Sruti for Singer only?

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Sivaramakrishnan
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#1 Sruti for Singer only?

Post by Sivaramakrishnan » 26 Jul 2018, 20:56

I have been observing that generally in concerts, the Sruti seems to be available only to the artists on the stage and by and large not to the ears of the audience. And this despite availability of a variety of electronic sruti gadgets. The excuse of a 'faulty manual Tambura' may no longer be valid these days. Except in the case of a very few musicians, the manual Tambura vadyam is ornamental on the kutcheri platforms and the user-friendly electronic sruti devices are invariably used. Added to this the so called shortage of Tambura artists.

My suggestion : This can be fairly overcome by providing exclusive but measured amplification for Sruti (must when manual Tambura only is used). This will certainly add to listening pleasure. (I wonder how sruti was quite audible to the audience in olden times when amplification was limited and the 'sound system' 'not very sound').

Hindustani musicians are very particular of the sruti factor and that clearly shows upon the impact of the rendition.

A senior Vidwan jokingly remarked that it would be better to have a 'subdued drone' if the artist is not confident of the 'sruti fidelity' of himself/herself or the team members.

I would like to know what ardent rasikas / music practitioners have got to say on the situation.
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VK RAMAN
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#2 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by VK RAMAN » 26 Jul 2018, 22:40

Probably:

1. Keep sruti volume high or keep a microphone near to sruti box
2. Keep two sruti boxes behind singer similar to tampura
3. Make srutibox connectible to speaker system

Some listeners do not like the sound of sruti as they like to voice of singer to be more promonent.
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Sivaramakrishnan
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#3 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by Sivaramakrishnan » 27 Jul 2018, 08:29

VK RAMAN wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 22:40

Some listeners do not like the sound of sruti as they like to voice of singer to be more promonent.
Perhaps this 'issue' also needs to be addressed!!
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HarishankarK
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#4 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by HarishankarK » 28 Jul 2018, 05:56

I have always prefered to hear the clear shruti throughout the concert. I have noted that mostly in doordarshan program we can hear the shruti loud and clear.
If in a concert I cannot hear the shruti I always feel something missing even if the singer / players sing/play v well. I am totally for hearing the shruti loud and clear
I think sabhas should inisist about this
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Nick H
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#5 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by Nick H » 28 Jul 2018, 13:39

Certainly the sound of the artists should be more prominent! We don't go to concerts to listen to the electronic thing. But certainly, too, the sound of the drone is a part of the sound of Indian music, isn't it? It should be there. But it should be subtle.

For me, personal opinion... Not being able to hear it is hugely preferable to having it down out the artists, which does happen.
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Sachi_R
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#6 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by Sachi_R » 28 Jul 2018, 14:57

One suggestion is that in concerts where a real tambura's used, it is mic'ed to a reasonable volume into the mixer and the audience contributes a token amount say ₹20 each to go to the Tambura artistes fund.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 28 Jul 2018, 17:08, edited 1 time in total.
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rajeshnat
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#7 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by rajeshnat » 28 Jul 2018, 17:07

The problem is at times the violinist at times is asking to reduce the tambura volume or they jack up the violin volume . I think a separate microphone to tambura that too to the audience out is the best idea .
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MadhavRayaprolu
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#8 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 01 Sep 2018, 11:55

I hope it is not just for the artist. Otherwise it could argued whether it even belongs on the stage, just like you wouldn’t bring a metronome to the stage.

Tambura provides a good reference point for audience and artists. Notes sung in perfect pitch sound even better if there is a reference. Agree with others the volume should be low.
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ganesh_mourthy
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#9 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 01 Sep 2018, 14:57

though this may be slightly tangential, I think it is important to discuss here. My cousin who learnt some initial carnatic and varnam and more now interested towards light music, devotional and ghazals is not reliant on a shruthi box at all . She sings perfect shruthi. I have checked it several times. I have also observed that light music singers will only internalize the pitch and carry on singing. And so are the western singers. But we need shruthi boxes and yet we miss on shruthi even sometimes glaringly on long plain notes. It is similar to our complete surrender to calculator for even simple calculations. Any inputs?
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bilahari
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#10 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by bilahari » 02 Sep 2018, 06:19

CM has a much greater concentration of gamakam than do other art forms, though. I think that's one of the reasons it's more difficult to recapture swara sthanas in CM. Of course, there is no basic emphasis on singing in tune with shruti or voice culture/instrument culture, which all worsen the situation because people advance in their careers without insight.

I agree entirely that the drone of the shruti adds to the aural experience in CM/HM, although it sounds all the more jarring when the artistes are off-pitch.
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shankarank
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#11 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 02 Sep 2018, 09:46

LOL - people already complaining that Sruti volume is high! ( see the chat)

https://youtu.be/RP_Ctddzew0?t=1041

People are not used to it.

@Ganesh_Mourthy - you will have to post examples where Sruti is not held. Hope you avoid damaged voices due to years of strain - that one is well known and people are considerate to artists and experience.

Most of the recognized youngsters in the current prime seem OK for me. There are few qualified , but not truly concert grade ( not an expressive voice) artistes singing. And they are not a big draw for the same reason.

Comparison with light singing is not valid. People have been forced to listen to something else other than music - and I am not sure that is due to lack of knowledge of music.
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ganesh_mourthy
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#12 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 02 Sep 2018, 11:25

shankarank ,

Not considering the gamakams and the likes of carnatic,. I asked a couple of friends to sing their Sa ( those who sing light classical, devotional and who took initial singing training, of course) and I have observed a few Carnatic artistes. The former do not immediately look out for a pitch box, while for the latter it is indispensable. I feel that it is better to practice without shruthi box every now and then and keep checking on shruthi , so you do not become totally reliant on shruthi box. Internalizing is important. I will try to post some. But this is more of general view.
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shankarank
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#13 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 02 Sep 2018, 17:57

I can sort of vouch for that as an amateur student. I never sang with Sruti box while practicing (bath singing that is). Please note even as a student I am amateur though! I sing in my car etc. But I am an amateur student ( not even a singer) and I have no responsibilities to perform even in an amateur way - I am not even an amateur performer.

One of these days I will sing something and upload and you can judge for yourself! But with allergies and stuff my voice has deteriorated a bit!

Only things I sang with Sruti are the vARNams I learnt. After that I don't sing them even!
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ganesh_mourthy
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#14 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 02 Sep 2018, 22:02

Looking forward to your singing upload. If you have not used shruti box often and still have a sense of confidence, it is quite likely that you could be singing in good Shruti.
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MadhavRayaprolu
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#15 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 02 Sep 2018, 22:21

@ganesh_mourty: I know what you are saying re non ICM singers being able to sing without a Sruthi box. But I don’t think the recommendation for CM students to practice without a tambura is a correct one. When you sing a note in perfect pitch and let your voice merge with the tambura sound, it is a blissful experience, something you don’t get without the tambura. For a student, there is a lot of ear training required to hear both the tambura and their own voice and enjoy the unity. In other words, I feel tambura is more than a training aid or a crutch to maintain Sruthi.
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ganesh_mourthy
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#16 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 03 Sep 2018, 14:15

I totally agree with you . Tanpura sound per se is a bliss. MS amma has once said that she would often stop plucking the tanpura for several minutes and would check if her notes aligned after a while. This repeated non guided training helps also to internalize the shruthis. I am not at all saying that we should give up one shruti or tanpura box.
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shankarank
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#17 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 04 Sep 2018, 01:41

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q-llaqcubw . Please listen to this. Sruti is held mostly ( within my personal recognition capabilities). Karaharapriya is a tough one to deliver music with , especially if one tries to pack lot of music into it. With its semitonal closeness. Reason why SSI is great - not his madyama kAlam alone!

If one were to dismiss this simply because in a higher kAlam neraval/svarams etc , one could perceive a bit of jarring notes ( not to the level of destablising the singer in fact), they miss out a lot on a great rendition.

Hear the miSrams by Mridangist to reach eduppus during neraval. And other interventionist support through out. Hear the good kARvai in lower kAla svaram!

If one has to listen to good CM , one has to cultivate taste for the flow of the music apart from the sound of it.
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MadhavRayaprolu
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#18 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 04 Sep 2018, 12:35

@shankarank That is a great recording indeed. Lots of brigas and interesting graha bhedams. This recording highlights the flow of phrases as you pointed out and not much of the beauty of pure notes. However, there are plenty of other CM recordings that do focus on the purity of flat notes in addition to the flow of raga/phrases. We only need to listen to this recording for a few seconds to see this beauty: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TSugj_EqgRU

Just want to point out that, showcasing the beauty of pure notes with a perfect pitch and voice is very much the realm of CM. Some artists may choose not to focus on this aspect and instead do more gamakams and brigas laden alapanas. That is their stylistic choice and nothing inherent to CM I think.
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shankarank
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#19 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 05 Sep 2018, 08:57

To call the phenomenon of MSS as some individual stylistic choice is quite a stretch. People do sAdhakam and originality emerges - is the right way to look at it.

What is then inherent to CM? The pATantarams and some supposedly original notation? - here I just threw in an example - not an attempt to extrapolate your thoughts.
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shankarank
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#20 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 07 Sep 2018, 09:50

MadhavRayaprolu wrote:
04 Sep 2018, 12:35
We only need to listen to this recording for a few seconds to see this beauty: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TSugj_EqgRU
What about this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f41qdBRvVw Carnatic music is made in 1/2 or quarter aksharas throughout EndarO mahAnubhAvulu :lol: . Yes carnatic music is ever made only with 1/2 aksharas or with a quarter :P .

dinamaNi which is all 4 4s - is a semmanguDi pATham - yeah still fire and fury is retained. She turns a female semmanguDi. And I am sure the endaro is not semmanguDi pAtham. endarO mahanubhAvalu? Well if it is indeed SSI , we have found something on him :twisted: tyagarAja in one story composed that after a vidvAn visited him , who did multi-kAla vARNam singing or something!

We only believe true MSS is the MSS we heard in her bhakti sangIt!!
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MadhavRayaprolu
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#21 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 08 Sep 2018, 11:12

shankarank wrote:
07 Sep 2018, 09:50
What about this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f41qdBRvVw Carnatic music is made in 1/2 or quarter aksharas throughout EndarO mahAnubhAvulu :lol: . Yes carnatic music is ever made only with 1/2 aksharas or with a quarter :P .
The Bhairavi piece in it still showcases beautiful rests on notes :)

But I see what you are saying. CM is a dynamic music, with gamakams, brigas, higher kalams, etc and fewer rests. CM is also an intellectual music in the sense, the idea that is presented is more important than how it ultimately sounds, exactly opposite to say light music. All of this makes it more forgiving on the need for extra precision on sruthi, voices, the tiny scratches in bowing violin, sound balance on the stage or recording quality. Understandable, but us rasikas should ask for more. Pay greater to the sound, appreciate it when these elements are done well, talk about and share it. That’ll be an incentive for the artists also to pay attention to these elements and up the game.
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shankarank
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#22 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 08 Sep 2018, 19:01

MadhavRayaprolu wrote:
08 Sep 2018, 11:12
CM is also an intellectual music in the sense, the idea that is presented is more important than how it ultimately sounds, exactly opposite to say light music.
I disagree. We ( there is one another person who confided! ;) ) knew some of this as 3 year olds ( exaggeration may be 5 or 7 but not too old!) as we walked the vIdhi bhajanas with our grand fathers.

It is only if others have NOT experienced , that one has to intellectualize and talk about it, and that is true of even the emotive aspects that you talk about!
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MadhavRayaprolu
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#23 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 09 Sep 2018, 06:53

Intellectual may not be the right word. Conceptual maybe? Here’s an analogy: when we pick up a book to read, we don’t pay as much attention to how beautiful the individual letters are. Reading a book is not a visual experience but a conceptual experience based on the ideas written in the book. We still care that the letters are “correct”. The occasional mistakes in editing, the paper quality issues can be annoying but we can easily forgive and focus on the story.

I find majority of CM experience to be analogous to this. The notes are a means to express ideas of the ragas and compositions and not necessarily elements of beauty in themselves. But not all CM of course. The great ones like MSS, MSG and several younger artists worked hard to give us not only conceptual experience but also aural experience. Much like a nice hard bound book with a glossy paper, beautiful fonts and pictures gives us conceptual as well as visual experience.
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shankarank
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#24 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by shankarank » 16 Sep 2018, 21:55

@MadhavRayaprolu Chakkani Raja by MS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwYaPGFrvIk

With recalcitrant voice of the day, the amAni (modest) mami gets to sing full Avartas! But MSS produces great music! Mridangam pickup by recording is too low, but still!
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ganesh_mourthy
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#25 Re: Sruti for Singer only?

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 17 Sep 2018, 08:29

Shankarank Ji

I am still waiting for your upload of your singing that you earlier promised .

GM
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