Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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#51 Re: Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Post by shankarank »

Is this about being a Genius? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvxclBmqZQ or this tradition?

The word parampara is more apt, as it carries with it the larger sense of transfer of the conscious of the system! It honours mAta, pitA and Guru all in the same vein!

But we use the term genius - oh it is all pre-programmed , we just need to find the right designer encoding, and there is a race for it.

Or even "tradition" - like it is just arbitrary tradition, just a habitual thing, some folky tribal practice without any reason or thought - the anthropoligical reduction!

There we remove, also the sacred!

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#52 Re: Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Post by vgovindan »

We seem to think that hearing is all about sound waves that hit one's ear drums. Our ancestors had a much better understanding of vibrations that are generic to nature - spanda, sphuraNa, Sabda, nAda, dhvani - these denote more than that is audible in nature. There is a story of Prahlada listening to Narada's words addressed to his (Prahlada's) mother. While she dozed off, Prahlada was listening in the womb. These may sound fantasy to scientifically trained minds, but it is not so. While we should keep at bay fanatical claims simply based on faith, the universe is much more deep than we cognise and feel. When musician and audience shake their heads, we are resonating (to the vibrations) - like the flock of birds in flight.

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#53 Re: Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Post by shankarank »

There is no faith required to see the efficacy of the hard work that parents have done and teachers do, assuming they are true to their duties. If I cannot see that, I will have to improve my observational, cognitive , perceptive skills!

We have progressed into a society, where parents cannot be trusted. State intervenes! Just read on abuse when finally people live as a family during the lock down! Teachers cannot be either, else why would you have standard tests and ID numbers on exam papers (names removed!) and correction centers. Even that parents trace somehow using influences!

Computers will do it now! No worries. Objective choice questions!

I remember we used to write cricket commentary and rubbish in the Hindi paper (8th Grade!) just to make a devanAgari paragraph and many times the old man, a post retiree panditji who walked in via the back gate just for one class in the auditorium, used to give marks! Now no need!

I hated when physics (of the samaCiR kalvi variety - well it was MGR samacIr not the MK!) used to be essays and not a single problem - so rural students could pass!

Carnatic music! That is why parents are crazy after contests and competitions. They want to be sure the teacher is teaching! They are not sure ;)

As regards ancestors, we do hold SrI tyAgaraja as saintly and all that. But if he were to visit us, hypothetically during lock down when we have all the time to spend with him, would we be able to put up with him? His tanjavoor maDi would drive us crazy! :lol:

His works are still to held sacred though? That has nothing to do with whether his body and it's actions are compatible with us.

You see now inspiring videos, where grand children are playing cello and violin on the patio to locked up grandmas. How many times will you see a grandpa, Grandma going with the teen to Taylor Swift concert in the stadium. Even the father ( from India) bought the ticket for just his kid and Mom to escort, to save the money! He didn't go in. Even if the grand parents want to go in out of curiosity, will that be any fulfilling - lasting?

Now only Grandpas / Grandmas come to Carnatic concert, largely, but children should ideally have no issues coming in! We just have to inculcate the idea of sacredness - and it is not about lyrics speaking virtues of gods!

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#54 Re: Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Post by thenpaanan »

vgovindan wrote: 09 Apr 2020, 06:48 I was watching a video lecture by a male dancer - Sri Vaibhav Arekar on 'Male perspective on SRngAra' - the link is here -


He describes his life journey in brief - some of his observations made me sit up and compare with those who want to break traditions - not for art's sake, but for the sake of breaking.
It is a truism that artists who are deeply immersed in their art rarely speak verbally about it and let their art "speak". From my own personal perspective, it takes a tremendous effort to articulate in words the emotions that artful music stirs. But one thing is clear -- we constantly strive (and I think this is universal) to extract more and more satisfaction from whatever our chosen art form is, and invariably that means taking it to the fringes of that art form. Some of us take that last step and step outside (and even come back in) and some of us don't.
vgovindan wrote: 09 Apr 2020, 06:48
I will take two kRtis - ennALLu UrakE' of tyAgarAja - if you can understand the intensity of this kRti, to say that tyAgarAja created sangatis in his kRtis may not be totally true. Did he render this kRti to his ishTa dEvata in a concert style? Yes, not all kRtis are such intense. There are a lot which are more 'artistic' than intense. But rAma was his audience, first. No more comments.
Yes but there is a certain joy in trying to communicate it even if it feels impossible to do so substantially. Once I sang "mOhana rAma" at a tyAgarAja ArAdhanai where I tried to explain before singing the song the nuances of the song -- the way one has to emotionally become tyAgarAja in his relation to rAmA to truly experience the emotion in that song. I opined that the common way of singing the song with breezy and predetermined sangatis robs the song of its depth -- when the organizer abruptly cut in and said "please stop talking and start singing". At first I was in an internal rage about it but later when I calmed down I realized there would have been someone in the audience who appreciated the explanation (in fact, I borrowed heavily from your translation in tyAgarAja vaibhavam). And that thought is enough. That I was able to transmit that strange and indescribable feeling that comes from the art to someone else added something like satisfaction to my euphoria.
vgovindan wrote: 09 Apr 2020, 06:48
What is 'rasa' that we all yearn for when we see an art or hear an artist?
Rasa is indescribable like any profound state of mind -- different for each person. For me it is a combination of acute agony and euphoria and I am sure it is different for you or someone else. But whatever it is, one thing is common -- it draws us all in, albeit in different ways. And its effect is inexplicable -- why a certain pattern of notes called tODi should cause this state of mind in some of us defies explanation. I've long given up trying to explain it. I just take it with gratitude.


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#55 Re: Unto what extent do the confines of 'tradition' reign?

Post by shankarank »


This rendition of bhajarE rE citta – a memory of old tarangini recording of SrI K.J. Jesudas – for many like me who come from the outside is indeed a case study. I like the appeal it tries to make.

Did Subbarama dikshitar notate the jArus like in jambUpatE in Yamuna kalyANI? :lol: He is being true to the Avarta patterns laid out in here: http://ibiblio.org/guruguha/ssp_7to12.pdf Page 1161.

miSra jAti Eka tALa, almost sung as miSra cAPu with samam. If it were really miSra Ekam, it would almost be in a drupad pace, and could go into yaman. Not quite the historian curative art monger that he wants to be, seeking original sources!

May be we ought to give it to Kanniks KannikEswaran to do a dhrupad ensemble!

Contemporary renditions have progressed to kutcheri style , more compact, but yet still slow paced take in miSra cApu.
There was KVN in 1975 centenary with UKS: https://youtu.be/9ueQRHndUkU

Recently there was Tiruvarur Girish : https://youtu.be/jhA0Uh5wpX0?t=4991 with HKV and Yella /Radhakrishnan support. Something interesting I noted is the take on “aruNAm” as atItam (pre-beat). https://youtu.be/jhA0Uh5wpX0?t=5014

That brings us to the question of Avarta asymmetry issue in this notation: http://ibiblio.org/guruguha/ssp_7to12.pdf - Page 1161 :

aruNAm , nityAm goes for 5 avaRtAs due to lack of atItam until SarvANIm and more time given to some syllables. Odd number of avartas are exceptions like in SrI mAnini manOhara. Not allowed – traditional limits for you – transgressed!

However this neraval opens up additional possibilities. https://youtu.be/9ueQRHndUkU?t=877

Before aruNAm goes for atItam, the previous line daksha caraNAm – the caraNAm can become atItam. daksha is after all, two short syllables with a samyuktAkshara ( 2 consonants) demanding a gripping pause.

With that providing space, in the line starting as arUNAm, all of them, arUNAm , nityAM, kalyANIm along with SarvANIm - all become atIta making a yati maitri across all avartAs and giving the dIrgha extra space to make rAga speak.

There was an instance of Avarta asymmetry solved by SrI Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma as mentioned by @keerthi in an old post. At least we owe it to his award of SK or his scholarship to try and change this as well.

That makes the line nijarUpa immensely neraval-able.

||da,,,,, |ksha,,, |, cara, || Nam

In the neraval , or even in sangatis , daksha can be taken ½ akshara atIta to make an effect using the ½ liberty in either direction.

The caraNams all suggest such atItam treatment, with caturvEda, bhakti bIjOdbhava, SarIriNIm, vihAriNIm all atItam. svarUpiNIm is missed here again and needs to be atItam on sva || rU to preserve yati maitritvam.

TMK’s rendition has it’s own sweetness, with rhythm muted. Hey if it was Jesudas for me, let it be TMK for some to get this music.

But he seem want to make his point. The music then was not as nice in some ways to listen to, as it is now ( in kutcheri era) – where oppressive forces have redefined aesthetics! And indeed he is the redeemer!


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