Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

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#1 Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by musi »

Darbar recently uploaded a video of Gayatri doing an awesome graha bedam from chandrakauns to madhukauns in Kalpana swara!

This is just so mind-blowing and refreshing.
This season I heard Gayatri do grahabedams in kalpanaswaras from - Natakapriya -Surya , Ghamanashrama-Deepali and Vaghadheeswari-Kurunji.

In Previous concerts, I have heard her do Jog-Brindavani, Abhogi-Valaji, Neelamani-Shivaranjani, Revathi-Neelamani , Nattakurunji-Neelambari , Lalith-Shubapantuvarali etc.

This concept I think is uniquely beautiful. Has any other artist tried a lot of grahabedam in swaras.? I would like to listen to other artists on sangeethapriya, if possible.

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#2 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by yeshprabhu »

I thought of my Sangeetha Acharya Sri T N Bala when I read your post. To those who do not know who T N Bala was, ( most of the rasikas here have never heard of him; he composed the very famous krithi Vilayada idu nerama, in Shanmukhapriya raga) he was a very senior disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri Madurai Mani Iyer who, by the way, never indulged in such gimmicks as doing grihabheda at concerts. Balamama put doing grihabheda in the same category as doing circus-like gimmicks, such as putting two different taalas on two hands and singing a krithi composed in a third taala, and somehow bringing all the three taalas together at some point, to thunderous applause from rasikas, who might not even know the difference between Thodi and Shankarabharana ragas. "What will come next?" he used to ask me at my classes. "Singing the famous Bhairavi Ata taala varnam of Sri Pacchimiriam Adiappa by standing on head, and putting taala with toes? All such gimmicks are indulged by musicians who are desperately craving for personal attention: Look, look! I am doing something so very different, a new invention!"

In a post by RSR, on March 27, 2019, titled "The difference between Shruti bhedam and swara bhedam. Are they same?", I wrote this comment on 30 March 2019, on this website, which I am reproducing here. "The concept of Shruti Bhedam is not universally accepted. When a reviewer asked Ganakaladhara, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri Madurai Mani Iyer(who is most famous for his Shruti Shuddha), why he never indulged in doing Griha Bheda or Shruti Bheda, in any of his concerts, the great vocalist said that every raga has its own raga bhaava and creates its own mood. "When you bring in another raga, which has its own raga bhaava, by doing Griha Bhedam, it disturbs the mood created by the original raga. When you sing Kalyani, don't bring in Mohana or any other raga to it. If you want to sing Mohana, sing it after you finish the Kalyani raga kriti. Can two wives or two women live happily under one roof? Don't disturb the mood generated by one raga by mixing it with the mood of another raga." Sangeetha Kalanidhis Sri Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, Sri D K Jayaram, Smt D K Pattammal, Sri K V Narayanaswamy, Sri Maharajapuram Santhanam, Sangeetha Kalanidhis Smt Brinda, and Smt M S Subbulaxmi: all traditionalists and purists, never indulged in such gimmicks as doing griha bheda. My sangeetha Acharya Sri T N Bala, who was Sri Madurai Mani Iyer's very senior shishya, never did griha bheda in any of his concerts, either. In fact, he did not even want to teach it to any of his students, even though he himself could do it if he wished. I am convinced that vocalists who indulge in gimmicks such as doing griha bheda are merely trying desperately to impress the rasikas with their "capabilities and musical prowess", and the rasikas, of course, reward them with applause. I have observed that whenever rasikas hear Grihabhedam in a concert, they automatically applaud, regardless of whether it sounded pleasant or not. Shruti bheda, Griha Bheda, and Swara bheda, are terms that can be inter changed, I think; they all mean the same. You can call a monkey by any other name, it will still remain a monkey."
Yesh Prabhu, Mylapore, Chennai

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#3 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by shankarank »

yeshprabhu wrote: 12 Apr 2019, 15:28 When a reviewer asked Ganakaladhara, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri Madurai Mani Iyer(who is most famous for his Shruti Shuddha), why he never indulged in doing Griha Bheda or Shruti Bheda, in any of his concerts.
I will tell you! The problem is not with any of the musicians who did or did not do it. If any musician themselves provide evidence of lack of substance in their music, then it could be a problem. The problem here is with the reviewer , who asked an unnecessary question with a poor understanding of a musician's standing and his accomplishments! It only shows that the reviewer has not appreciated even a wee bit, the music of the musician. This is irrespective of the technical knowledge of the reviewer. And the musician is forced to answer with his opinion. Unfortunate!

Anyways, the earliest instance of a Graha beda in svarams, that I am aware of is by Dr BMK with SrI Lalgudi where they do mOhanam and a hindOLam on kalyANI!

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#4 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by sureshvv »

All these arguments from authority may not carry water with the OP who has found GB "awesome", "mind-blowing and refreshing" and "uniquely beautiful". These rather strong opinions may have had their day but that day has passed.

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#5 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by shankarank »

That is a true pop-culture take! True, even traditional culture is exposed to many via pop-culture, but then they seem to want to interact with Authority, as the OP has done in this forum ( full of Authorities ? :D ).

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#6 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by Pallavisree1976 »

While I listen to ranjani and gayathri a lot, and I did like how nadais in putting Kalpana swarams was very nice going from one Akshara per beat to two aksharas per beat to three aksharas per beat, and four aksharas per beat, I got a little confused with gayarthri singing chandrakauns and madhukauns at the same time. It was a little difficult in figuring out which part of the performance was chandrakauns and which part was madhukauns. Maybe this is because both raags are so closely related and they sound so similar. I am not sure. But, I am a purist in this. I am used to hearing artists like MS amma, DK pattamal, ML Vasankumari and they are traditionalists. Trying to sing two ragams at the same time, it just sounds all mixed up. Or maybe I need to keep listening to something like this and then I will slowly start getting used to it.

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#7 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by SrinathK »

In the history of musical scales all over the world, Graham bhedam is a truly ancient technique. The reason why the major scale and the pentatonic scales got so popular from Egypt to Greece to Arabia to India to China is graha bhedam. It is also the basis of the 22 shruti system.

MMI has used graha bhedam in his neraval for tAyE yashoda, slipping into mohanam and hindolam. GNB used it more often early in his career but was forced to curtail it down after other musicians raised a controversy.

All the rest of the issues with graha bhedam are purely a matter of my opinion vs someone else's. Such arguments are based purely on taste and not researched observations. Ok, we fully accept that, but please don't go about elevating an opinion to a fact. Or use the word "tradition" while not actually knowing what it is. We are all guilty of it until we realize what the tradition really is and how old it goes.

All over the world, graha bhedam has existed for thousands of years.

In practice I have observed it works very well when you can truly feel the change of key. Otherwise if your ears think they are still in the original shruti, then the effect may come across as concealed. It also works more easily on natural intervals like P, D2, M1, G3 and R2 than others. On notes like R1 or N3, the new raga feels concealed.

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#8 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by mohan »

There was a similar discussion on this on this forum a while ago:

Mods can possibly merge the two threads

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#9 Re: Graha bedam in Kalpana Swaras

Post by shankarank »

He does hindolam in this concert. ... 8537879523

Fortunate to have been present in person for this one.

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