vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

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shankarank
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#1 vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 15 Jul 2018, 04:55

From the great vidvAn Sri Balachander:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ncsxpdk8n3be ... 3.mp3?dl=0

Lot of interesting questions. But on vINa music, he says there were only very few, they were twinging and twanging.

But he ascribes his methods to vocal music. But the vocalists were either blaring or finging and fanging before then as well. Until music was democratized and a mass of people dwelt on aesthetics. It was a continuation of evolving sanskriti.

And has he considered the role of violin? Again we are tempted to say it is a Western instrument , but musical consciousness is all Indian! They explored the potential of the instrument within Indian framework.

He is also not considering the contribution of nAdasvaram to the vocalists.

He calls twinging and twanging as instrumental music. His own playing is vocal music. But then he claims, kritis are an easy way to please to audience , but then he goes on to dismiss the audience and says "don't attend my concert - it will be boring!"

Is this just a projection??

Why not consider sAhitya in the tradition of sAhitya/sangIta wholesomeness? He skipped the entire discussion on laya - saying Sruti mAta , and laya comes later!.

On sangatis, he makes an effective point, about sangatis he will add , where expects the great vaggEyakkArAs to pat him on the back.

His mAnasIka reverence only to 4 musicians : Tiger VaradAcAriar, tiruvAvADuturai rAjaratnam piLLaivAL, tiruvAlagAdu sundarESa Iyer and mahArAjapuram viSvanAtha Iyer.

Lec Dems are more important than giving 10 concerts. He also teaches his students to pull the String from the saraLi days!

At least the reverence to vAggEyakkAra is intact in his half colonial intellect, where he says they did not give us just bones, i.e. skeleton. If only the music can get in our bones - huh??
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ajaysimha
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#2 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by ajaysimha » 17 Jul 2018, 14:02

thanks for the write-up and the upload.
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uday_shankar
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#3 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 19 Jul 2018, 11:47

Loved listening to it. Inspiring stuff. Thanks for sharing.

But... I must add that as much as I am in great admiration of SB, and also love his philosophy of elaborate raga exploration, and also his revolutionary approach to vina playing, I have to say all that admiration is tempered by the fact that he probably hastened the complete "electronification" or "de-acoustification" of vina as well as other stringed instruments of Carnatic music.

We are now at a place where the ideal "Carnatic instrumental sound" is the electric mandolin and keyboard. Does anyone recall the "tone" of a keyboard ?

Meanwhile, sitartists and sarodists have preserved the acoustic character of their instruments very well... not by accident but by diligence. The need for sustain/kaarvai was felt my them too, but they did not take the shortcut of electronification but spent decades tinkering with instrument makers to get there. SB was far more cavalier and simply added a contact mike and moved on. Also, as the years went by, the extreme pulling became a sort of perversion...

Of course, certainly south Indian sampradaya is not particularly interested or cognizant of tone/color. Even the vocabulary is limited in this area. I've heard "nalla azhuttham" or "azhuttham pOrAdu" being stated as if to denote something profound and all encompassing. Therefore, the keyboard and "mandlin" (south Indian word for electric mandolin) could be construed as part of the "evolving Sanskriti". They are very conducive to kriti playing, madhyamakala and durita kaala playing, and certainly laya vinyasa. But they come at a price - loss of the idea of nAda. That's OK too, but leads to comical situations where pious talks and analysis about nAda and nAdabrahmam and that stuff have no connection to practice. ANother case and point - an instrumentalist whose strings are routinely out of tune gives a seminar on 22 shrutis ! It has happened! In fact, I think mridangam players are most clued in about nAda... shruti, nAda and laya all come together.
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shankarank
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#4 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 22 Jul 2018, 02:30

You have to understand , Mandolin entered the scene about the same time, the entire TN was under the spell of movie Industry , politically and culturally. This was early 80s as I had mentioned earlier in the forum , in a thread discussing SK award to Ravikiran I think, that an entire colony of lower middle class brahmins descended into the temple , where a local sabha by 3 musically engaged women with Rs 20 or so as "candA" or subscription as they called it, brought many musicians. My Mom tells me Sri TNS inaugurated it. Then Sikkil Sisters ( With Sri KRM on Mridangam I think) , Ganesh Kumaresh etc had graced the stage as well. So there was a good reception to good tonal instrumental music. Ganesh/Kumaresh did not use pickup at that time.

But none matched the craze of a response to a Mandlin Srinivas concert. And his Raghuvamsa sudha stole the show!

This town had not heard much of any philosophy as regards music or spirituality. We did celebrate our Sankara/Ramanuja Jayantis, but nobody was explaining that music had 22 Srutis. Lec Dems were never heard of.

If you consider the TN movie Industry as anything Sanskritic, yes you can call it evolving Sanskriti. Whether Ilayaraja is culturally sanskritic or not ( which could be separate discussion in retrospect) , the people viewed it as anti-traditional and loathed it or loved it for being fashionable/modern. And I am talking about the rasika view of things. Rasikas would not have been able to understand even the depth of Srinivas' music.

But there is a silver lining to it : they did have the heritage of listening to kritis.

As regards the learned, they had given up regarding the sustenance of what they had known as traditional ways of music, and they were welcoming Srinivas as well. There may have been critiques in the core intellectual community of Carnatic music, who had the habit of critiquing everything for that matter all the way to Ariyakudi and GNB.

U Srinivas, of course we know, as a 7 year old he had coordinated 5 pakkavadyams in his prastaras and that is sanskriti - no doubt.
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#5 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 22 Jul 2018, 05:22

https://www.npr.org/2014/09/25/35149262 ... u-srinivas

Even as a youngster, he had an amazingly natural touch. One of the earliest LPs I encountered by Srinivas, Mandolin Ecstasy, was made when he was still a small boy yet completely belied his youth. (The Western shirt he wears on the cover is sublime.) As good as those early recordings were, they were superseded by his later international work.
https://www.allmusic.com/album/mandolin ... 0000199906

Ironically, it is the later international work that most people in the CM community ignored.
By contrast, the modestly sized, plucked mandolin isn't great for sustained notes. But somehow Srinivas found a way. As he said in a U.K. television interview in the early 1990s, "I had confidence that anything can be played." He started out on the acoustic mandolin, then switched to an electric mandolin, which made possible the sustained notes and the typically Carnatic gamakas — ornamentations — he sought to achieve.
For the improved carnatic music - Yes he got his crowds at venues, but in a concert that I went to in KGS , I could not feel/see much enthusiasm. He was not the most happening musician past 2000.
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#6 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 22 Jul 2018, 06:44

https://www.amazon.com/Gamanashrama-Man ... B0000E2G32

More insights from a review by "Suffering Beauty" :D
This presentation (in two 30 minute portions) is unique among the widely known high production standard recordings, in part because Mr. Srinivas is in his early 30s and has a more mature grasp of the importance of silence and delay, which is usually not possible when young.
I know what the katana kutUhalam enjoyers were sensing now ;) . The syncopated shift of syllables!!

But I am quoting a westerner - now :
Curiously the electronic tambura used has been set at twice the volume in the Ragam (1), than the Tanam (2). Which causes one to strain, trying to listen past the mechanical grind of the drone box which is simply too loud not to mention boring (even irritating) compared to Srinivas' gorgeous, organic, liquid mandolin tone which is surrounded with downy atmospheric space, that suggests something like an ECM aesthetic. None of the other Srinivas recordings that I've heard get close to the tonal depth and elegance of his mandolin evident here. What a travesty to make Mr. Srinivas compete on equal footing with a dry, metallic sampled loop of tambura-like substance! The session is saved by the clearly audible reduction of the tambura volume in the Tanam, just so, since the soundstage has to make room for two more players.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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uday_shankar
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#7 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 23 Jul 2018, 08:53

shankarank wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 05:22
By contrast, the modestly sized, plucked mandolin isn't great for sustained notes. But somehow Srinivas found a way. As he said in a U.K. television interview in the early 1990s, "I had confidence that anything can be played." He started out on the acoustic mandolin, then switched to an electric mandolin, which made possible the sustained notes and the typically Carnatic gamakas — ornamentations — he sought to achieve.
There''s a lot of fanciful narratives but really the "mandlin" that srinivas played is nothing more than a "mini" electric guitar, i.e., frets placed more closely together. Other than that it bears no acoustic or tonal resemblance to the real mandolin. As far as I know, Srinivas, never played the acoustic mandolin ever, certainly not on stage. It has always been the electric mandolin. Also, the shortcomings of the real mandolin is not just sustain.. the frets are incredibly high and it is very hard to glide between notes. It was always electric.

Here's a primer on the real mandolin from Avi Avittal, and incredible Israeli mandolinist

https://youtu.be/a417miPQ-M8

As you can see, much effort and focus went into nAda, the real stuff. Not the stuff that Carnatic "scholars" give lecdems and quote shastras.
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#8 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 23 Jul 2018, 09:17

Carnatic scholars give lecdems and quote shastras , only in the hope ( and they may not be aware of this !) that a nAdA filled vocalist of all people would one day adorn the stage! As most members of the captive population that could provide one, have not been made available to the practice of music. You need endowments.

tyAgAraja's endownment was not just uncca vriddhi - he stayed close to what would have been some fertile grounds then. Diskhitar was endowed by samasthanams as well. But we have fanciful narratives, now that : musicians have gone after money and spoilt themselves.

Nothing comes free. And we cannot compare ourselves with what happened elsewhere. In terms of world knowledge and outlook, we live/lived amidst one of the clueless set of people. In that sense the Shastras are a bright spot a gift from the toil of our ancestors. It unconsciously gets mouthed by people!
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#9 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 23 Jul 2018, 09:36

Hey if ChitravINA could be done with hawaian guitar ;) - then Mandlin can be electric Guitar. I asked RK once if the Sruti could up a bit, as it was now wee bit above MDR Sruti, good for Mridangam , but a notch higher would make it better after all :D .. . He said it would sound Shrill - I remember!
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#10 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 23 Jul 2018, 11:33

shankarank wrote:
23 Jul 2018, 09:17
In that sense the Shastras are a bright spot a gift from the toil of our ancestors
Not in all cases. I think Bharata himself was just a theoretician who never did any experiments with real instruments and objects. I really think that the crux of the method outlined in the Natya-shastra to demonstrate 22 shrutis is terribly flawed and could have only been articulated by somebody with no experience tuning actual strings. Nobody, even a cyborg, can increase or reduce the pitch of a given string with the level of precision required, by exactly "one pramana shruti" in a series of steps. And then keep doing it for seven strings in a row, in multiple steps. It is complete nonsense. All tuning is always relative, for any precision. In contrast, J S Bach had evolved a set of precisely articulated practical steps to get the 24 strings of the clavichord in tune with mean tone temperament (a precursor the equal temperament), an exercise he carried out everytime he sat to play on it. It is always a cross reference matrix with a lot of retrials because when you increase the tension of one string, it impacts everything else. Only those who have tuned multiple strings on the same physical embodiment know all this. Bharata did not. Perhaps the other parts of natya shastra speak from practical knowledge, I wouldn't be able to tell.

Somehow, I don't believe certain types of empirical knowledge can be gained without the toil of experiments and systematic observation. Indian tradition is rich in such experiments and observation where it concerns the individual, his breath, his mind, his body, mental states, metabolism, etc etc but poor when it comes to physical objects and most importantly where it entails a cross-caste skill set encompassing theory and experiment. For example, hypothesizing, Bharata perhaps never did any experiment because his caste was that of a thinker, not a tinkerer...? So the sthapathis knew the practical geometry of objects while Brahmins tried to explain geometry in memorizable verses without any diagrams ... ?! Go figure, pun intended. If they had collaborated with sthapathis, they could have carved some permanent diagrams and then carved some verses alongside....
Last edited by uday_shankar on 23 Jul 2018, 12:43, edited 1 time in total.
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#11 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by SrinathK » 23 Jul 2018, 12:43

uday_shankar wrote:
23 Jul 2018, 11:33
shankarank wrote:
23 Jul 2018, 09:17
Carnatic scholars give lecdems and quote shastras


I think Bharata himself was just a theoretician who never did any experiments with real instruments and objects. I really think that the crux of the method outlined in the Natya-shastra to demonstrate 22 shrutis is terribly flawed and could have only been articulated by somebody with no experience tuning actual strings. Nobody, even a cyborg, can increase or reduce the pitch of a given string with the level of precision required, by exactly "one pramana shruti" in a series of steps. And then keep doing it for seven strings in a row, in multiple steps. It is complete nonsense. All tuning is always relative, for any precision. In contrast, J S Bach had evolved a set of precisely articulated practical steps to get the 24 strings of the clavichord in tune with mean tone temperament (a precursor the equal temperament), an exercise he carried out everytime he sat to play on it. It is always a cross reference matrix with a lot of retrials because when you increase the tension of one string, it impacts everything else. Only those who have tuned multiple strings on the same physical embodiment know all this. Bharata did not. Perhaps the other parts of natya shastra speak from practical knowledge, I wouldn't be able to tell.
Dr. Vidyadhar Oke had cracked that code. http://www.22shruti.com/research_topics_list.asp

This is the only scale that flows straight out of the math, and sounds amazingly good as well - the math produces 24 tones, 2 for each note, and by keeping S and P fixed they reduce to 22. I played around with the ratios to see their possibilities for graha bhedam, but the analysis was very cumbersome and IIRC, that excel sheet only made sense to me.

But the conclusion was interesting. There is indeed a mathematical basis for graha bhedam and why we use no more than 12 notes in an octave -- This scale will allow you to get at least 12 valid intervals across the board even when the S is shifted to other positions. Others will become invalid, but it won't matter as we need only 12 to make music.

This gives a slightly different character when the same arohanam avarohanam is played in different positions, because in each position the available intervals are slightly different. Something that Bach's tuning also had.

Most of the intervals after graha bhedam sync perfectly, but some had a small error of < 2 cents (it takes 100 cents to move from S to r1 for reference and this is below the range of the human ear to detect). So tuning can't get better than that no matter what one does.

The harmonic possibilities of Oke's 22 shrutis and it's parent 24 tone scale are also far greater than the modern Equally tempered system (which is much more imperfect). You could play 4-6 notes on his 22 shruti harmonium in perfect sync, while a regular harmonium has become an ear sore for me as all the intervals are off and I can tell it. And this is the same problem with these keyboards - all the intervals are off.

So @uday_shankar what is possible is this - we have two instruments capable of expressing all the intervals tuned to the same pitch for Sa. Then you could play a note on one of them, and re-tune the other to that pitch. It will still be possible to play 12 tones in sync between both the instruments.

The Natyashastra did describe a similar procedure, but how they intended to get the 2 veenas to sync doesn't make sense nor is it explained clearly. That's what happens when people try to verbalize everything...those books do in fact have many mistakes. Even the gamakas of the SSP make me scratch my head at times when I hear those versions.
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#12 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 23 Jul 2018, 13:22

SrinathK wrote:
23 Jul 2018, 12:43
Dr. Vidyadhar Oke had cracked that code.
I don't think there was any code to crack. The Didymus comma or pramana shruti or the ration 81/80 is well known and springs directly from experiments with intervals. The Greeks (Didymus) explained it much better without any voodoo or mystique.

My only issue is the practical impossibility of decreasing the pitch of a string by some arbitrary amount, WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE. You try to measure... take a sonometer, record the tone, then move the bridge so you get the fifth (i.e., tune Sa to Pa) and then record the tone. Now check the recording with some Matlab script and see if you're within a pramana shruti of the exact Sa-Pa ratio... Now imagine using the gut strings and wooden pegs of 2000 years ago, somebody is trying to change the pitch of seven strings by ONE pramana shruti each, for each step.

I think only that which can be practised has any relevance. Nobody can get a super sensual experience based on the fact that their intervals are mathematically precise. I can generate the most precise intervals with an artificial tone generator and if somebody gets stoked by that, well...

As a matter of practice, I tune 34 strings everyday by ear, using simple rules of consonance. Some go out of tune, and may be a couple cents off, a few cents off in some cases, but there's an organic cohesion to the whole thing and the whole idea is to keep it in tune all the time.

On the other hand, take the vina frets. Just to take one example, the second fret of the vina is set to 10/9 swarasthana which will work correctly for the panchama string as 5/3 for D2. But that means the vainika is always playing 10/9 for R2 on shadja string, and 9/8 for R2 on the second string (which falls on the panchama fret). So these differ by a pramanashruti (9/8)/(10/9) = 81/80. Does any vainika from Muthuswamy Dikshithar to Jayanthi Kumaresh know or care ? In practice, I prefer 9/8 for R2 instinctively because of the panchama consonance but when everything else is in good tune, it really doesn't matter. Many great violinists had poor intonation (and tuning) but were so good in other matters that it didn't matter. Same with equal temperament. U Shrinivas only played in equal temperament but carried it off so well.
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#13 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by SrinathK » 23 Jul 2018, 14:16

My only issue is the practical impossibility of decreasing the pitch of a string by some arbitrary amount, WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE.....Now imagine using the gut strings and wooden pegs of 2000 years ago, somebody is trying to change the pitch of seven strings by ONE pramana shruti each, for each step
Even if you can tune down the strings using a veena that somehow had 22 frets as a reference, there's no way you're gonna decrease by 1 pramana shruti on each step. The shruti intervals come in a specific order and that is the only way in which the strings can be successively tuned up (and reverse for down).

Speaking of equal temperament, that's why I gave up on the harmonium - all the notes are way off. Put it next to a tambura app, and it's glaring. The 22 shruti system would have made a much better substitute. But one note would need to have absolute pitch for it to work.

But coming to the main point, of all the things in Carnatic music, one thing that is missing in teaching is a proper introduction to tonal color and developing an ear for it in a workable manner which I see in other music systems. E.g. Some western concert violinists have chosen strings such that each string had a unique tonal character and complemented / contrasted with the others well.

The only people who really talk about this (and IMHO have the best ear for tone) are those who make and develop musical instruments and those who make acoustic halls, and those who make high quality headphones, mics and speakers.
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#14 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 24 Jul 2018, 09:15

The human resource potential of those times cannot be underestimated , even considering the poor state of the technical equipment available to them. The archaeological record itself is quite remarkable for things achieved. As speculated , two or more identical vINAs might have been attempted by multiple trial and error and if we lengthen the amount of time of such an experiment to multiple generations, the accidental discovery of such things becomes more possible.

As origin of life theorists would like to speculate, if we lengthen the time and space horizon of the first amino acid formation as a building block of life , all the way to comets and icicles, the probability of life as an accident increases!! I.E. we can give it even more than the age of the earth to work itself out, somewhere out there , goes the argument.

Irrespective of all this, the Sastras stand as sacred texts and that aspect towers over everything - i.e. the cultural sense it conveys to generations. Technical issues can always be compensated later on. Every original creator leaves flaws , but he/she gets the maximum credit.

Wolfgang Pauli died unable to accept that parity could be violated. But he is still a towering figure in Physics.

But the fact that we kept simply quoting is the reason for the decline of our civilization. I am not sure this is a Caste separation issue, as jAtis have lived in harmony and co-existence for long times. More likely detailed knowledge was not preserved other than orally and even if written down generally tends to rot away in the conditions of the land.

That said, I always prefer the integer ratio interpretation , since it gives the feel of the consonance of "nth" and "mth" harmonics, given that I tend to think in terms of Fourier expansion. And I get completely lost when I see the language of cents. If consonance is the underlying principle of perception , then that should be given prominence.

It would seem that R2 would "settle" at 9/8 or higher for a good KalyANI exponent, because the rAgA's approach demands so. In HM depending on where nyAsa is taken at any given point of exposition of rAgA different spots could be reached. The rAgA consciousness and training confounds everything. Whether it is the Adhara Shadja that is the basis or some other reference can vary and depends on the approach of the musician in either system.

Interestingly there was a paper circulated by some of the musicians ( all now in Dallas and I know them!) and Lo and behold I searched for it, and it had been rubbished by none other than our good friend Arvindh - the 12 Note + Inflections theorist!. Back to the RMIC days.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/r ... 66EeWkT0AJ
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#15 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by SrinathK » 24 Jul 2018, 12:30

But the fact that we kept simply quoting is the reason for the decline of our civilization
Our main problem is that mass literacy itself is only less than half a century old and most of our country was busy farming for their food (and still is).
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#16 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by SrinathK » 24 Jul 2018, 12:36

shankarank wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 09:15

Interestingly there was a paper circulated by some of the musicians ( all now in Dallas and I know them!) and Lo and behold I searched for it, and it had been rubbished by none other than our good friend Arvindh - the 12 Note + Inflections theorist!. Back to the RMIC days.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/r ... 66EeWkT0AJ
I have no idea of the story behind this, but it's been conclusively proved that in modern gamaka based CM, there are no such things as 'shrutis'.

I don't see why people are so interested in fitting Indian music to equal temperament, not only is it fundamentally wrong, ET is a Chinese invention :twisted:
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#17 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 24 Jul 2018, 14:52

shankarank wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 09:15
Wolfgang Pauli died unable to accept that parity could be violated. But he is still a towering figure in Physics.
Not quite true. It is true he resisted the idea but was a quick convert by 1957 and then of course in 1958 he died. Yang visited Pauli in 1957 at the Institute for Advanced Study and pretty much sold the idea... It also helped that Pauli had an attraction to Chien-Sheng Wu, the Columbia parity experimentalist who should have been give the prize along with Yang and Lee (hey, they omitted Lisa Meitner, so they can do anything). Finally, in late 1957, early 1958, only months before his death, Pauli gave a lecture on the "Theory of Weak Interactions", and introduced the notation of right and left handed neutrinos, following Lee's lead. Full convert!

(I happen to have a copy of Charles Enz's "No Time to be Brief", very dense and hard to understand, but keeps me thinking and wanting to learn more as I get time... I also have Pauli's 1921 encyclopedia article on Special and GTR...)
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#18 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 24 Jul 2018, 15:04

shankarank wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 09:15
That said, I always prefer the integer ratio interpretation , since it gives the feel of the consonance of "nth" and "mth" harmonics, given that I tend to think in terms of Fourier expansion. And I get completely lost when I see the language of cents. If consonance is the underlying principle of perception , then that should be given prominence.
For error tracking, cents has far more practical utility but certainly it caters to thinking in an equally tempered linear grid of sorts. It also has another serious flaw. Any limiting deviation specification in cents (say 10 cents) becomes more and more difficult to achieve as you go up in absolute frequency (the math is simple when you look at the formula... 1200 log (f)/log(2)).

So the bottom line, it is far easier for somebody like MDR to give an impression of shruti shuddham than somebody like Lata Mangeshkar. And yet the irony is that most egregious shruti violators are baritone male singers of CM, while most females do very well. It could also be the power of negative feedback... for those sensitive enough. And female singers are generally more sensitive.

Our own experience with singing and instruments will readily suggest that it is easier to tune/sing at lower pitches/sthayis.
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#19 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 25 Jul 2018, 07:03

SrinathK wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 12:30
Our main problem is that mass literacy itself is only less than half a century old and most of our country was busy farming for their food (and still is).
Literacy and farming need not be mutually exclusive. That's also part of the caste-imposed division of labor. I am fortunate to be moving among many "back to the land"ers who carry their advanced learning as lightly as their deep commitment to working on the land (personally, not some hired labor) and question everything from fundamental principles. There was a lot of traditional wisdom in farming which has been completely destroyed in the last several decades of half-assed short term yield based policies which has laid waste to the land. M S Swaminathan, one of the chief architects of that kind of farming has had a welcome change of heart... a little too late for the millions of hectares of land laid waste by decades of fertilizer and pesticide intensive farming and the seed varieties lost to criminal, government sponsored confiscation and destruction. it is still going on... Monsanto has the government in its pocket.

Our most clever people have very poor EQ's, very poor vision, and are very impractical. Beyond excelling in canned math problems and chess games, they add very little of practical or lasting value. Our not so clever people have had their traditional inherited wisdom, their tapas, questioned and ridiculed by "modern science" folks, so they have been reduced to imbeciles. We're an imbecile nation where electrical engineers can't change light bulbs and mechanical engineers can't turn screw drivers and they all get IIM degrees to pontificate on how to run businesses where the important real problems are solved by "jugaad" experts.
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#20 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 25 Jul 2018, 08:28

SrinathK wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 12:30
Our main problem is that mass literacy itself is only less than half a century old and most of our country was busy farming for their food (and still is).
To add ( or in response!) to what Uday said, I assembled many a circuit including a street light system that reacted to light (light sensitive diode) as a high-schooler and there was a hams club that taught morse code. We assembled the oscillators too. Radio fixing at that time would be done by a Bombay electronics guy in a shanty around Meenakshi temple teppakkuLam. A chennai vacation trip would take me to Ritchie street. My mentor was an ex-service-man who did auto-electronics in T.V.S.

Talking of jugaad, I was tired of transistors burning up due to the heat of soldering, or poor soldering causing circuit to not work, I used a writing pad material with holes, screws and washers to connect the circuit, which worked , but failed on the day of the competition, due to a loose screw.

But the institute aimed to turn us into Scientist engineers, and I should not be competing with the shanty-wallah - I am supposed to be doing better things. If we were so useless how come so many of us got hired into the U.S?

Europe's medieval literacy was not that great and less than few thousand English men were ruling here in India. So you don't need a great percent educated to drive the vision of a civilization.

But in a music forum, I wouldn't view language as a utility or even a literary tool. Recently there was a conversation regarding development of tamizh and many villagers during the time of my grandfather's time wouldn't even speak much. So who developed tamizh and who were it's chief custodians? It is the piLLAi community!

But a language as a sacred thing encompasses even a child as a scholar! Just refer to classic texts in tamizh - those ideas are embedded there!
Last edited by shankarank on 25 Jul 2018, 08:32, edited 1 time in total.
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#21 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by SrinathK » 25 Jul 2018, 08:31

Agree. I think in the near future I'll write about the scam that goes by the name of college education in this country.
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#22 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 25 Jul 2018, 08:57

uday_shankar wrote:
24 Jul 2018, 14:52
Not quite true. It is true he resisted the idea but was a quick convert by 1957 and then of course in 1958 he died.
You read books. I remember what I heard. It was Prof. R Srinivasan ( of the Cryogenics project in IITM), who by the way also talked about us being Scientist engineers, that talked about Pauli being heart broken about that. So it seems there are legends and folk tales in Scientific community as well.
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#23 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by shankarank » 25 Jul 2018, 09:10

SrinathK wrote:
25 Jul 2018, 08:31
Agree. I think in the near future I'll write about the scam that goes by the name of college education in this country.
Well it takes a lot to get real college education to be useful. College setup itself was not easy. The cast iron beds on which the Electrical machines sat in the EM lab, were a major chunk of German aid. By that time the machines were sleeping in those beds. Obsolescence hits you hard!
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#24 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 25 Jul 2018, 17:19

shankarank wrote:
25 Jul 2018, 08:57
So it seems there are legends and folk tales in Scientific community as well.
You bet. There's nearly a century long cottage industry of Einstein tales, but even the lesser known ones (among general public) didn't escape it. One Pauli story, which I was surprised to learn to be true from Charles Enz's book is the room number of the Zurich hospital where he died: 137. Pauli had this psychic connection to numbers... so the entire spin quantum number stuff came from Pauli's psychic love/connection to quaternions (going back to his days with Arnold Sommerfeld), which extend the idea of the Argand diagram to multiple dimensions and more importantly non-commutative multiplication operation... as we know up until the exclusion principle / electron spin there were only three quantum numbers and boom we have another quantum number, spin, and everything resolves itself and explains a staggering variety of physical and chemical phenomena. Pauli's fascination for the fine structure constant, which was, in 1957 thought to be much closer to the rational number 1/137 than the current measured values, was well known. So the room number 137 was quite fascinatingto Pauli. Feynman also had this fixation with the fine structure constant... Once experiments revealed several decimal places, the mystique vanished... whole numbers are fascinating in physics, but too bad it never happens unless you fiddle with units, but then fine structure constant is dimensionless. Haha ! It's as elusive as platform # 9.75.

All numerical fascinations are quite meaningless... Indian culture, of course is fascinated with meaningless numerical echoes... 7 notes, 7 sages, 7 days a week, blah blah... but Pauli shows western scientists are not immune either. Every number can be shown to be "fascinating" but nobody is any the wiser for it.

One numerical connection that can be promoted to be mystical and "fascinating" could be 22/7. It's got 22, the magic number of divine shrutis (as demonstrated by a bogus vina/yazh experiment), then the 7 divine swaras or saptaswaras, and then you divide the two and you get an approximation for pi. Hey, there must be something divine and mystical here.... I am sure that's good enough to induce goosebumps for somebody somewhere already. :P...
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#25 Re: vINa S Balachander on instrumental music

Post by uday_shankar » 25 Jul 2018, 17:56

uday_shankar wrote:
25 Jul 2018, 17:19
All numerical fascinations are quite meaningless...
In an effort to keep things scrupulously honest, I have to confess I have aways been fascinated by Euler's relation
e^(i*pi) = -1
It is a kind of numerical fascination :P ...
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