Music and change

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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kvchellappa
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#1 Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

(I am posting this in a separate thread not to mar the serious discussion in the other thread).
Anything that flows will change its course. A river for instance.
Music is a flow and will change its course over time. It may not be possible to keep it in a fixed form.
Music is created by musicians, not by critics and commentators. A musician’s creation will survive the critic’s comments.
Creation is blind to others and proceeds bursting the barriers. It has the urge to manifest in some new form from the old stuff.
What matters is whether it is chitha-ranjani!

vgovindan
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#2 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »


sureshvv
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#3 Re: Music and change

Post by sureshvv »

It can also be hamsa nadam.

vgovindan
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#4 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »


rshankar
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#5 Re: Music and change

Post by rshankar »

sureshvv wrote: 12 Oct 2018, 20:16It can also be hamsa nadam.
Isn’t true hamsa nAdam (sound of a swan) a series of snorts and hisses?

sureshvv
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#6 Re: Music and change

Post by sureshvv »

I think hamsa means inner being or soul.

vgovindan
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#7 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

hamsa is the short form of aham saH. hamsa nAda - it's a rAga name, I think.

sureshvv
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#8 Re: Music and change

Post by sureshvv »

Really? Wouldn't grammar rules require dwitiya vibhakthi (objective case) of saHa?

vgovindan
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#9 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

I have read 'soham' and 'hamsa' mean 'He is Me' and 'I am He'. This is stated to represent inhaling, holding and exhaling - aka ajapA gAyatri and hence ajapA naTana at tiruvArUr - tyAgESa. References are not readily with me.

kvchellappa
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#10 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

sah aham is correct Samskrtam. (That is the constant refrain of Upanishads as in aham brahmasmi, tatvamasi, etadvai tat, etc.) In sandhi it becomes soham (different from sokam). When we repeat soham we get hamsa like repeating mara gets rama. Then we have hamasahsoham. Hamsa, the mythical bird, takes milk and rejects water. Like that a gnani takes the substance, Brahman, and rejects the world of sensory objects. That is how I understood.

Pratyaksham Bala
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#11 Re: Music and change

Post by Pratyaksham Bala »

Detailed article on हंस (hamsa) :-
https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/hamsa

"This word 'Hamsa' has manifold meanings according to different standpoints !

"It is composed of Ham (or Aham) and Sa (ha), which mean 'I' (am) 'that'. In its highest sense, it is Kālahamsa (or Parabrahman). It is also Brahmā when he has Hamsa (or swan) as the vehicle or Hamsa-vāhana. When Hamsa which is the manifestation of Prāṇa is applied to the human breath, we are said to exhale with Ha and to inhale with Sa. It is also called Ajapā-Gāyaṭrī.

"The Hamsa represents perfect union, balance and life. A constant repetition of the word 'hamso' changes it to 'Soaham', which means 'That I am'. Hence the hamsa is often identified with the Supreme Spirit or Brahman. The flight of the Hamsa also symbolizes the escape from the cycle of samsara.

"Ham-sa when inverted reads as sa-ham, which in Sanskrit means the oneness of human and the divine. During pranayama, which is a yogic exercise of breath control, the inhalation is believed sound like ham, while the exhalation is believed to sound like sa. Thus, a hamsa came to epitomize the prana, the breath of life.

etc. etc.

kvchellappa
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#12 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

Reading about limitations of improvisation, contrarian thoughts sprung in my mind.
I feel the stronger as I think further that the artist has an urge to express an idea and his creative impulse does not care for critics or constraints. TMK is perhaps right. An artist does not care for the audience either. (That is different from disrespecting the audience.) It was interesting to read in the post on TSB Sastri that janaranjakam is not offering what the audience wants, but offering what the artist has to offer in a way that reaches the audience.
I posted about brain and improvisation, where it is stated: ‘It liberates musicians from inhibitions, letting them play around with new images and combinations.’
Commenting on a lakshana for a raga, Rangaramanuja Iyengar says, ‘Lakshya does not obey the lakshana.’
It is highly arbitrary to talk of what the composer intended. That will be a secret to which only a creative artist will have the clue.
It is a happy augury for C .M. that we have a few artists who have the mettle and confidence to create and engage the audience. So many new things would not have been possible if everyone stuck to the beaten track.

thenpaanan
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#13 Re: Music and change

Post by thenpaanan »

In a random conversation with a friend recently, I observed that when I went back to listen to the kamalAmba navAvaraNams by Balamuralikrishna posted on Youtube I found the renditions highly simplified in comparison to the DKJ or Seetha Rajan versions of the same. My friend immediately responded back that BMK did this to many if not all the kritis he sang, but when he simplified the kritis he did in a way to emphasize the lyrical/emotional content that connected with his audience (remember one Telugu-speaking friend going all rapture on BMK's rendition of 'rArA mA inti' in asAvEri.) I had not personally seen it in that light but when I think of it now it seems that like our kriti singing is overloaded with gamakas, brigas, and all kinds of ornamentation that obscure the kriti. I find that TMKrishna seems to simplify the rendition of the kriti, and whether you consider it a good thing (which I do) or bad, it is nevertheless a change from business as usual. While traditional audiences in Mylapore/Music Season seem to appreciate, even demand, pyrotechnics, modern/younger audiences seem to prefer a different treatment of the traditional repertoire.

-Thenpaanan

vgovindan
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#14 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

tyAgarAja kRti - rE mAnasa cintaya - tODi

I got an email from one Dr. ST Lakshmi Kumar -

'The keertana re manasa chitantaya as rendered by you is possibly completely Sanskrit. You have given all the charanam in telugu case endings. But the pallavi is Sanskrit and all the other words are from Sanskrit. Bal murali had song this song as a Sanskrit version. And to me it appears correct.'

And my response -

'The kRti as available in all the books has the .form as given by me. It is the privilege of BMK to sing anyway he feels like. But it will not make BMK's version authentic.'

That is the 'advantage' of becoming famous.

http://thyagaraja-vaibhavam.blogspot.co ... i.html?m=1

kvchellappa
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#15 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

It all shows that there is nothing sacrosanct about a particular text. Music matters more.

vgovindan
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#16 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

kvchellappa wrote: 23 Oct 2018, 06:52 It all shows that there is nothing sacrosanct about a particular text. Music matters more.
Don't you think that it shows a contemptuous approach - both the musician and the commentator - towards lyrics? Then why take up the kRtis at all?

Isn't then double tongue to talk of IPR by musicians?

SrinathK
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#17 Re: Music and change

Post by SrinathK »

thenpaanan wrote: 22 Oct 2018, 22:20 In a random conversation with a friend recently, I observed that when I went back to listen to the kamalAmba navAvaraNams by Balamuralikrishna posted on Youtube I found the renditions highly simplified in comparison to the DKJ or Seetha Rajan versions of the same. My friend immediately responded back that BMK did this to many if not all the kritis he sang, but when he simplified the kritis he did in a way to emphasize the lyrical/emotional content that connected with his audience (remember one Telugu-speaking friend going all rapture on BMK's rendition of 'rArA mA inti' in asAvEri.) I had not personally seen it in that light but when I think of it now it seems that like our kriti singing is overloaded with gamakas, brigas, and all kinds of ornamentation that obscure the kriti. I find that TMKrishna seems to simplify the rendition of the kriti, and whether you consider it a good thing (which I do) or bad, it is nevertheless a change from business as usual. While traditional audiences in Mylapore/Music Season seem to appreciate, even demand, pyrotechnics, modern/younger audiences seem to prefer a different treatment of the traditional repertoire.

-Thenpaanan
I have always maintained that the gamaka level has increased massively in the last 150 years. BMK however chose to sing plain - and as he got older, he became plainer and totally gamaka-less. Chembai was always a plain singer, as was MMI.

TMK has also minimized his gamaka usages in singing Dikshitar krithis in the SSP style.

sureshvv
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#18 Re: Music and change

Post by sureshvv »

vgovindan wrote: 23 Oct 2018, 08:42
Don't you think that it shows a contemptuous approach - both the musician and the commentator - towards lyrics? Then why take up the kRtis at all?
Not at all. In the end, it remains a tribute to the composer that his composition (even if mutated) is sung. It is not an all-or-nothing transaction.

vgovindan
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#19 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

Condescending indeed! God bless.

kvchellappa
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#20 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

Everything is in our mind. The sanctity of something felt by one need not be felt by another.

arasi
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#21 Re: Music and change

Post by arasi »

Keeping them alive is the thing--though in an imperfect, mutated, less than perfect manner :( Of course, we expect better things from those who present the compositions.
We don't stop children from saying god's name and SlOkA-s because they mutilate the words or are paying more attention to other distractions...
Music itself can be divine. And the inspiring words in the sAhityA add to its might. If I go into a temple to worship and a priest behaves in a mean manner, my fleeting annoyance should not ruin my experience of being in that place of worship. TyAgarAjA's lyrics, however mutilated :( still remain the same. The bhakti rasA simply do not leave them because of external factors...
Still, how we wish for the ideal thing, and are entitled to it too :)

thenpaanan
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#22 Re: Music and change

Post by thenpaanan »

arasi wrote: 23 Oct 2018, 21:34 Keeping them alive is the thing--though in an imperfect, mutated, less than perfect manner :( Of course, we expect better things from those who present the compositions.
We don't stop children from saying god's name and SlOkA-s because they mutilate the words or are paying more attention to other distractions...
Music itself can be divine. And the inspiring words in the sAhityA add to its might. If I go into a temple to worship and a priest behaves in a mean manner, my fleeting annoyance should not ruin my experience of being in that place of worship. TyAgarAjA's lyrics, however mutilated :( still remain the same. The bhakti rasA simply do not leave them because of external factors...
Still, how we wish for the ideal thing, and are entitled to it too :)
What you say is true and acceptable in isolation, but the danger is when this theme collides with the 'pATAntharam' theme in CM. When we want to learn SlOkas, there are sources we could go to (relatively easily) to know the correct way to utter them. Carnatic music is on shaky ground in that respect.

-T

arasi
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#23 Re: Music and change

Post by arasi »

Tenpaanan,
I typed quickly between chores, thought later that I didn't add that there was however no excuse for not paying attention to the lyrics--especially when you take the trouble to learn the musical part of it with diligence, why not the words, their pronunciation and meaning too? Applies particularly to young learners. The seniors have imbibed flaws in ucharippu from their gurus (besides their own). More effort is needed on their part to correct themselves. Still, as you say, they have ready sources to refer to, and to correct their errors.

Govindan,
For all the tremendous work and dedication you have put into your work, and with other available resources aplenty, yes, they should get better. bhAvA in music which appeals to us no end, can't just be rAga bhAvA alone. The feeling in the lyrics should be understood and brought about too. We were all praises about Pantula Rama's recent concerts in the US. She is, to me, a shining example for practicing what we are discussing here.

vgovindan
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#24 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

arasi,
I am giving below a link on vEda chanting - probably ASIrvAdam - which has a wonderful musical element - both rAga and laya. I do not know to which category it belongs to. But, if I am not mistaken, it demonstrates the words of tyAgarAja about musical roots in vEdas.

Like all vEda chanting, this also has been more towards 'display' of vidvat, rather than the 'anubhava'. Much like vEdic chanting, now reduced to simple ritualism, music - CM - seems to be destined in the same way in the hands brahmin community which is intellectually oriented.

Music is not an intellectual exercise - it is communication - heart-speak, at least for me. I don't have any means to actually demonstrate it but can 'feel' it. That feeling - 'nAdAnubhava' happens when one's heart is saturated with, or at least has the awareness of love - the binding force of this universe.

I have given up.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 0465234462

arasi
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#25 Re: Music and change

Post by arasi »

Apath bAndhavA, anAtha rakshakA! I see no idiot box in the room, but a rap band could have jumped out of it and we see it performing there. On second thoughts, I would have preferred seeing young rappers there instead. My sanskrit is extremely limited, but I can also see that it's ASIrvAdam which is taking place. Or is it? As you say, what a display of their vidvat :( with some weird dance gestures added to it which grates on your sensibilities. Had dear Ponbhairavi been with us today, he would have penned a pungent poem about this...

Agree with you totally. You say: music is communication, heart-speak, the feeling of nAdAnubhava. That feeling
when the the heart has the awareness of love--the binding force of this universe.
What more is there to say? Except, don't give up :)

vgovindan
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#26 Re: Music and change

Post by vgovindan »

In spite of my protestations otherwise, I could not give up. There is a tyAgarAja kRti - anurAgamu lEni - sarasvati. Let the musicians take a basic lesson in that 'anurAga'; then their whole approach will be different. anurAga not as some religious fervour, but attitudinal approach.

http://thyagaraja-vaibhavam.blogspot.co ... a.html?m=1

sureshvv
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#27 Re: Music and change

Post by sureshvv »

vgovindan wrote: 24 Oct 2018, 06:44
I have given up.

Giving up is also a form of ego. Better to go with the flow :D

kvchellappa
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#28 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

Giving up is 'I go', not 'E go'!

shankarank
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#29 Re: Music and change

Post by shankarank »

vgovindan wrote: 24 Oct 2018, 06:44
I have given up.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 0465234462
My teacher used to refer to this type of chanting as "kalpita " addition later on! There are a lot of such additions after the Aagamic traditions were added into vEdic culture!

You are again mistaking laya to be periodic beat rap! Real laya stems from "sAmA" a good distribution of dhIRga / hrasva syllables.
Last edited by shankarank on 25 Oct 2018, 06:38, edited 1 time in total.

thenpaanan
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#30 Re: Music and change

Post by thenpaanan »

vgovindan wrote: 24 Oct 2018, 06:44
Music is not an intellectual exercise - it is communication - heart-speak, at least for me. I don't have any means to actually demonstrate it but can 'feel' it. That feeling - 'nAdAnubhava' happens when one's heart is saturated with, or at least has the awareness of love - the binding force of this universe.
Love is what made the difference between viSwAmitra the rAjarishi and the brahmarishi. Analogously there is a difference between music that is about "look at all that I can do" and music that is about "this is what I feel". We have an abundance of the former in CM and (much) less of the latter.
vgovindan wrote: 24 Oct 2018, 06:44
I have given up.
You, Sir, are one of a handful of reasons I completely revamped by approach to CM. I hope this was just a shot fired in anger, nothing more.

-T

shankarank
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#31 Re: Music and change

Post by shankarank »

This tradition vs change conundrum can be cast into a framework of the much fashionable freedom of expression (FOE) or more extremely the "right to be heard". The traditional part is about giving that right to the ancestors, and the change part is about giving that right to one's own hard work and sAdhana.

So you can view it as expanded human rights - just not limited to the currently functioning bodies!

Finally we also include things beyond our human sphere if we can get to it.

To keep questioning whether things are same as before is obsessing with history! But then if we tout the abstract art music, we should then bring all faculties into that line of inquiry - not just the parts we think are relevant or we think that is music!

shankarank
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#32 Re: Music and change

Post by shankarank »

Funny I saw this. But change still happens even if people don't want to change!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DqGzhRHUwAUftTF.jpg

kvchellappa
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#33 Re: Music and change

Post by kvchellappa »

But, is it not here that musicians want change and rasikas (some) do not want them to change?

shankarank
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#34 Re: Music and change

Post by shankarank »

Yes you could reverse the cartoon. rasikas change every way to accommodate to the demands of the new lifestyle - they only want musicians not to change!

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