Cultivating Manodharmam

To teach and learn Indian classical music
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SabashBale
Posts: 63
Joined: 09 Jan 2012, 08:37

#1 Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by SabashBale » 15 Jan 2017, 11:59

I have been self-teaching myself Carnatic music informally. This has happened almost naturally after years of listening. I rarely (and dare not) sing out aloud and all my singing is in my head, leave alone wanting to sing to an audience. My aspiration is to cultivate my manodharmam to the fullest; however I am getting frustrated over time as I am not noticing any improvement of late. These are the specific areas I want to address:

Alapana: My imagination is limited and tapering off for most ragams. For example, I can do an alapana of any major ragam for about 4 minutes or so. My imagination does not carry me beyond that. How do artists sing a major ragam for ten minutes or longer? How do I cultivate my imagination to that extent?

Neraval: Reasonably satisfied with my progress.

Kalpanaswaras: Here again, I feel like a ‘bird trapped in a cage’, to quote from Aruna Sairam, who I have heard on Youtube admitting to having faced a similar problem sometime in her career. Most often, my kalpanaswarams end up going up and down the scale and hence limited. How do I improve towards conceiving more variety in kalpanaswarams?

Tanam: Reasonably happy with my tanam skills

Ragamalika swarams: How do you (easily) switch from one ragam to another? This is part of a bigger problem for me. When you are ‘soaked’ in one ragam, how to you quickly change to another ragam? For example, if I have been listening to an elaborate Madhyamavathi and I want to start even Mohanam, it becomes difficult. However, if somebody begins it for me, I can latch on and continue. Also, sometimes, even if I latch on, I quickly slip back to Madhyamavathi. How do I rectify this? Are there any exercises to help this?

Maybe the simple answer to all these is to listen and practice more and follow a more disciplined and rigorous learning process. Are there other specific things I can do to help myself?
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rajeshnat
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#2 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by rajeshnat » 15 Jan 2017, 12:03

sabashbale
Lovely Post with so much of honesty. BY the way you told all the functional parts of CM. What about the structural part - do you sing krithis or do you just say sabash bale within yourself and just move on without a structural krithi.
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SabashBale
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#3 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by SabashBale » 15 Jan 2017, 12:15

I do sing Krithis (again in my head), but am always in a hurry to finish them, because I want to move to the manodharma part :)
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rajeshnat
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#4 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by rajeshnat » 15 Jan 2017, 12:26

SabashBale wrote:I do sing Krithis (again in my head), but am always in a hurry to finish them, because I want to move to the manodharma part :)
May be you already have the answer to your question. You should not hurry and finish krithis. Short to medium term hurrying up the krithis- during structural foundation phase will only give long term loss of functional foundation.
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SabashBale
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#5 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by SabashBale » 15 Jan 2017, 12:46

Thanks Rajesh for that feedback. Will definitely follow this and pray for dividends.
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msakella
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#6 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by msakella » 17 Jan 2017, 09:10

Unless the aspirant has the knowledge to extract ghee from milk he/she cannot get the ghee out of the milk. In the same manner, unless the aspirant has the knowledge to extract the Raga from the Kritis he/she cannot get more Raga from the Kritis learnt. But, most unfortunately, none of our music-teachers is aware of a logical approach but traditional approach to this problem.

To tell the fact, many are not aware that Swarakalpana is the main entrance to the so called illusory Manodharmam and unless the rhythmical abilities of the aspirant are logically stabilised he/she cannot get even the minimum hold on Swarakalpana and proceed further. More over, very importantly, to do all these things the tender age is only preferable and if gradually the age increases the rhythmical abilities decrease correspondingly. Very sadly, as all our music-teachers are mostly performing perspective but not teaching perspective at all none of them is aware of the logical method in teaching music and the aspirant is compelled to spend 10 or 15 years in this process to experience all these facts. amsharma
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sriramr
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#7 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by sriramr » 19 Jan 2017, 14:42

Here are my two cents:

To improve raga alapana:

1. You Should learn quite a good number of songs in the raga that you want to elaborately sing. The importance here is
every song issues a different colour to the raga and you can realise that as you sing it. Learning chowka kala krithi in
a particular raga will give a good picture of a raga. There are some artists who share the opinion, you can start the alapanai
with a particular start of a song or its anupallavi or some appealing line of the charanam. This in turn will give you more and
more ideas about the contour of the raga - and mind you, this comes with practice. You should be careful here because some
beginners end up in singing a whole krithi in ta da ri na na format instead of the krithi - this is no way manodharmam!! It is simply
kalpita sangitham.

2. Learn as many varnams as possible. Try singing the varnam in 1 speed , tisram and 2nd speed as this will help in later stages of RTP singing. Sing the varnam in akaram, ukaram , umkaram etc.,

3.Importance of Arohana and avarohana: Practising sarali , jantai , alankaram will help you in making various swara sancharams in any given raga. care should be taken here when you employ the varisais for a vakra raga. For examples you cannot sing S R G M in saveri , but S R G R is allowed
because we descend after G and the avarohanam is sampoornam. (S R M P D S ; S N D P M G R S) ; Reetigowlai / begada / neelanbari
are other examples

4. Before delineating any raga, sing simple swara in the form of alapana. Eg: Hamsadwani: S R G P.....; G P N...P ; P G..R ;G P G.. R;SN P N S R..S
Like that combine few swaras that give beauty or lakshana of the raga and sing the swaraas. Then make it as ta ra na.. This
is beginning for raga alapana.

5. In places where you run out of imagination, think of a line in any krithi that has a beautiful sangathi and sing that in ta ra na.
This will give you more idea into the colour of the ragam.

6. Learn maximum krithis in popular melakartha ragams. Sampoorna ragas give ample song for ragam singing: example: sankarabaranam ,
Kalyani, Keeravani , Hemavathi etc.,.

7. Well, there are some ragas, where you don't need to know many compositions but still you can sing raga for a long time.
Just knowing differnt phrases in the raga which gets embedded in your mind due to constant listening by various artists is
enough to sing for long !!
My favourite examples here are Hemavathi , vachaspathi , kalyani , karaharapriya , shanmukha priya , charukesi etc..

Swara Singing:

8. Start with simple phrasing of small swara patterns for swara singing. eg: G R S R Vathapi S R G R vathapi N P G R Vathapi
Like this you can go on constructing small ones ; say them with tala before singing if it comes on beat and later sing
and bring out the bhava. Start with simple talam like rupakam. Later do the same for big talas like adi , adi 2 , chapu tala etc..

9. Bring beauty to every swara in the raga. Render the swaras that have the gamaka properly. Do not sing plain notes of the swaras that have gamaka. Embellish the swaras like in veena and sing. This will melt the listener.

10. Later make small korvais and start the eduppu. Eg: (kandam)G R S N P ; R S N P G ; S N P G R Vathapi etc.. Later make swaras for different ones: tisram , chaturasram , misram . sankeernam etc.,

There are very good video tutorials or CDs by great vidwans which will come in handy for pursuing advanced lessons in terms of manodharmam.



Have a very good learning !!
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msakella
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#8 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by msakella » 19 Jan 2017, 19:28

Most unfortunately, our Karnataka music is mostly dominated by conservative and egoistic performers but not teachers at all. More over, they all prefer tradition only but not any logic at all making the poor aspirants dependents upon these so called music-teachers for many years wasting their invaluable time, energy and money. If these kids are properly initiated to learn music, unlike the elders, many of them are able to learn very quickly and efficiently becoming able to sing even intricate creative Swarakalpana hardly within only one year even while learning select Varnas and even before learning the first Kriti. While initiating them in learning music I never sing even for 1 minute in any of the classes. Can any music-teacher on the globe do so and make the aspirants sing like my students?

Umpteen times this has been proved beyond any doubt by many kids about whom the respective urls are furnished in my articles in the sub-thread ‘AMS Easy Methods-2007’ of the main thread ‘Beginners Q&A - Learning Area’. For this purpose I, unlike any other music-teacher, have even uploaded nearly 1000 videos to ‘youtube.com/user/msakella’ for the benefit of the aspirants all over the globe. Many aspirants are utilising them and writing emails to me showing their gratitude. All our music-teachers cannot themselves quicken the process of learning in this manner or come out to discuss or to know and follow such beneficial methods in the high interests of the poor aspirants and their parents.

The aspirants who can very lavishly waste their precious time, energy and money can as well learn in the age old methods while all our 60 + school-going kids in our music institution, Swarabhangima at Secunderabad are able to learn very quickly and efficiently. amsharma
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SabashBale
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Joined: 09 Jan 2012, 08:37

#9 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by SabashBale » 24 Jan 2017, 16:04

Thanks a lot Sriramr and Akella Ji. I had missed these posts the last few days. One last question: How do you magically and instantaneously switch from one ragam to another? Are there some tips for this or does it come only with expertise?
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msakella
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#10 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by msakella » 25 Jan 2017, 12:44

It could be done only by expertise and long acquaintance which leads you to deft handling. amsharma
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msakella
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#11 Re: Cultivating Manodharmam

Post by msakella » 05 Feb 2017, 11:37

At the end of your 1st post itself you have asked whether there are any other specific things which help you by doing yourself.

Yes, some specific things are available which help you by doing them yourself very regularly. If your rhythmical abilities allow you to manage with both the Chaturashara & Trisra-gatis along with 60 bpm of Metronome beats while singing the seven Alankaras and Varnas you can sing even creative Swarakalpana within the duration of three months and later even Ragalapana too. You can certainly sing so if you work hard very regularly for two to three hours daily.

My Skype ID is ‘msakella2002’ and if you are interested in following them you can contact to my phone number 9908822992 and interact with me on Skype. amsharma
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