question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

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niyer
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#1 question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by niyer » 10 Aug 2015, 16:15

A question thats been bugging me for quite some time. What are the essential characteristics for a krithi to qualify to be a vilamba kala krithi ? Please enlighten.

a. Speed - does a very slow krithi qualify to be vilambam ?
b. Structure - number of avarthanams for a meaninful pallavi line / number of karvais in the pallavi line ?
c kalai - All vilamba kala krithis in adi /rupakam are 2 kalai...is this statement true ?
d tala - do krithis in misra chapu and khanda chapu qualify to be vilamba kalam based on the above criterion except kalai ? are there any vilamba kala krithi in khanda chapu ?
e speed variations - there are cases where the same krithi is sung in both slow and fast speeds..does the slow rendering of a krithi usually sung in madhyama kalam qualify to be vilamba kala krithi or vice-versa?
f any other characteristic?
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vasanthakokilam
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#2 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by vasanthakokilam » 12 Aug 2015, 05:52

It looks like you have covered the bases that I can think of. I do not know any of this for sure but one should be able to sing a 1 kaLai krithi in trisra triputa ( just so we do not call it misra chapu ) and if it is not a well known song, no one will feel anything odd. Speed variations wise, MDs krithis with madhyakala portions are sung in overall vilamba kala and so in those cases there is a built in speed variation.

Considering an example in the reverse direction for kAlai, elAvathara ( Mukhari )can be sung in a fairly brisk space ( though Chembai and TNS have sung it in mid tempo ) but it is natural to keep it as two kaLai.

I wonder that a true blue vilamba kala krithi needs a quite a bit of extensions on the alphabet ( AkArams amd mKarams ) with stress points surrounding those lengths so that it will be odd to sing them fast. Just a speculation.
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kvchellappa
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#3 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by kvchellappa » 12 Aug 2015, 07:42

I heard ananda natana prakasam in vilamba kalam and it was attractive to me, but entharo did not appeal to me. Even enthavedukonthu in ativilamba rendition seemed to rob it of its charm. Also, song after song in vilamaba kalam makes me feel restive. Maybe, a deeper understanding of music only will make one appreciate the merit in them.
Incidentally, reviewers refer to the kalapramanam having been set properly while rendering a kriti. Is it a bias or does it mean something else?
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shankarank
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#4 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by shankarank » 17 Aug 2015, 03:01

vilamba kAla vs. madyama kAla to me is based on flow not speed. A kriti in kanda cApu will always be madyama kAla irrespective how slow it is sung. Heccariga kArArA has been sung two ways. However slow the rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3hueQisla0, or this: http://www.kalakendra.com/varistha-nara ... -2112.html, as long as it is kanda cApu it retains its madyama kAla character. Mridangam will have to use the sollus that are characteristic of madyama kAla.

Recently Shri OST sang it with two kaLa kanDa Ekam ( I remember reading - KVN might have done it too elsewhere) , but once that is done, the speed might reduce as a result of that , but it is more due to that reckoning that it acquires the vilamba kAla character. Mridangam now is reduced to do TEkAs - a Tabla routine.

In the same way ETi janma however slow it is done - TMK had done it in my city during his U.S tour - still madyAma kAla as long as it is miSra cApu. Not withstanding the fact that Arun Prakash could do nothing much to that effect. TMK was not honoring his TEkAs.

A sArasa dala nayana in kamAs in catuSra jampa - may be even faster than that - but it is a vilamba kAla kriti as it sollus flow 4-4.

nenaruncI nAnu, which is sung at break neck speeds by many musicians is also sung slowly by MDR and somewhat faster as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz7vYLwNZf8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX7nQY6QSQI

In all cases it is essentially a madyama kAla kriti – not sure if there is even a classification called duritA kAla kriti.
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shankarank
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#5 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by shankarank » 17 Aug 2015, 03:11

Speaking of hecchariga kA rA rA, here is a madyama kAla rendition with optimal speed. http://www.sangeethamshare.org/ramakris ... dali-1988/

A swara prastara in YK at a tantalizing eduppu.

Concert listing starts with koluvai. We will be inclined to think that the recording started there. In the company of greats like CSM viribhOni can be replaced by koluvai - that could have been possible. Any attendees to that concert if they are around can confirm.
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niyer
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#6 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by niyer » 19 Aug 2015, 08:27

I sincerely appreciate all the answers, and they have helped reduce my confusion. Some confusion remains though.

1. Is it flow or speed or a combination of the two that decides the 'vilamba' nature?

2. If the flow of a krithi decides the 'vilamba' nature, are we saying that NO krithi in M.Chapu and K Chapu qualify to be vilaMBA ? What about krithis like Enneramum by Shyama Shastri and Chittam Irangaadadenayya by P.Sivan which are sung in very slow speeds and sound to be 'vilambam" .

3 Is the two kalai krithi "Shree Chamundeswari" in Bilahari a madhyama kala krithi based on flow?
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classical91
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#7 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by classical91 » 28 Aug 2015, 15:28

I wouldn't label a kriti as a 'vilamba kaala kriti' or 'durita kaala kriti', etc. Kaala pramaanam, in most cases, rests with the singer. I'm sure plenty of examples have already been provided on kritis which are sung either slowly or at a faster pace. Thus, it usually comes down to manodharmam. A really good example would be Hiranmayeem in Lalitha - the DKJ/Rajam Iyer version of this is in proper vilamba kaalam. However, plenty of other artists (including MLV) have sung this in normal speed (not exactly durita kaalam, but close).

That being said, there are kritis which don't make sense when sung slow - this may be due to the meaning of the song, the raagam, or simply a matter of long-standing tradition. Eg., kritis such as Maa Kelara (Ravichandrika) and Sarasa Saama daana (Kapi Narayani), Nenarunchinanu (Malavi) are invariably sung at normal/durita kaalam, most likely due to the feel of the raagam and the general mood of the song.

Coming to the raagam perspective, certain raagas tend to be heavy on jaarus (slides and glides from one note to another, eg. Maanji, Huseni, Naayaki), and gamakkhas, while some tend to be brigha- and akaara-dominant (Eg. Arabhi, Mohanam). So it only makes sense that the speed on rendering is reduced in the former such that these prayogams are executed to their fullest potential. This is probably why you'll be hard pressed to come across a durita-kaala rendition of kritis such as Eppadi Manam (Huseni), etc.

Finally, thaalam also plays a role in deciding the kaala pramanam - certain thaalams, particularly with a larger akshara/maatra count, allow for a lengthened rendition and stretching of words. Think about it this way - the more words you have, the faster you tend to sing the song (this may/may not be applicable to all situations). So if you consider 2 kalai adi with 16 aksharas (64 matras), imagine singing a song whose lyrics have a lot of words, eg. 1 for every akshara/2 aksharas. It's quite awkward isn't it? That is probably the reason why larger thaalams are suited for vilamba kaalam, since they provide more room to expand on lesser words. Usually, two (or more) kalai thaalas are well equipped to deal with lengthier kaala pramanams, most of them irrespective of the base akshara count in 1 kalai (Eg. roopakam), and so 'vilamba kaala' and 'ati-vilamba kaala' kritis occur in such thaalas in most cases including 2 kalai roopakam (Ramanatham in panthuvarali, Srinivasa in karaharapriya). This may also be the reason a lot of padams are sung in either the 2 kalai thaalas or Misra Chaapu (this is mere speculation). Being predominantly dance-oriented compositions, they have fewer words which are elongated to bring out more bhavam through gamakhas and jaarus, and are, for a major part, sung in vilamba kaala.

In case of khanda chaapu thaalam, the thaala structure is such that the kaala pramanam usually settles at a faster pace, although not necessarily althi-durita as a lot of musicians tend to do . Not that slower songs do not exist - Paridhana michithe is a good example of a song which is sung both fast and slow, and is set to a raagam which is predominantly suited for durita kaala kritis. I do accept that vilamba kaalam, in its true sense, is uncommon in such thaalas, though I may be mistaken. Misra chapu (Technically Tisra Triputa, but for discussion's sake) is slightly more giving - we do have slow (albeit not exactly 'vilamba') kritis in this thaalam, like Pakkala Nilabadi (Karaharapriya, also sung fast in some schools), Ninne Namminanu (Thodi), the Bhairavi and Yadhukulakambodhi swarajatis by Shyama Shastri (which are in fact truly vilamba), to mention a few. I would go to the extent of saying that Misra Chapu can be synonymous with the 'rendu-kattan kaala pramanam' (not slow, not fast), which is quite attractive. Compared to Khanda Chapu, I believe Misra Chapu gives more freedom with the kaala pramanam.

To conclude, I don't believe that a numeric justification to kaala pramanam is applicable. As most concepts in Carnatic Music are, there is a lot more depth to this than we can imagine! My guru (a vidwan whose talents went unnoticed due to disease) used to discuss such concepts at length, and he always said that we should not look too much into the technical aspects while rendering a song - sing what your heart tells you! And incidentally enough, there was part of the answer to your question there - the mood of the song also plays a role in kaala pramaanam!
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niyer
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#8 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by niyer » 04 Sep 2015, 12:11

Thanks to all for responding, esp classical91. I think I am much more clear now .
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shankarank
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#9 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by shankarank » 29 Apr 2016, 22:05

This was posted in the "nominate best instrument" thread on Gen. Disc.

https://soundcloud.com/seshan-narayanan/00-lgj

Would we consider this caukam? You can put the tAlam as kanDa Ekam - but would be redundant and cumbersome. I was able to do a comfortable kanDa cApu and I can enjoy the off beat eduppu more naturally.

I'd say despite it's slowness, it retains what is called the 'madayama kAla character' in the way both LGJ and the Mridangist handle it.
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vasanthakokilam
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#10 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by vasanthakokilam » 30 Apr 2016, 06:54

Words like 'flow', 'kAlam', 'kaLai, 'speed', 'naDai' etc need to be given a more formal footing.

To do that, we need to recognize one laya aspect which exists in CM songs but we do not formally talk about them.

The songs have inherent stresses in them ( this is not a revelation ) and there are different kinds of stresses ( this is the aspect that is not formally talked about much ).

There are at least the following types of stresses. In specific songs, not all of them will be present and even when they are present initially to define the laya structure they need not be present as the song progresses.

1. Major Stress - M ( typically aligned with the odd numbered beats of the thala like 1, 3, 5, 7 of Adi)
2. Minor Stress - N ( typically aligned with the even numbered beats of the thala like 2, 4, 6, 8 of Adi)
3. Major-Minor intermediate stress - K ( the emphasis is somewhere between the major and minor and they are typically aligned with the second tap of 2 kaLai songs. or 2, 3 or 4th tap of 4 Kalai songs )
4. Arudi stress - A ( this is a heavy emphasis somewhere in the middle of the thala. Like in Adi, it is the 5th beat )
5. speed or nadai stresses - S ( these are the stresses in between M and A stresses or between M and K and K and N. Chatusra will have up to 2 or 4 stresses per such interval, trisra will have upto 3 stresses etc. )

To be precise, these are found in the song itself irrespective of whether they are reckoned with any tala kriya or not. You take a song with such patterns of stresses and align it with an appropriate tala (which acts as the ruler of sorts ). The fact the composer may have started with a tala in mind is immaterial for this exercise. The analogy is, say you have a sari which has periodic patterns that are largely spaced, medium spaced, small spaced and micro spaced etc. They have different weaving patterns. Those are like the inherent stresses of the song. Now you apply a ruler to it and then declare that these follow some 8 foot rule or 3 foot rule or 3 inch rule or whatever. That is the equivalent of the tala. The saree with its patterns exist whether you bring out the ruler or not.

In CM the interval between stresses of kinds ( M, N, K, A ) are typically kept constant ( though there are exceptions ). On the other hand, stresses of the S kind are varied quite liberally and that is what makes a song a song. Like one interval between M and N may have 2 equally spaced S stresses, another one may have 4 and another one may have 8, another one will omit some stresses. Some of them will divide the M and N interval into three S stresses, five S stresses etc. ( those are the Nadai ones ).

Also not all stresses need to be present at all sections of the song. Typically the composer will have those exhibited in the initial sections so everyone understand the laya infrastructure of the song. After that many of these stresses can be skipped, and they often are. Again that is all part of the laya work that is inherent in the song.

There may be other emphases in the song but let us consider the above 5 ones as good enough for now.

If we buy into this framework, then it may be possible to clearly define what songs are suitable to be sung in slow tempo, medium tempo or fast tempo while granting that any song can be sung in any tempo theoretically. Here, as a working definition, tempo is defined as the number of 'M' stresses per minute in the song. I am not sure I am qualified to completely define all the aspects like Flow, kaLai, Vilambit, Madhyma etc and I would like the readers of this thread to take a shot at that.

Just as examples, it seems to me that a clearly heard/felt distinction of 'M', 'K' and 'N' type stresses are needed for a song to be considered a 2 kaLai song. Typically 'A' will be there to anchor the song and in many cases provide the overall laya balance.

If K is not present but M, N and A are there but not much of an 'S' type stress. then it makes more sense to sing them in medium or fast tempo. Remember words have natural splits and they need to be aligned with the musical emphasis. If all we have are 'M' and 'N' ( and possibly A ), then there is not much scope for elongating a Vowel or Anuswaram while providing 'S' stresses during those elongations.

If you have strong built in M, N and S, then they have good scope for slow rendition. Of course add A and K, for a very elaborate slow rendition song.

Please see if the above model makes sense.
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Nick H
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#11 Re: question on characteristics of vilamba kala krithis

Post by Nick H » 22 May 2016, 14:04

It makes sense. In fact, I wonder how we can not "buy into it!"

I think you have just described the rhythmic nature of music in general: only the terminology makes it specific to Carnatic music. Whilst the multi-part, additive aspect may be prime to carnatic music, that is just a detail. The essence of rhythm is that it is constant and cyclic. It could not be cyclic without points which establish it as such: stresses.

It seems to be an easy thing. As you say it is not a revelation. To a large extent it is obvious to the point where we completely take it for granted. It is very hard to define such things, like defining the shortest simplest words in our language. Good job!
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