Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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shadjam
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#1

Post by shadjam » 08 Apr 2008, 08:26

The KJY concert review by hari prompted me to post this. I am just curious to know whether there are any carnatic vocalists who could traverse all the three octaves? I remember listening to BMK once when he went all the way down to the mantra sthayi shadjam. Are there any vocalists (past/present day) that could sing the mantra and tara sthayi shadjams? (assuming they are singing in their natural sruthi).
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ram
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#2

Post by ram » 08 Apr 2008, 09:36

I have heard Vid T.M. Krishna traverse 3.5 octaves on a number of occasions. Vid T.V. Gopalakrishnan displayed a 3.5 octaves range in his concert for TTD, Chennai last year. These are two examples that readily come to my mind.

(3.5 octaves: from anumandara pancamam - the pa two octaves below the normal one TO atitArA sthAyi shaDjam - the sa one octave above the normal upper sa)
Last edited by ram on 08 Apr 2008, 09:44, edited 1 time in total.
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cacm
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#3

Post by cacm » 08 Apr 2008, 09:45

Mss Could Do It & Moreeasily! With Perfect Sruti & Swarasthanam Alignment. Vkv
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ganesh_mourthy
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#4

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 08 Apr 2008, 10:10

generally Carnatic music is sahityam based. the singing patterns revolve around kithanas. hence crossign octaves is seen as only flaunting , especially when it is not done perfectly. And you cannot expect real beauty of it in most artiste since there is no much basic training and the teacher does not teach one to do it generally. And it requires great practice and proper practice. South Indian singers manage to do it sometimes but often lacks aesthetics. I have seen many artistes try during cutchery and miserably fail .

When we talk about singers singing in 3 octaves I simply remember Parveen Sultana. The flashing brighas and lightinign speed ascend and descend from lower octaves to higher octaves . she covers 3 and half octaves beautifully. But that is their system . they spend the the whole day and all their life for sadhana.

I remember reading an interview of a renowned musician from chennai who has told that he teaches his students for 2 hours daily and that is his time to practice especially singing along and apart from that he does not do any sadhana. The person is still good in carnatic circle and sings great actually.

But if it is a HM musician who does not practice and sings only 2 hours with his students it is time for him to call it a day.
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sbala
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#5

Post by sbala » 08 Apr 2008, 14:10

I can only recall BMK who does it effortlessly. He is able to do it even now. I have heard TMK do it on a couple of occasions but there were noticeable sruthi slips immediately after those excursions. Or atleast, thats how it appeared to me. The son from the father-son duo from Pakistan also went to ati-tara sthayi number of times. But, his sruthi was totally gone by the time he returned to the madhya sthayi. The bottomline is you should be naturally gifted or have to work extremely hard like to make it seem natural.
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arasi
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#6

Post by arasi » 08 Apr 2008, 19:35

While it is a feat, is it essential for a good concert? If they can do it, fine. I don't think it has to be taken as flaunting.
When it comes to female voices, I don't know. I have heard Parveen in her prime, heard her do that--but with female voices, at least for me, it amounts to screeching (well, pleasant screeching perhaps and very impressive too).
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ganesh_mourthy
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#7

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 08 Apr 2008, 20:12

male or female it sounds different when they touch the taara saa. even when BMK sings it is like errr... BMK has a female sound too in his voice.

that is nature's ;aw.

what I am trying to to say is hindustani singers woudl do it effortlessly. with a lightning speed. I have heard many. whereas carnatic musicians try it with care and both the singer and audience woudl feel like standing on a rope.
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cmlover
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#8

Post by cmlover » 08 Apr 2008, 20:20

Let us look at it analytically. Suppose our adult is at 1 kaTTai whence his regular pancamam P = 196 Hz. His anumantra pancamam = 49Hz and his atitaara shadjam S'' = 524Hz.
Question is can one sustain (say for 2 seconds) 49Hz and then 524Hz?
I guess anybody can with a good amount of practice. The 49Hz maybe easier (one has to control the stccato) but can be done after a couple of days of practice. For the same guy 524Hz may be difficult; but let him prick himself with a needle :) (as I do to do test my blood sugar reegularly :) ; he is sure to reach 524 or even 1048 (briefly) though sustaining will bbe difficult! That may require a hot iron rod being applied on his hands :)
At any rate this is not an impossible task for even ordinary folks.

But your question is, will it be musical? I agree with arasi that it may be nothing but gymnastics and not necessarily musical (unless the person has an intrinsically melodious voice with high bass- a cross between MDR and MSS :)

Leaving joking apart; I have heard S Janaki demonstrate it musically (maybe SPB helped too!)
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cacm
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#9

Post by cacm » 08 Apr 2008, 20:53

I agree with the observation that it is a matter of sustained practice over the years. When she was in her eighties MSS told me that she used to practise "Ahara Sadhaham" till very recently for over 5 hours DAILY. This coupled with her musical brilliance & the efforts she put in to understand any raga or composition she sang + the fact that MUSIC was truly EVERYTHING for her made her ability to sing- from a voice culture point of view- practically unequalled. All the criticism had to come from sour grapes kind of criticism. vkv
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coolkarni
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#10

Post by coolkarni » 09 Apr 2008, 06:59

I have heard Parveen in her prime, heard her do that--but with female voices, at least for me, it amounts to screeching
arasi
Here is a sample from Parveen in her teens (before marriage to Dilshad) at academy.
Very little of screeching here though.Problem with her later on , it became a sort of a cliche.These kinds of passages HAD to appear before closing of the Khayal
http://rapidshare.com/files/105996890/Parveen.mp3

I my own time , I recorded this bit of Jasraj at Kalakshetra.It was a poignant moment .The whole atmosphere was filled with nervous anticipation (Rukmini Devi was in her final days) and Jasraj sang Matha Kalika with special emphasis in Maaa , while looking towards Rukmini Devi .
This was a brilliant moment in that concert (though the guilt of stealthy recording will weigh on my mind until....)
Listen here and feel that immense range of Jasrajs voice at hiis peak.(early 80s)
http://rapidshare.com/files/105994848/J ... shetra.mp3

a few other greats in HM, while on the discussion of Voice range
http://rapidshare.com/files/105996891/BGAK-Adana-01.mp3
http://rapidshare.com/files/105996892/N ... ersion.mp3

Mind Boggling range coupled with raw power.
My Four cents
Last edited by coolkarni on 09 Apr 2008, 06:59, edited 1 time in total.
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mahesh3
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#11

Post by mahesh3 » 09 Apr 2008, 07:09

Question: TMK traverses 3 octaves, but is his lowered shruti in concerts today as nice to hear as his concerts during pre-3 octave traversal days? An appropriate shruti is key to a good carntic music concert, in my opinion.
Last edited by mahesh3 on 09 Apr 2008, 07:11, edited 1 time in total.
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arasi
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#12

Post by arasi » 09 Apr 2008, 08:47

Thanks, Cool!
Your cents come gilded .
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shadjam
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#13

Post by shadjam » 09 Apr 2008, 11:00

The two artists that surprise me are TMK and MSS, which could be because of the image I have in mind of these two artists. I have known TMK as a steadfast follower of Semmangudi bani and hence, surprised to learn that he indulges in such gimmicks (I must confess that I haven't heard him singing recently). MSS comes across to me as as singer who doesn't strain much while singing and she seems effortless in her singing. It's amazing that yet she was able to maintain her voice so young for a long time. I wonder what would have been the effect on her voice (longevity) if she had attempted such proyogams often. In this regard, SPB amazes me by maintaining his voice young despite singing several rough songs (not necessarily high pitched ones but his voice resembles the roar of a lion in some songs).

Coolji, if possible can you please provide audio sample for one of the 3.5 octave attempts by any of the carnatic musicians? Thanks.
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prashant
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#14

Post by prashant » 09 Apr 2008, 11:17

shadjam wrote:surprised to learn that he indulges in such gimmicks
shadjam: What are the 'gimmicks' you refer to?
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shadjam
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#15

Post by shadjam » 09 Apr 2008, 11:19

prashant,

I meant the 3.5 octave one. I didn't mean it in any negative sense though.
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sbala
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#16

Post by sbala » 10 Apr 2008, 08:40

Wow! That Jasraj clip is awesome. One should be blessed to witness musicians in a zone like this. What a performance!
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gobilalitha
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#17

Post by gobilalitha » 10 Apr 2008, 08:54

pl bear up with me for getting a little away from carnatic music to film music of olden days. were not SG kittappaand TRMahalingam and to some extent MKTBhagavathar, TMS doing this? gobilalitha
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cacm
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#18

Post by cacm » 10 Apr 2008, 09:02

YES! Almost all the OLDIES like SGK, MKT all also sang at a higher pitch but not necessarily at the 3 octave range being referred to a lot in these discussions. It would be called "false " voice or "Kalla " kural but it is actually a technique about which books were written in the past; The formost practioner was the GREAT CARUSO himself! vkv
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cmlover
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#19

Post by cmlover » 10 Apr 2008, 19:26

In the old movie 'Sri VaLLi' TRM singing 'kAyAtha kAnakatthE ninRulAvuM...' easily spans three octaves and folks used to rave about his voice quality! Unfortunately I do not have a recording. Again SGK's unforgettable 'kODayilE iLaippARRikkoLLuM..' ragamalikai viruttam is well known for voice spanning. In fact TRM tried to copy SGK in that song in the movie 'nAM iruvar' but conceded that he could never beat SGK at the octave range marathon!
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arasi
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#20

Post by arasi » 10 Apr 2008, 19:41

Suryaprakash among the modern day singers! He sings kODaiyilE iLAippAtRikkoLLUm very impressively.
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cmlover
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#21

Post by cmlover » 10 Apr 2008, 22:00

Here is our National Anthem sung by Asha Bhosle
http://www.mediafire.com/?ygdxsxdzx18
She easily spans the three octaves. She sings at 2 kaTTai shruti (D) and she goes from mantra rishabham to ati taara rishabham with ease. That of course is not her full potential. Her sister can do even better :)
In case you doubt here is a visual proof!
Image
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ganesh_mourthy
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#22

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 10 Apr 2008, 22:17

cm lover . where did you get that pic frm , is there a software to that graphically shows voice range?
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cmlover
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#23

Post by cmlover » 10 Apr 2008, 23:12

That is from a speech therapy analytic tool used by professional speech therapists which quantifies the frequency distribution of performance by patients to detect their deficiencies so that correective action can be taken!
Alternatively one can use any FFT graphing program to calculate the voice range.
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cacm
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#24

Post by cacm » 10 Apr 2008, 23:24

Slightly tangential but relevent is various analyses that have been done to understand the VARIOUS Violin styles using FFT Techniques in conjunction with Oscilloscopes which visually show differences in various harmonics&sub-harmonics as well as different emphasis on the allowed Arohanam-Avarohanam notes in the raga scale. This then leads to which rendering of a raga is considered correct etc in addition to the well known Padanthara etc. vkv
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vasanthakokilam
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#25

Post by vasanthakokilam » 11 Apr 2008, 01:38

VKV, quite true. There is a tool called sonic-visualizer with which one can have a lot of fun. We spent some time on that in this thread which may be of interest to you: http://www.rasikas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=4339 This thread started with similar graphs to the above but then moved on to full frequency spectrum and pitch detection analysis using sonic-visualizer. It was a lot of fun. I remember looking at KVN and MSG's Begada in utter amzement about what kind of contour gives that unique Begada Ma and Begada Ni.

CML, does sonic visulizer agree with the histogram. I am a bit sceptical about drawing conclusions strictly based on the Histogram alone but if SV also corrobarates then great.
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