and thumri.

'Today, why does Carnatic music sound like Rock music?'
When the sabha gayana evolved replacing the darbar and devalaya gayana, role of rhythm for enhancing the sound effects for effervescence was devised. Both the practitioners and rasikas are enjoying its experience. Vocal and instrumentalists also tempted to create tala vadya effects. It is also equally applicable to Hindustani concerts, instrumental music in particular. Popularity, highest support to Western –Rock music, its competition has only enhanced this practice. Classical music of deep reflective qualities in appreciation and practice remain exceptional.

'An excess of Veera rasa palls, if it is not inflected with Adbhuta - the wonder towards that which is greater than oneself.'
It is not the quality of veera rasa but rajasic rasa not excluding adbhuta. Experience of effect of music greater than oneself, higher self is in satvic rasa.

'Float after float of costumed and decorated kritis were offered for our delectation, each one erasing the memory of the previous.'
Karnatic music is like special lunch/dinner of marriage celebration, experience of great variety, richness and wholesomeness. System and practice does have sub-main, main and R-T- P, in longer duration concerts. Mind in comparison with Hindustani music system of vilambit and drut compositions combinations, two such combinations or with thumri, kajri, tappa, bhajan, dhun of lesser numbers results in determination of ‘float after float’ experience. Importance for sahithya bhava is less in Hindustani music in bandishes for khyal, in comparison to Karnatic Music. Karnatic music aims to give good experience of both sangeeta and sahithya bhava, with primacy for sangeeta bhava.

'Certain basic differences between the two systems of music, from a listener’s point of view -the kalapramanam of a Hindustani alaap is not all that different from that of the composition.'
It is correct only in bada khyal and not in chota khyal.

'-a Hindustani concert is designed, a Carnatic concert is structured.'
Both are shastriya music systems and are structured only. Design, if any, relates to bani/gharana or style.

'-their reference is a point, the sruti, ours is a line, the scale'
Sruti is common for both; the difference is only in sudha svara and kampita svaras, oscillating notes with anusvarams. Note to note progression in Hindustani and phrases based progression in Karnatic music, in melody treatment.

'Is Hindustani music profane?'
It is absolutely, no.

'Where is its classicism coming from? And where is ours?'
Hindustani and Karnatic music systems have evolved from folk to lalita/light and light to shastriya. Shastriya is class highest in evolution and value. Both are of class demanding higher mental efforts for listening and appreciation; offering intellectual pleasure.

'What constitutes grammar and what mere convention?'
Hindustani and Karnatic music are based on lakshya, practice and lakshana, theory with primacy for lakshya as for a long period in evolution, it was in oral tradition. Conventions are related to bani/gharana-sampradaya. Lakshya and lakshana, together, constitutes tradition, excellence.

'Why are we so afraid of the free float?'
Time and duration; shorter attention span results in seeking fewer compositions delineation but not certainly it is a cause for fear.

'Is it not so much about learning from another tradition, as much as it is about coming more fully into our own?'
Lakshya and lakshana of Karnatic music has no equal and it is one of the greatest of art forms of world music. It is all encompassing in nature and scope with ati vilambam, vilambam, madhyamam and turita, kalams and kalapramanams. Yes, the need is coming more fully into our own-Karnatic music.
Unquote

Why should one system be like another and if it is how can there be two systems? The point raised was whether HM is sweeter. I think it depends on many factors as brought out in the discussion, and the way our ears are tuned and trained.

RSR
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#158 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

The very first article link, with which Chellappa Sir, initiated the discussion, gives focus on vocalists only. That by itself is debatable. and has led to so many replies, very educative ,erudite and enthusing but misleading.
Whether it is CM or HM, music as such should include Instrumental music. In fact, Instrumental music may be the essence, because as there are no lyrics, the theme of the song becomes irrelevant. . In CM , we have great Nagaswaram Vidwans like Sri.TNR Pillai, , solo violin artistes like Chowdiah, Lalgudi Jyaraman , Flute masteroes like Sanjeeva Rao and Mali, Veena experts like Sambasiva Iyer,Eemmani Sankara Sastry, Gottu vadhyam Narayana Iyengar,Clarinet AKC Natarajan, Mandolin Srinivas. and such. Their concerts exemplify the essence of CM
2) Percussion instruments are not essential to classical music.(CM/HM) (ex) we cannot have a solo mrudhangam concert. or tabla concert
3) CM ragas are developed by permutation /combination rules . Not all combinations are pleasing to the ear.
4) HM uses only about a dozen of these basic ragams and they are very pleasing and evoke emotions.
5) Moreover, HM instruments like Sitar ( RaviShankar), Sarod (Ali Skbar Khan), Sarangi (RamNarain) , Dilrubah/Esraj, Santhoor(Sivakumar Sharma) , long flute ( Pannalal Ghosh), Shenoi ( Ustad Bismilla Khan ) are unique to Hindusthani music just as Nagaswaram is unique to CM. I find them more appealing than most CM instruments for the reason cited in (6)
6) The concept of resonant (sympathetic) strings as used in all the HM string instruments is something very very special and wonderful. ( said to be the contribution-invention of Amir Kuzroo).
6) Yet, kindly correct me if I am wrong but there is no ragam like Todi,/ SuddhaSeemandhini in HM. Some of the ragams in CM , especially the ones which are meant for slow rendition, are distinctive and can be a challenge to similar ragam development in HM. They invariably create a devotional / spiritual feeling. But , almost all the HM ragas are emotionally appealing which cannot be said about many of the CM compositions even by the best composers.
7) Most of the popular kruthis in CM will be found to be in the scales shared by HM. and hence their appeal.
Even in such ragams, quite a few are flat but a few , absolutely grand. That may be true of the kruthis in the same ragam by the same composer.
8) In conclusion, CM artistes can carefully choose such ragams which are spiritual /bakthi-oriented , slow-paced and unrelated to HM scales, to preserve the purity of CM tradition. D.K. Pattammal may be the best exponent. of such approach. (leaving alone her populist records) . They happen to be mostly Dikshithar kruthis.

Nick H
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#159 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Nick H »

we cannot have a solo mrudhangam concert. or tabla concert
We probably could. In fact I have been to a solo tabla concert, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, London.

A "solo" mridangam concert never seems to happen, as our percussionists are more gregarious, and don't miss the chance to turn it into a party.

thenpaanan
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#160 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by thenpaanan »

Of course one could go on and on about this and that and not get anywhere without concrete suggestions. Recently I had an opportunity to observe the approach of CM and HM side by side. My younger daughter has been learning HM for about a year and she is learning Rag Bhairav now. It is a very simple chOta khayAl ('jAgo mOhana pyArE') but even when the little tots sing it, it is very moving. And in spite of the innumerable error-laden repetitions you go away humming the tune and looking for more. When I compared their approach to Bhairav with our approach to Mayamalavagowlai (MMG) I came to realize something for the first time that probably many people here are already aware of. If you take our conception of MMG it is more or less defined by our iconic kritis such as Vidulaku and Tulasidala. (As an aside Tyagaraja's kritis define our modern MMG even though Dikshitar has more elaborate kritis in it.) In any case, take Tulasidala for instance. Right about the third sangati of the pallavi, the standard versions launch into the NDPM DPMG PMGR (tu-la- si--- da-la-) sangati which is sung with great percussive force and the rest of the kriti proceeds from there. My point is that this kind of sangati _defines_ our music today. It is characterized by hard stops between phrases and severe shaking of the notes in between. The DKP/DKJ style could be considered as an extreme form of this (think of the beginning of "nadachi nadachi") but everyone does it to some extent -- in fact they have to, otherwise they would not be considered a serious artist -- and the harder the brigas are sung the better. As far as I can tell from my listening, this kind of staccato singing is quite rare in Bhairav -- the accent is more on the glides and held notes and intervallic relationships between the notes.

It is tempting to dismiss this as mere stylistic or cultural differences. But this has repercussions that go unnoticed. First, the staccato singing has become so prevalent and repetitive that it robs the experience of a feeling of relaxation (compare the way 'endarOmahanubhAvulu' is sung today and look at the lyrics -- would Tyagaraja have sung it even remotely like it is sung by us?). Second, your vocal chords are under increased strain because of both the stop-and-go nature of the singing as well as the forced oscillation (the amplitude of our gamakas goes far beyond the vibrato that is present in a relaxed singing voice). Finally, combining the rapid climbs up and down the octave, the voice competing with the drummer to get the percussive effect of brigas, lack of proper rests between phrases, the inflexibility of the sangati system, and the need to shout above the accompanists without adequate voice projection, you get the results we see. Even the best voices leave something to be desired sound-wise (but you only notice it when set side-by-side with a voice from a different tradition in a Coke studio or a Raga Labs setting) and too many young singers falling victim to voice problems.

The only singer in CM that I have known to consistently avoid the three problems above is BMK. Even MSS was very percussive in her traditional pieces. All her melisma was devoted to her non-traditional pieces. Notice how she sang her Meera Bhajans or even her religious recordings differently from her traditional pieces -- to take but one example, her famous pakkala nilabadi is sung just like everyone else's giving her voice no rest. Even her Annamacharya album oscillates (no pun) between the need to show "Carnatic classicism" and sounding sweet. Take, for instance, the iconic 'bhAvayAmi gopAlabAlam' -- it starts out gently and sweet-sounding and reaches its sweetness crest at "nirata kara kalita navaneetam" but by the time she reaches "parama purusham gopAlabAlam" the monkey on the back is evident. But she could get away with it uniquely (as evidenced by the scores of singers who have tried since) and of course, one may argue that in small doses this is a good thing and yes, that is true too. But, I ask, where do our teachers tell us that or teach us how to achieve balance or how to sing fast trills with a light touch? If you go to a random concert this season I bet that the fast and voice-damaging pieces will, as usual, will be the overwhelming fraction of pieces performed.

We, as a tradition, like to believe that we have everything inside our music. But in fact our pedagogy is made up of such beliefs as "our forebears knew everything" and nostrums as "practice your varisais in akAram in three speeds and everything else will take care of itself" (thankfully we no longer believe in akAra sAdhanaA while immersed up to the neck in water, but others persist). The worst comment one hears is "idukku mEla enna vENum?" (what more do you need than this).

Recently one of the golden voices whose voice got damaged leading to early retirement recorded a few pieces after a long time and circulated them to a few friends. I was very impressed with how he had relearned to sing with a whole new approach which was, to my ears, richer and sweeter. I duly shared the recordings with a well-accomplished CM singer friend of mine. I was aghast at his reaction "the singer seems to have accepted a Hindustani-style of singing". I did not understand or agree with that assessment but I persisted with "so what?". He replied "azhuttam pOrAdu" (I dont know how to translate the peculiar "azhuttam" word from Carnatic to English). What I took away from this conversation is that if you take away these voice-damaging practices from the singing, a singer is likely to be branded as "inauthentic".

I suspect this was the case with the young BMK as well. If you listen carefully to his singing he does not thrash the song out -- his handling of brigas is much more gentle than the norm and he was dismissed as inauthentic, light, filmy, etc. But the fact of the matter is that he had the best voice culture in the business (though he did not know how he got it or how to propagate it). When he passed, how many standard-bearer singers praised his voice or his contributions (compared to, say, SSI)? All the praise seemed to be coming from either his own students or his non-CM collaborators.

In the current generation, TM Krishna seems to be the only one thinking about the place of sangatis and brigas -- in a recent concert I heard him sing traditional pieces but choosing sangatis carefully and not singing absolutely everything that is in the repertoire, which is what the bulk of our singers do today. (A non-CM apartment-mate who has featured in an earlier story had this to say about my CM tapes "it sounds like the washerman beating the clothes on a rock"). I suspect that many of the young singers (and not so young as well) today who belt out these sangatis relentlessly will lose the sheen of their voices in middle age. Of course that only matters if the audience demands sweetness. If we insist that the only thing that matters is singing "authentically" then it will not matter.

To return to the point of this thread, HM sounds sweeter in my opinion because of the choices we have made in the tradition of CM and the aspects of our music that we have emphasized. It may be more comfortable to think that CM is fine and it is the singers who have failed it. But the truth is probably something else.

-Thenpaanan

shankarank
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#161 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

RSR wrote: 2) Percussion instruments are not essential to classical music.(CM/HM) (ex) we cannot have a solo mrudhangam concert. or tabla concert
Agreed. Percussion in a literal sense is only as important to layam as the 12 keys in the keyboard octave are to the rAgam. ;)
RSR wrote: 3) CM ragas are developed by permutation /combination rules . Not all combinations are pleasing to the ear.
If you choose the right white key to begin with - you get the simple all white key sequence as the SankarabaraNam scale I was told . And you could try all permutes and combines as you please :twisted: :lol:

That said I don't dismiss the pedagogical value of the literal percussive instrument - the Mridanga tALam by Radel - as much as I appreciate the usefulness of the keyboard by our esteemed member Sri AM Sarma ;) :lol:

shankarank
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#162 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

Nick H wrote:
we cannot have a solo mrudhangam concert. or tabla concert
We probably could. In fact I have been to a solo tabla concert, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, London.

A "solo" mridangam concert never seems to happen, as our percussionists are more gregarious, and don't miss the chance to turn it into a party.
It happens or used to at Astika Samajam - Alwarpet - Shri KRM's Sruti Laya - different artiste each year and I was there for Sri Tiruchi Sankaran's in the year 2002/2003 - kanDa tripuTa tAla. Sri T.V. Vasan assisted him with the Ghatam.

UKS said in a recent interview - that if a Mridangam artist embellishes the renditions well, there is no need for a tani. tani is there to keep a traditional skill in vogue. It may at times re-emphasize the layam of what we just heard during rendition.

I would add : it is more of an encouragement or sort of recognition of their sAdhana by all - at least the why of why it is being allowed to happen.

But then beyond that - it serves as important pedagogical tool in the school of rasikatvam for those of us who choose to remain to listen - subtly turning our senses to appreciate the layam in the kritis themselves more deeply - probably playing into the enjoyment of rasa - as tyAgarAja seemed to have speculated.

Over to those who are connecting the probes and doing research to show something experimentally.

shankarank
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#163 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

thenpaanan wrote: As an aside Tyagaraja's kritis define our modern MMG even though Dikshitar has more elaborate kritis in it
True. Dikshitar's first Sri nAthAdi guruguhO rendered by TMK ( Jaya TV MMU) was an eye opener for me - compared to DKJ/DKP version - though I appreciate certain points in the latter very much. In spite of all slow downs and resumes the mAtra integrity was preserved at that time. I only wished Arun had been more emphatic than he was. I imitate this rendition when I sing it.

In contrast the rendition of the same by Unnikrishnan in a subsequent year Jaya TV MMU was more melody (cinematic) oriented - completely unaware of syllabic intervals. K.V Prasad on the Mridangam was doing phase adjustments through out.

Cannot locate both on you-tube now.

But now though TMK himself will have the tendency to further slow down and make it a viruttam. :(

RSR
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#164 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

[quote="shankarank"][quote="RSR"]
No Sir. I am not that very ignorant. I am right.

RSR
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#165 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

#160 Thenappan Sir, -> I was having in mind DKP records like a) Janaki Ramana b) Maanasa guru guha c) Mamava pattaabiraama d) maamava maadhava e) sri sathyanarayanam f) rangapura vihara g) sujana jeevana .. and such. Though I tend to agree with your long post, I am afraid that your remark on DKP is not apt to the point you are making. Perhaps, DKP records differ from DKP concerts?

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#166 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by thenpaanan »

RSR wrote:#160 Thenappan Sir, -> I was having in mind DKP records like a) Janaki Ramana b) Maanasa guru guha c) Mamava pattaabiraama d) maamava maadhava e) sri sathyanarayanam f) rangapura vihara g) sujana jeevana .. and such. Though I tend to agree with your long post, I am afraid that your remark on DKP is not apt to the point you are making. Perhaps, DKP records differ from DKP concerts?
I am not sure which record this is but these are the "top hits" of DKP so I have listened to all these songs from her various times. But one big caveat I should make about my comments is that I only talk about the average not of specific concerts or records or such. DKP was, of course, an unparalleled musician who has delivered top tier music across six decades or more. That said, I still think that the young DKP sang more smoothly then the older DKP. Perhaps it is an audio illusion -- perhaps because of the rigidity that creeps into vocal chords with age, it sounds that way. DKP and DKJ have produced absolutely melodious performances in their time, but their style is hard on the voice apparatus.

-T

shankarank
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#167 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

RSR wrote:
shankarank wrote:
RSR wrote: No Sir. I am not that very ignorant. I am right.
Never intended that you are ignorant by any means. You join the elite league of deniers of musical essences starting with Mridangam is not essential. At any one instant lot of "other" things are not essential but they are there anyways - doesn't mean they don't count as music.

You also talked about instrumental music - how it avoids the baggage of lyrical meaning etc - but musicians like TMK have been more charitable - he said the sounds of the letters - I mean ka - ta - ca - etc do produce a musical effect. So he is willing to acknowledge something in the lyrics and also points out how instrumentalists themselves may produce a specific musical effect unintentionally by trying to bring out the sounds of the lyrics by way of stresses and other techniques to adhere to gayaki style.

So why a particular form ( lyric or musical method) gets to be used in a musical performance may be due to some other intent nothing to do with any musical purpose, but there are unintended consequences that are musical in nature. Musicians may claim they use lyrics as a prop ( as some of have indeed claimed in interviews) - but they are not the final word on it.

That we cannot do a whole concert with something doesn't rule that out as non essential. A senior musician Sri Madurai G.S Mani ( who has assisted music directors for many a song in films) told me once that his goal is to bring his rasikas to enjoy the Alapana - implying he only utilizes the rest of the forms as a lure. So this thought is not new with TMK and it has been there. Musicians think Alap is something they own and owe nothing to anybody else in regards to that. But yet we only heard of Alap only concerts very rarely - as rarely as Mridangam solo performances which also do take place at least once a year in one place in the world. It may not span 2+ hours - but still happens.

So a whole concert cannot be performed with just one thing all through out - musicians have not had the courage to sing just one rAga - even in Pallavi Durbars - or whole concert with just neraval, or just swarams or just Brighas or tanams. But yet we never say that one of them is NOT essential.

From a position - that says mridangam is not essential - it is not too far as a corollary to argue that kritis and compositions are not essential. Instrumental music still values the musical skeleton of compositions. And I have also heard from instrumentalists ( in documentaries / interviews) that this is just a South Indian phenomenon - all this Bhakti thing - making them do this! As they Globe trot around - into the world music forums they are free to showcase their true artfulness!

Everybody jumps into the bandwagon of digesting what they need and shedding what is inconvenient to them as toxic waste!

Mridangam may have been intended as a show enhancer - but it has its share of unintended consequences as Mridangists toiled to elevate the art from being a mere metronome to reacting to melodic music and them adding to it - unintentionally seeking to match the grandeur of an Alapana and other forms.

So accepting for example that Alapana is indeed the ultimate experience of music does not negate all other forms.

RSR
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#168 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

shankarank-> Respected Sir, a) Why not for a moment , think outside the context of carnatic music vocal concert and place ourselves in the situation of wonderful nagaswaram alaaps associated with temple deity processions, that were so common in almost all the big and small temple towns till a few decades back? . Or about the general norm of HM ,which gives very little importance to lyrics? ...I do not have familiarity with Western Classical music. but have heard about great names like Beethovan ,Mozart ,Bach and such. Do they have any lyrics? percussion?. .............
I am having in mind 'Janaki Ramana' by TN R Pillai. subsequently rendered by DKP. .. Some ragas like that create a special sensation. I dont think, it is because of our mental association of that song with Thyagaraja kruthi and its superb bakthi bhavam. .. Not all ragas can be rendered in slow pace as done by DKP when she herself admitted that she switched over to bhavam . .. I will be thankful if some learned rasika introduces me to a 'very slow paced' kruthi in Karaharapriya. I had carefully worded that musicians can choose such ragams ( not all) and kruthis in such ragams which lend themselves to such treatment. .
b) After posting, I too wondered if our mind can remember and reproduce, a pure raga alaap by instrument. I think, some very sensitive rasikas ( not me) can do that. (Sri Hema Chandra Jain had given links to all the instrumental interludes in Hindi Meera . film of MS but the songs are remembered even with background music but the musical interludes are lost to memory). I had a friend who could 'whistle' some raga alaap! So, far as my experience goes, as you point out, our instrumentalists too, have in mind the kruthi. I concur. Still, is it impossible for a very inspired music composer to create a tune, that will haunt us though it may not have any lyric? First comes the ragam, then a lyric and then beats. When I heard Mali's 'apadhuru' javali , decades back, I did not know about the lyrics or the composition. A learned friend told me the ragam and the context. Did it make any difference? No. .. Come to think of it dispassionately, lyrics indeed are not the essence of music. . Sometimes, if we know the meaning of the lyrics, it may enhance our appreciation. More often, if the lyrics are banal, we may even be repulsed by the song , though the tune is still the same. . Perhaps, it was better as in olden days , our musicians did not bother about the exact meaning or pronunciation of so many telegu and
sanskrit kruthis .that they were regularly singing. All that mattered was musical notation. ! ( indeed , where is the question of pronunciation in instrumental music?). . My ramblings will make sense only if we confine ourselves to Instrumental music. .. Thank you for the patience.

shankarank
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#169 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

As regards lyrics , meaning and the resultant Bhava - for better or worse they are part of tradition. Before we consider whether they are essential to music or not, I want to clarify that my disagreement with some musicians is that they chose to be apologetic about it when there are enough reasons to consider it a treasure and and view it as positively impacting the music. This is especially when they interface with people outside the system.

There is no need to bring in considerations like whether they are pronounced properly, heard clearly , semantically parsed live to enjoy the bhava etc. That is a silly argument in fact! A great performance from SSI/MDR I will hear 100 times in my automobile - by 100th time I would have registered much of the lyric and may be a syllable or two I may have to refer to the books.

Now back to Suddha Seemandhini and the Javali. Lets take the first one. Lets ignore lyrics, meaning , bhava for a moment.

Listeners may get familiar with the words hearing a vocal ( we are not getting into clarity of pronunciation as that is also impacted by listeners prior familiarity) or referring to the sahitya offline, but they get impacted by the music when they hear the vocal or instrumental. Janaki RamaNa as much as it has rAga in the melodic dimension , also has a syllabic setting - temporally. In fact no rendition will lose the opportunity to do an odukkam in rakta nalina dala and swarams to it. And the temporal aspect is not limited to just that line. Every line, every syllable has a long/short alternation sequence that is as much defining the music as the melodic notes that accompany the syllables do.

In fact a composition's major contribution to music is it's temporal flow. Since you can delineate rAgam without that. And temporal flow still exists when instrumental plays the sAhitya even if the actual lyric is not sounded.

Same goes for Javali - and more importantly in the speed typically rendered by Mali ( I am assuming slow). He may not even complete the song - but whatever he does this temporal component is still there.

You want to take this for granted - temporal canvas exists - time flows - it is there in everything. I am asking you instead to reverse the gaze and take the 12 keys on the key board ( I mean the 12 note positions in an octave) granted and see what is being introduced as a temporal setting. So elongation of notes , karvais , gamakams are temporal artifacts introduced into the 12 keys that are there!

Even with all that we cannot claim that percussion is essential. If violin accompaniment is used to accentuate the melody , Mridangam is used to accentuate the temporal flow. But they will produce musical effect of their own just by being more aware of their respective aspects. That may be just beyond the minimum required accompaniment, But this is an unintended consequence when viewed historically - but now is being performed with clear intent to produce the effect.

Alap also has a layam in its proportions - on how things are phrased - even if it lacks periodicity ( and hence no Rhythm).
RSR wrote:Still, is it impossible for a very inspired music composer to create a tune, that will haunt us though it may not have any lyric?
Systems that do that use notations a lot.

For instrumentalists you may call it a tool for sadhana - but if their intent is to bring out the music refreshingly better at every other performance , sAhitya ( in the back of their heads) must be of help to commit the music to memory and also deepen their musicality.

One has to experiment and see - Ganesh / Kumaresh have attempted this - but I saw clear ornamented rhythmic patterns (3s, 4s, 5s, 7s) - not the long/short that is typical of sAhitya.

shankarank
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#170 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

A fortress theory of CM Aesthetics has to include the Chandas, the viSrAnti as much as it includes gamakas, and other forms of improvisations. To break through the lack of sweetness in CM, one has to follow the Chandas route.

I could imagine a fusion performer ( to be concrete Guitar Prasanna @ IIT Open Air Theatre) to slip in a chaste Bhairavi phrase to deafening drum beats - but if he has to really create a CM-ish temporal flow - he has to stop the fusion - do the CM and head back - all confusion ends and CM emerges unscathed.

Listen to Mridangam - if you dislike the voice. if you don't understand the layam listen to the Sruti on its right side!

Here is a gruffy voice - ignore it and train your attention on TKM!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsGQzL3d2AM

RSR
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#171 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

shankarank->
'There is no need to bring in considerations like whether they are pronounced properly, heard clearly , semantically parsed live to enjoy the bhava etc. That is a silly argument
..Unfortunate choice of words. .. Madurai Mani Iyer's devotees will testify... I need not elaborate. ...I am talking about Instrumental music. as I have reiterated more than twice.

shankarank
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#172 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

Whether it is vocal or instrumental they all seem to depend on lyric accompanied music. We need to see what is the difference that makes. You don't have to separate instruments since in your view vocalists are pretty much the same as instrumentalists as they both don't have to worry about the pronunciation.

Nevertheless - once this temporal signature is not there - you can pretty much say the ship has left the shores of CM whoever it is - and even if all other technical components are there.

I guess the problem seems to be one rAgA: karaharapriya (KHP) that cannot sustain itself without forced sangatIs. Sangati central all the kritis are!. Just like how during SSI's reign others avoided handling this - now instead they should yield this to nagaswara vidwans and not handle it - instead go for rAgams that are more rakti and kArvai based. I guess that is the solution to protect their voices. In the KHP zone - we have to go to Sri for rakti , Abheri (modern) for evocation, karNa ranjani for lighter melodies. No playing ( pun intended) with the voice.

Now Sabhas have a reason to call them also!

It is thought to be a good pedagogical tool and there was a discussion apparently to make this equal spaced scale to be the intro rAgam instead of MMG. SSI and BMK favoring that. SS Rao seemed to have opposed that ( we will hear from munirao surely ;) ).

pancama rAgam - atukku ottu kidaitAl brahma lOkam! ( says TNS in his recent discourse about nAgasvara vidvans handling KHP).

thenpaanan
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#173 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by thenpaanan »

shankarank wrote: I guess the problem seems to be one rAgA: karaharapriya (KHP) that cannot sustain itself without forced sangatIs. Sangati central all the kritis are!. Just like how during SSI's reign others avoided handling this - now instead they should yield this to nagaswara vidwans and not handle it - instead go for rAgams that are more rakti and kArvai based. I guess that is the solution to protect their voices. In the KHP zone - we have to go to Sri for rakti , Abheri (modern) for evocation, karNa ranjani for lighter melodies. No playing ( pun intended) with the voice.
It is possible to sing KHP without whiplash. I remember once listening to a recording from the early 1900s salvaged from one of the early gramaphone records wherein a gentleman whose name I have since forgotten sang a wonderful KHP at 4.5 kattai! Of course it was a hurried piece (an unusual kriti -- perhaps a padam or javali) because of the 3 minute time limit on those records, but the way he handled KHP sangatis was quite wonderful. It felt like he was rolling the brigas one after the other with a feather touch -- it gave him astonishing speed up and down the scale but it sounded gentle at the same time. The moral is that we dont have to sing KHP in a fixed way. After all, even SSI's alapanai in KHP at times has been extremely delicate and soft almost to the point of crooning (while still singing the kriti the "standard way"). I remember one particular concert in Shanmukhananda in the 80s where he must have sung neraval just between the ni and high ma for about ten minutes -- it was so delicate and sweet that the violinist simply put down his bow, the mridangam player was just twitching, and the normally fidgety audience was pin-drop silent! SSI was in his own world, reluctant to leave it and come back to terra firma. Finally when he came out of his reverie the thunderous applause brought the house down. So, it can be done.

-T

RSR
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#174 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

thenpaanan-> very nicely expressed Sir. May i know the kruthi thus rendered by Senmmangudi Srinivasa iyer and the year? Is it possible to give a download link?
shankaranK -> you are right that some ragams and kruthis are best left to Nagaswaram vidvans. your cjoice of sri ragam also is fine. ( ex) Alathoor 'nama kusumamula ' . I think, any song in Madhyamavathi and Manirangu( similar ragams) also are best choice for leisurely and bakthi-laden rendition. ..Hoever, I would hesitate to include any ragam having a counterpart in HM like Aberi. ..Neelambari, Ananda bairavi and such will be nice.

varsha
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#175 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by varsha »


varsha
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#176 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by varsha »

A picture of the evolution from folk to shAstriya
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xmcalnct2 ... garAja.mp3

A poem to go with it
Village fair
https://flowingpoems.wordpress.com/2012 ... lage-fair/

A village fair has just begun my thoughts –
Colorful windmills purple as they dance,
Boundless fields eager for shine to dry
From morning’s mist to evening’s sweat

Trees stand tall, cattle too see end of day,
Children forget their homes, blindfolded
At stretching play, searching in the twilight
The day that had promised a winner

Thoughtful lamps glow in every home,
Their oil in clay, like diamond in the shore,
Is fortune only to the one who gets,
And each home’s contend with its light.

At night, ghosts sing into the winds,
Close the children to their lids,
Hide the moon from its tales,
And ask forgetful dogs, when is time to sleep?

RSR
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#177 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

The poem is very nice.

varsha
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#178 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by varsha »


varsha
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#179 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by varsha »


musicofmdr
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#180 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by musicofmdr »

thenpaanan wrote: 19 Dec 2016, 21:21 It is possible to sing KHP without whiplash. I remember once listening to a recording from the early 1900s salvaged from one of the early gramaphone records wherein a gentleman whose name I have since forgotten sang a wonderful KHP at 4.5 kattai!....
-T
http://www.sangeethamshare.org/muralida ... ds-101-200
"05 - cakkani_rAhamArgamu - kharaharapriyA"

Not sure how you will categorise the above KHP rendition by MDR, but for me, it sounded very "sweet", and it appeared to be an "atypical" KHP which has much more than sangatis in offer :-)

Most will not consider MDR's voice to be "sweet" in the normal parlour (and I too agree about the base quality), but, with the right voice modulations and sound production, MDR is able to generate the appropriate "sound" for the context and can make it "sweeter" when required! Check the above linked rendition - the AlApana is in his distinctive style, with less of bhrugas and more of slower movements and nice usage of swarastAnas. The pallavi is not just about blurting out the regular sangatis, but few iterations focus on the sound where the words take a backstage, some other iterations focus on playing with the laya etc. Look at the way he is ending the pallavi - again the focus is on the sound produced. In the anupallavi, note how he handles "sandula" and he immediately stops that the the words indicate "dark alleys" and hence he is modulating his voice accordingly - this indicates that he had clear idea on how his music should sound in a given context! Other notable point is the way he handles sound around "O manasA". Rest of the rendition is also lovely!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sihdy0EgHGc
Other two points that were discussed in this thread are "singing without a mike" and "why many singers do not open their mouth when they go to the upper octave". Watch the above video (and other videos in the same sequence) - mike is almost a meter from MDR's mouth, but MDR'S voice is crisp and clear and every nuance he sings is audible! And check his mouth when he goes to the upper octave - it is full open and it comes naturally to him.

#musicofmdr
https://musicofmdr.com

Pallavisree1976
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#181 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Pallavisree1976 »

Hindustani music sounds sweeter because hindustani music is a gradual slow process of singing. One goes note by note. He or she really takes his or her time to go through all the notes in a raag. The raag is given more importance than the wordings or the Sahityam. The raga bhava is gradually brought out slowly with slow glides, and curves, oscillations and slides, and slight very subtle gamaks here and there. The musician will explore the raag through alaap, and bolalaap during this time. He or she will do what is called swar badath which means to take each prominent vadi and samvadi notes and nyas notes and explore them thoroughly. He or she will do this up until the taar saptak or taara sthayi and then explore the top notes after top SA and come back down the avaroh. The voice is very smooth flowing from note to note throughout all of this. This is what happens in the first part of the piece of hindustani music called vilambit. This at least takes 20 to 25 minutes in the first section of the vilambit which is in slow pace. Bolalaap can be equivalent to nerval in the first speed. Then the musician will speed up a bit and sing what is called bolbaant which is basically singing the Sahityam of the composition in a slightly faster speed to fit into the taal. This could be equivalent to singing nerval in second or third speed. He or she will pay around with the words of the composition and the tempo also. Then after bolbaant there will be sargams, which is equivalent to Kalpana swaram, and then he our she will sing taans. All of this put together will add up to at least 50 minutes for just vilambit. This is the basic structure of how a vilambit composition is sung in hindustani recital. After taans in the vilambit are sung, then a madhyalay or drut composition is introduced. This composition is mostly for sargams and taans. This composition will be in medium tempo or fast tempo since all of the slow part and raag exploration was already done in the vilambit. Taans are subtle and gamaks and oscillations are subtle. These ornamentations and oscillations include meend, murki, andolan, khatka, gamak etc.. Some artists will also sing a composition called tarana which is equivalent to the Carnatic thillana. This piece will be in drut speed and this composition is only for taans. Again everything is very subtle. All of this will be in one raag and that will take at least 40 to 55 minutes or close to an hour. Then lighter pieces will be sung like thumri, tappa, and the hindustani recital will end with a bhajan in raag bhairavi in the hindustani style. All of these pieces are sung with full bhav and emotion. Tappa is a style that requires a lot of breath control because it is a style sung with short and knotty taans. Through all of this the voice is very sweet and subtle. I have been an advanced student of hindustani vocal for the past 7 years and I learnt up to intermediate hindustani vocal in my younger days for 7 years, and this sweetness is what I am trying to develop. Carnatic music gives more importance to Sahityam and bhavam, although the ragam is also given importance. This is because carnatic music is more composition based. There are more pieces sung in a carnatic recital than in a hindustani recital. The gamakams in Carnatic music are a little more forceful than the subtle ornamentations in hindustani music. The krithi is given all of the improvisation like raga alapana, nerval and swaram. But only the main piece will go for at least half hour to forty minutes. All other pieces will be finished in fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, durations depending on raga alapana, nerval and swarams. So all of this will add up to a two to two and half hour Carnatic recital. I have had training in Carnatic vocal also. Therefore, I am familiar with both.

Pallavisree1976
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#182 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Pallavisree1976 »

Hindustani music sounds sweeter because hindustani music is a gradual slow process of singing. One goes note by note. He or she really takes his or her time to go through all the notes in a raag. The raag is given more importance than the wordings or the Sahityam. The raga bhava is gradually brought out slowly with slow glides, and curves, oscillations and slides, and slight very subtle gamaks here and there. The musician will explore the raag through alaap, and bolalaap during this time. He or she will do what is called swar badath which means to take each prominent vadi and samvadi notes and nyas notes and explore them thoroughly. He or she will do this up until the taar saptak or taara sthayi and then explore the top notes after top SA and come back down the avaroh. The voice is very smooth flowing from note to note throughout all of this. This is what happens in the first part of the piece of hindustani music called vilambit. This at least takes 20 to 25 minutes in the first section of the vilambit which is in slow pace. Bolalaap can be equivalent to nerval in the first speed. Then the musician will speed up a bit and sing what is called bolbaant which is basically singing the Sahityam of the composition in a slightly faster speed to fit into the taal. This could be equivalent to singing nerval in second or third speed. He or she will pay around with the words of the composition and the tempo also. Then after bolbaant there will be sargams, which is equivalent to Kalpana swaram, and then he our she will sing taans. All of this put together will add up to at least 50 minutes for just vilambit. This is the basic structure of how a vilambit composition is sung in hindustani recital. After taans in the vilambit are sung, then a madhyalay or drut composition is introduced. This composition is mostly for sargams and taans. This composition will be in medium tempo or fast tempo since all of the slow part and raag exploration was already done in the vilambit. Taans are subtle and gamaks and oscillations are subtle. These ornamentations and oscillations include meend, murki, andolan, khatka, gamak etc.. Some artists will also sing a composition called tarana which is equivalent to the Carnatic thillana. This piece will be in drut speed and this composition is only for taans. Again everything is very subtle. All of this will be in one raag and that will take at least 40 to 55 minutes or close to an hour. Then lighter pieces will be sung like thumri, tappa, and the hindustani recital will end with a bhajan in raag bhairavi in the hindustani style. All of these pieces are sung with full bhav and emotion. Tappa is a style that requires a lot of breath control because it is a style sung with short and knotty taans. Through all of this the voice is very sweet and subtle. I have been an advanced student of hindustani vocal for the past 7 years and I learnt up to intermediate hindustani vocal in my younger days for 7 years, and this sweetness is what I am trying to develop. Carnatic music gives more importance to Sahityam and bhavam, although the ragam is also given importance. This is because carnatic music is more composition based. There are more pieces sung in a carnatic recital than in a hindustani recital. The gamakams in Carnatic music are a little more forceful than the subtle ornamentations in hindustani music. The krithi is given all of the improvisation like raga alapana, nerval and swaram. But only the main piece will go for at least half hour to forty minutes. All other pieces will be finished in fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, durations depending on raga alapana, nerval and swarams. So all of this will add up to a two to two and half hour Carnatic recital. I have had training in Carnatic vocal also. Therefore, I am familiar with both styles of music. Hindustani music sounds sweeter because the hindustani teachers teach in a particular way that teaches the student’s voice to have sweeter voice modulations sung in a particular way.

Pallavisree1976
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#183 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Pallavisree1976 »

Hindustani music singers train to sing at a higher pitch like A sharp or A. The starting pitch for a female singer is khali char( black 4 ) on the harmonium which is 6 kattai or khali paach (black 5) on the harmonium. A good hindustani female singer will be able to reach high pancham in either of these scales. Some female singers can sing at scale B. The hindustani singer pundita ashwini bhide deshpande sings in scale B. She has a very high Scale. I have been taking advanced hindustani vocal lessons for the past 7 years and my pitch is A sharp.

RSR
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#184 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

This thread is supposed to compare CM and HM.
( and not CM vocalists and HM vocalists)
------------------------------------
Just now went through all the posts, Except mine, (158?) all the posts are about vocalists and voice culture. as if CM and HM are all about vocal music.
-------------------------------
As a self-taught Esraj hobbyist of decades-back years, , I have the following observation.
Simple scheme S R1 R2 G1 G2 M1 M2 P D1 D2 N1 N2 S
---------------------------------------------------------
The 72 MK scheme in CM is just a mathematical approach.
And so, some of the parent scales have r1 r2, g1 g2, di d2 and n1 n2 in succession. This is not desirable and such scales are known as Vivadi meLas. The number of such Vivadi MeLas is quite large! ( 40 out of 72).
-------------------------------------------------------
The great thing about Hindusthani Music is that all its TEN parent scales are non-vivadi!
It may be the reason why HM ragams are more pleasing and emotive.

The CM equivalent are Harikambodhi, Karaharapriya, SubapanthuvaraalI, panthuvaraaLI, mAyaamaaLavagowLa, KalyaaNi, Sankarabaranam, Todi,
Natabairavi, Gamanasrama
======================================
A careful analysis of the ragas used by the TRINITY ( Shyama Sastry, Thyagaraja Swami, and Muthuswami Dikshithar, will reveal the fact that most of their songs are based on non-vivadi scales.
Vey few , just as a show of creatibvity and experimentation , are based on vivadi-scales.

VARALI and NAATTAI are famous ragams in CM, THOUGH THEY ARE VIVADI SCALES but they are exceptions.
------------------

Nick H
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#185 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Nick H »

RSR wrote: 11 Jun 2020, 13:09 This thread is supposed to compare CM and HM.
( and not CM vocalists and HM vocalists)
------------------------------------
Just now went through all the posts, Except mine, (158?) all the posts are about vocalists and voice culture. as if CM and HM are all about vocal music.
-------------------------------
If it is about sound, then voice is certainly a part of that. But the lack of discussion of instrumental music is a good point. I feel too lazy to check the whole thread, but have we not mentioned that instrumental music is given equal place in the northern classical musics? I don't recall any HM listener (in my small experience) saying that they want to listen to vocal music and find instrumental music hard to listen to.

shankarank
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#186 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

The tamizh country, the chief patron of kaRnATaka sangIta, had literates and then some intellectuals , post the early colonization of the Carnatic by the British right after Bengal.

The typical connoisseur of kaRnAtaka sangIta demands production of ideas in a rAgA in quick succession and has no patience. Explained by thin attendance to the music of MDR and Smt. T. Brinda.

SangIta Sastra has intellection built into it. But this is different. The very enjoyment of a rAgA in an Alpana, bereft of even tALA-laya (there is still laya in Alapana), or sAhitya, had already been intellectualized. Sound matters. But a good enough voice , which can navigate rAga contours is good enough! There is no specific enjoyment of sound production per se!

For the new Intellect, the idea density of an Alapana performance matters!

Even as this happened, the literate ( not of high intellect!) and the illiterate sections patronized old forms like nAgasvaram and other forms of music.

Then came the post colonial literate generation armed by the subversive movie culture and it's "lyrics" set to music. This is just a literate generation.

1) It ( I will call it with that inanimate pronoun) started complaining that the songs are in some incomprehensible language.

2) The betel filled bhagavathars slur on the words! Words are not clear unlike the movie song.

3) An ordinary college educated Joe of the 80s in the south of TN, who did not develop a taste for Carnatic music will make a bhAtkanDE like statement - i.e. Carnatic music is Aye, Aye singing. This in front of Keralites who happen to come into neighborhood, because a Public sector undertaking of that state, came into the neighborhood. Those employees would at least be listening to a nice "utRADap pU nilAvE vA" by K.J. Yesudas. At least.

4) It also got a "mana" garvam ( we are people who can read/write/think rationally - so says the political vibes of the times) along with "jana" garvam ( we are all people of a language xyz).

5) It had a self fascination that it can "understand" lyrics. And whatever it understands feeds into it's emotions and moods.

6) It stopped patronizing instrumental music - there are no words you see.

7) Then it went for titillation of "sweet" crooning voices and sub standard numbers! - the musicians themselves called it "the current trend!" - further making it a consumerist body of what is already an "it".

8) Musicians and aficionados, themselves now felt constrained by all of this, the SastrIya, the "lyrics" and everything! They have had it. "Why aren't people listening to my Alapana? Why there is no more Pallavi singing?" Etc. Etc.

And all of this is nothing to do with HM being sweeter. I know an IIT classmate from the state of UP, a Mishra last name, in the 1980(s) , who said "Nobody listens to classical music in the North". If he could make to it to the institute, he must be from the "aware" section of society if not "upper" and if he felt so, then that is indeed a true picture. I conclude that even HM was NOT popular in the North, even if the musicians were richly patronized by some rich donors. The crowds even if sizeable, cannot pay for their rich lifestyle ever!

Nick H
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#187 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by Nick H »

As ever, we return to a base point that says that 'serious' art forms are minority interests. Much as we try to tell those outside of the minority, "Do try it: you will enjoy!" they don't much come. Some don't come because they see the mentioned minor as elite and literally exclusive; many don't come because they have heard snippets and they actually do not like what they heard. That is our bottom line.

But then we have the difference, in India, oh HM/CM.

shankarank
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#188 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

I was not talking of the majority "out there". I was talking about everybody inside the system and those that encountered it, came close to it, - how they viewed it. One doesn't have to like anything here!

Lot of people have ear for music (in general), more than we think and lot of people like classical music, more than we think. But we seem to have made an assumption that a certain type of music is more appealing and better for some specific reason.

I am trying to question that and see in what ways Carnatic music has established itself first. We claim that people are educated, reasoning, knowing and more enlightened than before. If that is true, we need to see how that played out. How much people invest to knowing a system and how many blocks they bring with them?

Words like "serious art", "elite" - I don't know how you came to use it. The history of the music even during the last 100 years belied that. You can reflect on various discussions in the forum, old photographs etc.

A music that was like this: https://carnaticmusicreview.files.wordp ... g_0533.jpg - Now we are into doubting, if the music is sweet at all.

I am not a fan of his or like that sound, but at that time people flocked around and stood/sat there for hours. No I am not into promoting his music. In fact I never much heard his records. Whatever it may be. I consider that part of my heritage, irrespective of whether I personally like that or not.

How did we end up here? People with so called "true" voice culture were here actually. But nobody came! That is in the bastion of music, not some country side.

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#189 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

( by way of response to post at 186)
We do not have much information about the CM culture before 1750.
( roughly the period of the Trinity). ( and East India Company). but Temple music culture should have existed for at least 1000 years before that. in Tamilnadu. and common people all over the state had the great opportunity to listen to classical music especially raga allaapanai through nagaswaram players in temple processions. With nearly thousand well-endowed temples, spread out all over the state, common people had sufficient opportunity to listen to good classical music. It was not confined to Cauvery delta. The religious mutts had patronized great performers. and the feudal princes , whether of small or big areas, were themselves great scholars and even performers and invariably supported and rewarded people of talent in whatever field, be it music or literature or martial arts. and most people were also pious and praying and listening to devotion hymns in temples set to chaste ancient ragams and literary excellence , must have surely been the norm. Out of hundred such, at least ten should have gained knowledge of everything that matters in classical music- ragam, layam, literary lyrics and spiritual themes. In Thiruvaroor, it is said that the Nagaswaram players would play just one ragam for a day ! so elaborately!
Let us avoid calling them illiterate ignoramus. The Nagaswaram and Tavil players even in the late decades from 1850 to 1950, were much respected by senior CM artistes
Even prior to the times of the Trinity, it is well known that another stream of Harikatha exponents , nAma sankeertaham groups and non-professional drama troupes held numerous functions . thus giving non-professional common people exposure to classical music and literature. So, we cannot dismiss all of them as illiterate idiots. Literacy has nothing to do with ear for good music.
Thyagaraja Swami himself was a product of Nama sankeerthanam movement . He must have been a very good vocalist also besides being a lyricist and music composer. During his last decades ' tour of some places on the invitation of Upanishad Bramhmam, he is said to have sung an AlApanA for hours together.
It is hard to come by any mention of the names of percussion artistes of those times. Violin was unknown. Flute, veeNa and Nagaswaram must have been the only instruments. MD sang with VeeNa.
From 1750, almost all the brahmin households had womenfolk well versed in classical music and all the functions domestic or religious had them singing good songs though they were not allowed to perform in public. It was obligatory for young girls to learn music.
either vocal or veeNa
Isai velaaLar gents were not lagging behind. How could they- being the original stream of tamizh classical music tradition? and they performed mostly in temples and temple processions. We would not have had modern gadgets like mike set and recording facilities.
So, the only way of transmission was oral. and gurukula vaasam.
Even in the days of AruNaachala Kavi, wax it not the village opera the medium? Was not the opera of GopAlakrushna Barathy famous in his times?
In the next generation, vocalists like Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan and his elder brother Ramaswami Sivan , Patnam Subramanya Iyer, and a host of second generation of Thyagaraja Swami's disciples, made a career for themselves patronized mostly by zamindars, religious heads and rich businessmen.
It was only with the advent of Films around 1930, ( upto 1950)
at least a watered down version of CM could reach the common people and the impact was truly phenomenal. It was felt by even gurukula-trained CM Vidwans.
And the introduction of Gramaphone made very fine music available to people in remote corners of the country. ( applies equally to great HM vocalists too).
If the trend had continued, perhaps, CM literacy in the countryside today would have been enormous but to reach the people, it is better that the lyrics are in a language understood by the film-goers, ( not essential however, as the huge number of fans of k.l.saigal and Lata Mangeshkar would attest for the fact. It is the tune and rendering that matters( of decent lyrics and based as closely on the music of the Trinity as possible. We cannot have an allapana of one hour in a film of duration of three hours.
The time constraint and the change in the complexion of the audience in Chennai from 1930 onwards, forced the musicians to change the emphasis. Thus was born the ARI format.
With the advent of youtube and numerous other social media for preserving and propagating 'true' classical music - depending on one's exposure, training, preference and values, the concert format in urban centers catering to middle-aged / senior citizens of bygone era also is bound to change , within a decade.
Thus preservation of whatever good music was available from 1900 to 2000 as digital media and sharing, has become more important than name-calling. and elitism.
How to popularize without diluting is a challenge.
No amount of voice-training can create another EARLY Lata, or MSS or DKP or NCV. It is a god-given gift. How the artistes use them and for what purpose, sets them apart.
Let us not call them 'athukal'. . ( inanimates!)

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#190 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

Sir, I did not connote illiteracy with idiocy. My categorization is something that is used in mainstream discourse, not the language of deep learners like you, more like what is used for UN Development index. Being literate is good for operating a bank account. I actually found that out, the first day of work in the U.S. As we waited to get our temporary passes to enter the building, the security guard was frowning : "These guys arrive one after another, they have bank accounts! etc. etc....".

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#191 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

in response to @190

Is illiterate a bad word?
------------------
If illiteracy means 'inability to read and write', we are all, illiterate because it is a question of language too. One may know his mother tongue but may be all at sea in another language like English, or Bengali or Sanskrit/ Greek/ Latin. The proper meaning is inability to read and write in one's own mother tongue.
In any other context , it is definitely offensive usage, best avoided .
A quote
point of euphemistic speech is to avoid using words that some hearers might find vulgar, offensive, or otherwise unpleasant—and it can hardly be denied that, in a society that prizes literacy, illiterate has negative connotations. Indeed, for hundreds of years, writers have often used it as part of extended insults, which is how pejorative senses of objectively neutral words gain their teeth

shankarank
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#192 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

That is good! Good standard. Mainstream discourse (the one that prizes literacy!) has taken upon itself NOT to follow such standards when talking about traditions, heritage and the past. The traditional standards are even more stringent, but the latter don't afford freedom of speech and are deemed oppressive anyways - by the mainstream discourse!

And many such questions about music are being asked based on people prepped by the mainstream discourse. Therefore the response has to be based on their language/understandings.

If it sounds offensive, it provides an opportunity to all to think about how offensive our notions and questions will sound, to our ancestors!

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#193 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

@166
@thenpaanan
I am not sure which record this is but these are the "top hits" of DKP so I have listened to all these songs from her various times. But one big caveat I should make about my comments is that I only talk about the average not of specific concerts or records or such. DKP was, of course, an unparalleled musician who has delivered top tier music across six decades or more. That said, I still think that the young DKP sang more smoothly then the older DKP
That said, I still think that the young DKP sang more smoothly then the older DKP
Yes. Her finest music was given in the 1940-1950 decade. as solo gramaphone records.
It is not easy to get them these days. I have uploaded a few classics from old records. at
https://sites.google.com/site/dkpattammalsongs/

You may like them.

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#194 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

RSR wrote: 13 Jun 2020, 10:21 Thyagaraja Swami himself was a product of Nama sankeerthanam movement . He must have been a very good vocalist also besides being a lyricist and music composer. During his last decades ' tour of some places on the invitation of Upanishad Bramhmam, he is said to have sung an AlApanA for hours together.
Lets not discount the role of sangIta SAstram preserved and handed to him by his preceptors. If SAstra is received diligently and practiced that is devotion enough - to begin with.
RSR wrote: 13 Jun 2020, 10:21 It is hard to come by any mention of the names of percussion artistes of those times. Violin was unknown. Flute, veeNa and Nagaswaram must have been the only instruments. MD sang with VeeNa.
Percussion may not have been there in the form we know now! It was there embedded in the laya of compositions. If they didn't have a sense of it , why did they put such exquisite meters in their compositions? Percussion accompanying the musical phrase was started by Mani Iyer. You do get to hear about Narayanaswamy Appa. But he didn't magically appear one day. Unless it was spurious kriti, SrI tyAgaraja has a song on it. The instrument was there!.

https://www.thehindu.com/features/frida ... 682713.ece
I have heard my grandfather talk about Mani Iyer for hours together. He used to say, “It was Mani Iyer who started the present trend of the mridangam playing, not just keeping the time with tekkas and moras, but actively accompanying the musical phrasing.”
RSR wrote: 13 Jun 2020, 10:21 In the next generation, vocalists like Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan and his elder brother Ramaswami Sivan , Patnam Subramanya Iyer, and a host of second generation of Thyagaraja Swami's disciples, made a career for themselves patronized mostly by zamindars, religious heads and rich businessmen.
That has NOT changed much! There are still patrons and there are/were patrons representative of old ways of patronage - like Nalli Chettiar and Obul Reddy. In fact rasikatvam is a profession now. For rasikas it is work - part time, some even full time. The ticket price is like "Tax withholding", that's it. The latter cannot pay for the buildings, their upkeep etc.

Now in comparison with HM, CM lost a support that was there during even ARI days. The nagarthaars. As Annamalai Chettiar went to create tamizh isai sangam. I am sure the baniyas ( a word of tamizh origin : vaNikar) or whoever is well to do, is behind the grand appearance of HM even today - not it's proposed "popularity" or ticket sales!

And the aficionados of CM, let this happen and got into a brawl also! Simple question to ask would have been , is it tamizh isai or isai tamizh? I.E language is music. Well , well, well , Ahem! - "Mridangam is NOT music" - Great conclusion isn't it!!!

And Nalli Chettiar, the last remaining one, was not welcome to "win" the elections of the Music Academy! "A certain textile merchant was trying to take over the Music Academy" read the news coverage in the "The Hindu" - 2002 season IIRC.

And what about sacredness of language. Sanskrit is dEva bhAsha! Is it really about Sanskrit?? During vEdic times, the name Sanskrit itself was not there. It was candas by the time of pANiNi. And lOke for what is out there! It is sanskrit with a small "s". Telugu, kannaDa, Malayalam and tamizh are "sanskrit".

The plain English translation of that is "Sound is sacred". Well, the merchants have figured out the consumers. Brand names work!!!

Are we the great descendants of a philosophical system?? Hello!!!
RSR wrote: 13 Jun 2020, 10:21 No amount of voice-training can create another EARLY Lata, or MSS or DKP or NCV. It is a god-given gift.
Here you should first note the difference between Tone and timbre as well. Timbre is the texture of the voice - a smooth Scratch/rasp-free voice. You will see for example , people complaining about gruffiness of some musicians. Popular musicians have good timbre and that makes some of them popular in movie music as well.

Tone is the harmonic richness of the voice, how a specific pitch is heard. This can be independent of timbre! Even nasal musicians like SSI can produce a good full rounded tone. Prof. SRJ sang even in an advanced age at 2-kaTTai Sruthi and produced good tone, even as he described his voice is gruffy.

In fact this is the key aspect of the discussion. To recap @thenpaanan - We don't know how the greats developed their voices. May be their greatness itself helped, progressively. And that is true of any popular artiste like TMK for example. Even if they have a good tone, that is not what even a untrained rasika may notice. Their persona and appeal may drown that aspect out. And if you are a fan of theirs that will be another block.

My adolescent fetish was K.J Yesudas, even if I had exposure to nAma sankIrtan. When you get captured in an age when your own voice is breaking, you see yourself in a certain musician.

The key is to seek less popular musicians with a good tone, and listen in quietude, where there is less distraction from other things. Not that I deliberately want "less" crowd here. Rather I want a sustaining system of a decent listener support - about 150/200.

Among youngsters , Ramakrishna Murthy and Bharat Sundar have good voices on the male side. Yet you can see comments on youtube, noticing a scratch in their voice. Female musicians, looks like, have a greater threshold here. One expects all of them to have a pleasing voice - a minimum viable level - by default!

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#195 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by thenpaanan »

For a generic question like why one system sounds sweeter than the other when each system is an ocean in itself, there can be no meaningful answers. The answers will have to encompass the entire listener experience, historical background, etc. We have to focus on the question more narrowly in terms of the listened experience and what we can observe in the two training systems.

From what I see in my daughters' learning of Hindustani music I can perceive that the pedagogy is quite different from what could be described as traditional Carnatic training, which we are all familiar with. The implicit (and perhaps unstudied) implications of these differences is quite substantial. Take for example, voice production. I see that there is a deliberate effort in HM to teach voice production. It is nowhere as elaborate and systematic as in Western music but compared to Carnatic music teaching it seems quite advanced. I am not talking complex training either, just simple things like listening to a tambura, singing to pitch, holding a note, opening your mouth, etc. In carnatic music the beginning student falls in to the cadence of learning the "varisai" corpus, which is treated as a rite of passage rather than as an instrument of musical training. If at all much later in life when you become an advanced student you realize the benefit of those patterns but the connection is extremely tenuous. As a result, a typical one-year student of Carnatic music will have several varisais and even alankArams and one or two geetams under their belt, while the HM student will still be singing their second chota khayal. My HM friends tell me admiringly that "CM has such a great systematic way of training students." I am not sure that is such a great thing as our HM friends believe. I believe this practice of teaching varisais (mostly to be forgotten later) in the beginning fosters a mentality of learning "by the numbers" which manifests in later life as a desire to learn/perform hundreds of kritis rather than to delve deep into the subtler aspects of the music. This probably has some effect of how our artists think of CM as an art and how it should be presented.

In both systems the teacher exhorts the student to imitate. That works to some extent but more due to the amazing flexibility of the human voice than anything else. The evidence for this is available in plain sight when you compare children taking Carnatic classes for the first time with adults doing the same. You can see the huge challenge (largely unmet) of teaching adults to sing Carnatic music. Very few adults (compared to children) learn to proficiency. That tells me that children learn Carnatic music well enough not because the system works well but because children have extraordinarily pliable voices in general and they can do anything their teachers tell them to do. In HM teachers seem to ritualize voice production to a great extent (some even call it a fetish but I don't mind it at all). Even in concerts, you see the vocalist taking a great deal of time in the beginning of the concert showing off their voice (or "setting the mood", depending on your bias). Because of this ritual I think every student learns from the beginning without being told, the importance of a good sounding voice.

The third point, is that CM likes to put the complexity on the surface. So much so, CM artists have tended to want to show off their "vidwat" without which they don't get applause. These days this tends to be oriented on fast singing and long passages of pre-calculated swarams. Sounding good naturally takes a back seat. This singing to the gallery phenomenon seems to be true in HM also -- there are many artists who are all about showing off virtuosity but the presentation structure does not allow them to start with fireworks, they have to build up to it, and their fireworks are more about vocal agility rather than arithmetic. The evidence for this observation is in the contrast with HM instrumental concerts -- a sitar presentation will be heavily loaded with fast taans and rounds and rounds of very long pre-calculated swara passages which you do not find so much in vocal concerts. Somehow it sounds sweeter when an instrument plays ultra-long fast passages than when a singer sings the same thing
.

-T

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#196 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by sankark »


shankarank
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#197 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

Yes Sir!. Finally.

Compared to Western Music - Hindustani music is folk! Compared to HM, CM is Folk! Ghazals are popular. Within CM, heaviest of the heavy is reserved for Chamber. And compared to CM - Folk music is finally the real folk.

Folk music can be digested into Western tunes, with a tinge of classical or unknown source ( light, heavy, HM CM ) mixed in and isai gnanam is finally attained! An isai gnani is born!

Subaltern theory operates like that! As you progress from right to left on my sentence above, you are progressing! Many of your examples are folk music in the cloak of a CM rAgA!

It depends on whose world view it is. Do Indians and in particular South Indians have a "world" view?

When the world talks about "genres" and the glitteratti pronounce that word "genre" with a drawl in front of media , you know there is a problem brewing! They have NO moral right to classify such things! That form of knowledge theft and production is offensive.

The word kaRnATaka sampradAya can be uttered only by a Guru to a disciple in the first class!

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#198 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by sankark »

shankarank wrote: 16 Jun 2020, 05:33 Yes Sir!. Finally.

Compared to Western Music - Hindustani music is folk! Compared to HM, CM is Folk! Ghazals are popular. Within CM, heaviest of the heavy is reserved for Chamber. And compared to CM - Folk music is finally the real folk.
I am left scratching my head: is this trolling with capital T. Or are you just serious?

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#199 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by RSR »

@194
Which came first? Literature or Grammar?
We have a 5000 years history. Spontaneous outburst by a few is the basis on which Grammar rules are created.. After Grammar gains acceptance, other creative people bring out their own works without breaking Grammar ( as far as possible ) When Grammar becomes a hindrance to creativity, trail-blazers do not hesitate to break the shackles of Grammar. Among thousands of Grammar pundits, there are very few trend-setters. It is a dialectical process. Does not mean that all people who break the Grammar rules are creative writers, however.
Great creative souls are found in both camps, (ie) scholars and natural genius.
Shakespeare broke many of the traditions..chiefly mixing of Latin in writings, as was the practice among his contemporaries. ( even French). However ,Bacon's essays with plenty of Latin phrases , are equally valued.
Smt.MS, Smt.DKP and Smt.NCV , Smt.KBSundaraambaal were natural vocalists, like Sri.GNB and SG Kittappa.
( No gurukula training) . The other greats of the same period like MaNi Iyer, Musiri and Chembai were of the trained tradition.
Instrumental classical music, rather than vocal music, brings out the difference more forcefully. Examples like Flute Mali.

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#200 Re: Why HM sounds sweeter

Post by shankarank »

sankark wrote: 16 Jun 2020, 21:01
shankarank wrote: 16 Jun 2020, 05:33 Yes Sir!. Finally.

Compared to Western Music - Hindustani music is folk! Compared to HM, CM is Folk! Ghazals are popular. Within CM, heaviest of the heavy is reserved for Chamber. And compared to CM - Folk music is finally the real folk.
I am left scratching my head: is this trolling with capital T. Or are you just serious?
Well you should follow the media discourse, and many questions and comments made here are the direct result of how classification is done out there! The very thread opened based on one such report. It assumes that a certain voice culture is automatically the best, when in fact that voice belongs "IN THAT" sampradAya and trying to do that, elsewhere will alter the fundamental pursuit of another "sampradAya".

Sampradaayas must be respected!! When musicians go and talk to media out there, they should NOT acknowledge the authority of the media to question anything and questions that are asked in ignorance and without respect must be dismissed! Any entity MUST put vidvans on higher pedestal when talking to them!!!

With all that voice culture, Hindustani will be in the "ethno" music department after all, once it is out of the country! Then why all this bragging!

And in your question, when you asked which one we are talking about - did you have a classification in mind? Or are all of them same - CM that is! All of them are quite old, even keeping to vocal genre! What about contemporary? Standards have risen? - fallen?

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