Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

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raguanu
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#1 Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by raguanu » 29 Aug 2016, 12:02

Here are two recordings of a short piece in Hindolam. They only vary in the ratios of their swarasthanas.

Could you lend your ear to these and tell which one sounds ideal in your opinion?

First: https://soundcloud.com/ananth-pattabi/h ... tios-set-1
Second: https://soundcloud.com/ananth-pattabi/h ... tios-set-2

Thank you,
Ananth Pattabi
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uday_shankar
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#2 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by uday_shankar » 02 Sep 2016, 16:07

This is very subjective and one can readily get into the zone of enjoying either intonation. But since you ask...

The first one of course !

I have to listen more carefully, but the first one seems to follow intonations that I am more comfortable with ... close to "just intonation"... i.e.,

S = 0 (cents)
G = 316
M = 498
D = 814
N = 996

The biggest culprit in the second version is the G...way too high for comfort. Then the D and N. All are sharper.

When I tune strings of the chitravenu zither, I try to listen to harmonics and tune. So I believe I end up using close to just intonation or something between just and equal temperament.

What are the intonations of the second set...certainly seems higher that just intonation OR equal temperament !

Then there is also the "Carnatic" mindset...if you have enough "gnyanam" you try to lower the intonation to a mere wisp of an anuswara :). For example, Todi has only four swaras S M P S (Arohana would be S S M M P P S S !)
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raguanu
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#3 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by raguanu » 04 Sep 2016, 09:16

Thanks for the detailed analysis and feedback @uday_shankar.

Both recordings use only known good ratios, the numbers from various reputed sources, numbers arrived at by acceptable logic (cycle of fifths/fourths, harmonics etc). Until now there has been no easy way to actually hear these specific ratios. So, it is difficult for most to co-relate the logic behind the number with actual physical sound. It's possible that some ratios appear logical but not sound good, or some ratios look complex on paper but sound just right.

You were right when you said First recording's Ga, Dha and Ni are lower than the Second's. You also nailed Ni's ratio in the first (along with Sa and Ma, of course)

But,
G = 316
...
D = 814
These two exact ratios are used in the Second recording!

You seem to like the numbers Ga2=6/5 (315.64 cents) and Dha1=8/5 (813.69 cents) but they sound one comma (21.5 cents) higher than your actual musical preference. Ni2 also sounds a comma higher in the second recording, and you are right about its ratio in the first. Neither of the recordings is in Equal Temperament, but the first one is somewhat closer to ET, 4 to 8 cents lower than ET in Ga, Dha, Ni, whereas the second one's Ga Dha Ni sound 14 to 18 cents higher than ET.

I didn't publish the ratios earlier to prevent any biases. Here are the ratios used in my recordings-
Set 1: Ga 32/27, Ma 4/3, Dha 128/81, Ni 16/9
Set 2: Ga 6/5, Ma 4/3, Dha 8/5, Ni 9/5

I've made the recordings downloadable now. Please download and verify.

Once again, thanks for your contribution @uday_shankar,
Ananth Pattabi
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uday_shankar
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#4 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by uday_shankar » 04 Sep 2016, 15:33

raguanu wrote:You seem to like the numbers Ga2=6/5 (315.64 cents) and Dha1=8/5 (813.69 cents)
Correction ! No conclusions need be drawn about my numerical or fractional preferences. I have absolutely none ! I quote from myself above:
uday_shankar wrote:something between just and equal temperament.
If I have any bias it may be towards ET since I have not regularly listened to any music over the last year apart from baroque ( actually only J S Bach to be precise). Although JSB himself used some kind of "meantone" temperament when rapidly tuning his harpsichord, most music in the current day is played using organs, pianos, even harpsichords, and of course orchestras trained in ET. The world is ruled by ET ! And I like this alien rule :).

The hindolam G or G2 in common parlance is always a wild card in my head. I can never bear to get it high enough to make it sound a perfect third (5/4) lower than the PA.

The D1 is a very interesting note. In a lot of pages devoted to the search for the holy grail, Bharata's 22 shrutis, 8/5 supposedly constitutes "dvishruti" dhaivata and is supposedly present in mayamalvagowla while a more exotic ratio 253/240 (?), about 90 cents, constitutes the ekashruti dhiaivata of saveri. Meh ! For while about 15 years back I took these seriously but I have come to the conclusion that it's complete nonsense. 8/5 is too high even for Hindustani biases, which are distinctly towards ET.

The two notes from ET which I find very uncomfortable while tuning are of course the major third (G3) and the major sixth (D2).

Apart from S, M1 and P I think G3 is the "purest" note in my head and tunings. Always lower than ET and usually very harmonically palpalble wrt shruti (I tabla pro, the best shruti device I could find out there).

With D2 too there are some interesting things...5/3 is easy to tune...from the tonic or Sa you can get fairly precisely to 5/4 by listening to harmonics and then get to 5/3 which is only a fourth away. However, in practice that always feels little lower than my preference which is probably close to ET. So I end up taking it a little higher, even though I know it is "wrong" !.

The most baffling of all is "Bharata's experiment", which can never have happened as described...for one important reason:

I don't know anybody in the world, past or present, who can, in an absolute sense and without reference, raise or lower a string by a precise amount of 21 cents, the so-called pramana shruti, that too consistently for seven strings through several steps ! All tuning AFAIK is only relative and even an absolute lowering of the pitch by turning a knob or a slider by well known intervals like a 5th cannot be done with that kind of precision. Just touching the tuning peg of Bharata's veena, or gripping the peg a little harder can change the tuning by 21 cents !!!

Nowhere is the disconnect between so-called theory and practice more pathetic and palpable than the benighted discussions that go on in places like the music academy about shruti ratios :(.
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vasanthakokilam
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#5 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by vasanthakokilam » 05 Sep 2016, 01:04

Fascinating and informative discussion.

Funny, I listened to Mohanam in both pieces. I guess I was latching on to a different Sadjam. Did anyone else do that?

This leads me to ask a different question, only tangentially related the topic of the thread. Is there a way to make it sound unambigously Hindolam without introducing any sruti background reference to Sa? What are such techniques to establish Sa with what is being played without reference to anything external. Can you show that with these two recordings? I will listen and see if I intrinsically catch on to the right Sa and hence Hindolam. Thanks
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raguanu
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#6 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by raguanu » 06 Sep 2016, 09:36

uday_shankar wrote:The hindolam G or G2 in common parlance is always a wild card in my head. I can never bear to get it high enough to make it sound a perfect third (5/4) lower than the PA.
That's interesting. Why not? If Ga2 could be proper 5/4 below Pa, wouldn't it sound correct during graha-bedam. That said, should we consider ratios that result in correct graha-bedam (over the ones which make up imperfect graha-bedam), or should we purposefully avoid them so as to prevent any possible confusion about Sa.
vasanthakokilam wrote:Is there a way to make it sound unambigously Hindolam without introducing any sruti background reference to Sa?
I tried my best to avoid this ambiguity.
  • I have given a clear Arohanam-Avarohanam in the beginning.
  • The musical phrase that follows starts with a Sa.
  • I have added Sa - Ma - Sa drone notes to aid correct swaram recognition
I'm aware that people have preferences towards specific tambura/shruti box sounds. I've exposed the swarams with and without background reference sound, so rasikas can judge notes with their preferred tambura sound when they can, or with the provided Sa-Ma drone.

I should have mentioned this earlier, the shruti of the recording is 6 (A=440 hz). Could you try again now and see if it indeed sounds like Hindolam?

Thanks @uday_shankar, @vasanthakokilam for the interesting perspectives. I'm also eager to hear what other rasikas think.

Thank you,
Ananth Pattabi
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vasanthakokilam
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#7 Re: Quiz: Which Hindolam recording sounds perfect? (Shrutis/Ratios)

Post by vasanthakokilam » 06 Sep 2016, 10:13

Ananth, I am still hearing more Mohanam than Hindolam. It is just me. Uday has out of the ordinary sensitive swara gyan, I am curious what others hear.

I did not even notice the S-m-S though I heard some thing after the beginning which sounded like chords, which I filtered out and by that time I was all set on Mohanam and anything that sounded different was set aside as exceptions ;)

btw, when I asked the question you quoted, I did not mean to say you did not do it right. It was more a general question which I always had and your example recordings brought it to the forefront. I have raised this before but I never understood it properly or fully.

I guess the arohanam/avarohanam and starting note is not sufficient for me to get a grip on the Sa. In western music, they do not have a drone but they have the concept of the key. They define the key as the tonal center, whatever that actually means. But to me that minimally implies the music itself gives enough indication of where the key is and one does not need a drone. Does that apply to CM? If so what are the things in the music that helps us fill in the Sa when there is no background drone? ( I was thinking the resting note in between passages or a sustained note at the end of the anupallavi etc. But other notes can take those places as well, at least theoretically, so that does not seem to be a satisfactorily tight answer)
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