Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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#51 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by ganesh_mourthy »

uday_shankar wrote: 03 Aug 2018, 18:37
sureshvv wrote: 03 Aug 2018, 08:24Spoken like a guy carrying an ohm-meter :D

For kids, I can say that there's much greater joy/happiness in "doing" things, including making music, than having their stuff packaged by adults. To that extent, whatever enables happiness in simple, wholesome ways, for our kids should be a priority.

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#52 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by sureshvv »

uday_shankar wrote: 03 Aug 2018, 18:37
So yeah, I take back my comments about Kuldeep Pai... it's his way in the modern world. Technological air brushing of the limitations, if any, of my sAdhana or an unnatural enhancement of it, is not my dharma... there too we can argue where to draw the line... is it OK to practice with a shruti box and tala machine (guilty as charged !)...
Kuldeep Pai's channel is called "Vande Guru Paramparaam". I see that as a "statement of values". I am not sure about the technological air brushing. I will accept your words that they are present. But my enjoyment of the video is definitely not for the pristine xxx MHz frequency of the Sa or the Ga. I see the videos as presenting our spiritual music in its intended form - a celebration of spirituality. The choice of songs and artistes who present these songs certainly conveys this intent clearly to me. I am not listening to this music with just my ears.

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#53 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by rshankar »

Going back to the original question asked by Sachi, first off, here is Sriram Emani's description of Indian Raga, Raga Labs etc., and their purpose. Many of the Indian Raga clips are from the US and countries outside of India - IMO, this enterprise gives the children in these countries a 'high' about the music and dance that they do like, but are afraid to publicly acknowledge because it makes them weirder than their buddies, adding to the stress of an already horrendous pubertal period. These fellowships provide them with the right environment to meet others like themselves, enjoy their music and dance in the open, experiment, and exchange ideas, and yes, create videos (that the nit-picky call 'plastic') - videos that give these children enormous pleasure and gives a unique twist to "I know what you did this summer" projects....

Coming to 'plastic' - I'd much rather they be plastic - i.e., retain their new state of awareness and happiness and fulfillment after the program, than be 'elastic' - i.e., go back to their original state of feeling weird....

Do I think all their projects are great? Of course not. But youtube is filled with so much trash, that in the general scheme of things there are so many more clips (of music and dance) that are several orders of magnitude worse than the worst offerings from Indian Raga....

PS: Please note that my comments are confined to the Indian Raga/Raga Labs clips only.

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#54 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by kvchellappa »

Last edited by kvchellappa on 04 Aug 2018, 08:32, edited 1 time in total.

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#55 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by Sachi_R »

Thank you

True to your calling as a medicine man, you have highlighted the therapeutic/catharctic aspect.

I now readily applaud this effort for how it brings kids together, teaches them Indian music, and makes them perform and shine in what I already described as the most powerful medium of exposure today.

Perhaps we should leave it there.

My discomfiture was occasioned by You Tube's popping up these videos and my listening/watching them with a cognitive dissonance mainly because my mood was misaligned perhaps.

As you said, there is so much going on. As long as intentions are positive, we should applaud these efforts as worthwhile.

I already said as much: I am able to see the positives in Kuldeep M Pai's music channel.

One thing Raga Labs etc. can do perhaps is to have the equivalent of a Kuldeep M Pai who brings these together under some umbrella, thematic maybe, content category, level of accomplishment/seniority of artistes, etc. Coming to think of it, but there was one such Raga Labs? upload by Havaldar in Yaman. Done in Bangalore.

The word plastic was used by me after thought. What I described as plastic is surely very different from what is organic.

Imagine eating a dosa wrapped in plastic. Vs. Enjoying the aromas from the kitchen, relishing the sounds of chutney and sambar etc.being made, and then sitting down to a dosa feast.

There surely is a place for eating dosas wrapped in plastic. My sister in law had worked in DFRL to make chappatis that would last a winter wrapped in plastic at Siachen heights (-50 Celsius) and feed the soldiers.

So thank you for putting this in context. For me the purpose of this thread has been served!

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#56 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by uday_shankar »

I don't think it is good to be so blase about something so fundamental as the use of auto tune. I urge everyone to read the section on "Reception" both "negative" and "positive" in the following wikipedia page on auto tune, to understand the debate that rages in pop music of all things, where usually anything goes, about the use of auto tune:

Needless to say, auto tune in WCM is laughable.

Carnatic music suffers due to the use of inappropriate technology as well as the inappropriate use of technology. If one is an insider, this may not be apparent. Carnatic katcheris are excessively loud, distorted and unaesthetic by any widely held cross cultural standards, even if majority of rasikas attending them are blissfully unaware. To give another analogy, one has to only step out of India, even to Pakistan I am told, to realize the ghastliness of the use of automobile horns in India. The acoustic vina / plucked string instrument is practically dead in Carnatic music, while WCM practitioners vie with one another to obtain million dollar Stradivari violins and Sitarists, Sarodists, Sarangi players, Dilruba players, etc... go to enormous lengths to preserve the original sounds of their instruments.

If we are blase about the reckless use of auto tune, it is possible that Carnatic vocalists of the near future will walk around with a portable real time auto tune box, just like vina players walk around with a guitar amplifier. Meanwhile, "experts" in the Music Academy will be holding debates about the pristine 22 shrutis of Carnatic music.

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#57 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by Sachi_R »

Thanks for pointing us to this.
I read some years ago about Auto-tune and remember your references earlier.

I find this an "earth-shaking" revelation:
Auto-Tune was initially created by Andy Hildebrand, an electrical engineer. Hildebrand developed methods for interpreting seismic data and subsequently realized that the technology could be used to detect, analyze, and modify the pitch in audio files.
There was a proverb that a dancer who can't dance well blames the floor. Now this new technology seems to correct the dance by moving the floor itself, metaphorically! Wow.

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#58 Re: Help! I need to understand this Raga Labs stuff

Post by uday_shankar »

Came across the following conversation in Quora, regarding western classical music: ... ical-music

Sometimes Quora doesn't load properly, so here's the entire conversation cut and paste and formatted ... very informative:

Question: Has Auto-Tune ever been used in classical music?

Pat Jackman, Performing arts sound designer Answered Jan 17, 2011:
I've done it! Although professionalism will not allow me to name the performers or the pieces! ;-) All I'm saying is that said recordings were broadcast a considerable number of times on national radio in Ireland and Britain and nobody ever commented or even noticed!

JG McLean Sep 28, 2011:
Are you talking about vocal performances or instrumental? Given classical miking techniques, how would you separate out one instrument for tuning?

Pat Jackman Sep 29, 2011:
It was a choral performance. The pitching problem was with a section of a live choral performance, the choir sang a capella for one part, when the organ came back in they had been ever so slightly under the note. It wasn't that bad, jarring to anyone with a good ear, but the director and I couldn't bear it, and we decided we could not let it out like that, especially as the choir were quite well known. More in hope than anything I applied autotune to the entire choir as sparingly as possible across the last few bars in order to bolster it up, anyway it worked, after a fashion, though I did not expect it to.

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