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Where there is humanity, there is music

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Indian art music l.jpg

Indian Art Music

A n I l l u s t r a t e d T a l k

by

Dr. Chintamani Rath Ph.D. (Indian Music)

www.ragaculture.com


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M U S I C …

Where there is humanity,

there is music…

(but : what is music?)


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M u s i c

O r g a n i s e d

&

emotionally expressive

s o u n d


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MUSICAL GENRES IN PRESENT DAY INDIA

NON - ART

(“LIGHT/POPULAR”)

ART

(“CLASSICAL”)

.

N O R T H

I N D I A N

(“HINDUSTANI”)

TRIBAL

SOUTH

INDIAN

(“CARNATIC”)

THEATRE

MUSIC

FOLK

  • Has religious/philosophic roots

  • Has a highly formalised grammar, dictated by textual as well as oral tradition

  • Has different genres

    (Vocal – Alap, Dhrupad/Dhamar, Khayal, Sadra, Thumri, Bhajan, Geet etc

    Instrumental – Alap, Masidkhani, Rajakhani, Firozkhani, Amirkhani Gat etc)

  • Has different styles (called Geeti, Bani or Baaj)

  • Has regional schools of presentation (currently called Gharanas)

  • Has regional variations in choice of Ragas, Talas, etc.

PROVINCIAL

CINEMA

MUSIC

RELIGIOUS

OR

PHILOSOPHIC

“INDUSTRIAL”

NON-INDIAN

IMPORTS


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Hindustani (North Indian) Music

Continuity back to Vedic times (6,000 BC)

Codified in a large number of ancient and medieval music treatises

Developed independently of folk music, albeit occasionally importing folk or regional elements, metamorphosing them suitably

Raga based, mostly improvised

Capable of intense expression in very slow speeds

Vast range of ornaments, particularly during slow passages

Subtle use of microtones in slow passages

Steady, long-held notes, mostly approached and/or quitted by little ornamental phrases

Gradual building up of tempo from very slow to very fast

Convention of time and season

Clear enunciation of rhythmic cycle by percussion accompanist (in dominant present day forms like Khayal, Sadra, Thumri, Bhajan etc.)

True to Hindu traditions: so-called “Persian influences” fully integrated within its essential and ancient grammatical format

Carnatic (South Indian) Music

Of more recent origin

Codified in medieval texts written by musicologists, the influential ones among whom studied in North India and thereafter returned to South India to fashion Carnatic music out of the prevalent regional musical forms to be found in South India

Composition based, mostly fixed

A fairly quick tempo from the start, so lacks the intensity, introspection, microtones and several ornaments found in Hindustani music

Notes are not held for long and are mostly quitted by a characteristic oscillation using indeterminate pitch

Constant and fairly fast tempo throughout

No convention of time or season

Percussion accompanist does not enunciate rhythmic cycle clearly, so a second percussionist and/or a timekeeper showing and/or clapping out beats (in which the audience joins) is necessary

Contrary to advocated argument, has Muslim influences

The Two Systems of Art Music in India


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The Gamut of Notes

8. Sa – Shadja – Do – Tonic

7. Ni – Nishada – Si/Ti – Leading Note

♭7. Ni – Komala Nishada

6. Dha – Dhaivata – Lah – Submediant

♭6. Dha – Komala Dhaivata

5. Pa – Panchama – Soh – Dominant

# 4. Ma’ – Tivra/Kari Madhyama

4. Ma – Madhyama – Fah – Subdominant

3. Ga – Gandhara – Mi – Mediant

♭3. Ga – Komala Gandhara

2. Re – R’shabha – Re – Supertonic

♭2. Re – Komala R’shabha

1. Sa – Shadja – Do – Tonic


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Static Note –

Unembellished tones:

Used for teaching or

analysing musical

phenomena but not

(except but rarely) in

performance

Ornamented Note –

Tones embellished by

different types of

ornaments, such as

Meend, Soot, Andolan,

Gamak, Krintan, etc. :

Used in performance

Sound in Indian Art Music


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Ornaments (“Alankar”) used in Hindustani Music

Andolan– “oscillation” on a note

Gamak – fast Andolan. Gamak may range from the heavy and guttural to the light and almost superficial. Again, Gamak may be of varying speeds

Sparsha Svara, Kan or Krintan–grace note (acciaccatura)

Meend – glissando

Soot or Aansh – fast Meend from one note to another distant note

Mürki – akin to mordent

Khatka – akin to turn

Kampan – vibrato


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Elements of Music

  • Melody – notes sounded successively

  • Harmony – notes sounded simultaneously

  • Rhythm – pulses in time

  • Dynamics – intensity (volume)

  • Timbre – tone colour


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Melodic Organisation:

According to the

principles codified by

the system of

- RAGAs

-TALAs and

- performance practice

Harmonic organisation:

Against a fixed system

of static notes sounded

continuously but softly

in the background

and

in unintended

counterpoint, from an

imitating accompanist

Organising Notes


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R A G A

  • a melodic concept capable of intense emotional

    communication and comprising:

  • a given set of notes, ascending and descending

    - characteristic microtones

    - characteristic phrases

  • relative importance of the notes

    - characteristic ornaments or lack thereof

  • the general speed to be adopted

  • the register to be used (low or high pitch)

    - an accepted time of performance


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Organising Time – Tempo (Laya, Gati)

Tempo (Laya)

Slow

(Vilambita)

Medium

(Maddhya)

Fast

(Druta)

Medium

Slow

(Maddhya

Vilambita)

Medium

Fast

(Maddhya

Druta)

Slow

(Vilambita)

Fast

(Druta)

Very Slow

(Ati

Vilambita)

Very Fast

(Ati

Druta)

“Linear”

(Tala-Heena)

“Cyclic”

(Tala-Yukta)


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T A L A

Tala → the cyclic organisation of periodic beats (Matra) = an endlessly repeated series of ordered rhythmic syllables in time

Rhythmic syllables → Names of sounds on percussion instruments (Dha, Na, Dhin, Tin, Thum, Kat, Tita, Tirakita, Ghe, Dhita, etc.)

A Tala has:

  • Cycles – each cycle is called an “Avartana”

  • Divisions into bars, which may be equal or unequal

  • Accent points, which may be “beaten” (“Tali”) or “unbeaten” (“Khali”)

  • A primary accent point (“Sama”) – the point of rhythmic resolution

  • A vocal enunciation of the ordered rhythmic syllables in an Avartana, called “Theka”


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Rhythmic Improvisation (“Layakari”)

  • Dügün – double speed

  • Tigün – triple speed

  • Choügün – quadruple speed

  • Panch, Chhey, Sat, Ath, Naü, etcgün– respectively 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 etc times the original speed

  • Aad– 3/2 times the original speed

  • Aad ka Ülta – 2/3 times the original speed

  • Küad – two viewpoints: 5/4 or 9/4 times the original speed

  • Küad ka Ülta– 4/5 or 4/9 times the original speed

  • Biyad – there are several varieties of this: 7/4 or 27/8 (“Küad of Aad” = 9/4 of 3/2) times the original speed, etc.

  • Biyad ka Ülta – 4/7 or 8/27 times the original speed

  • Paun – 3/4 times the original speed

  • Paun ka Ülta – 4/3 times the original speed


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Performance Practice


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Khayal Recital

  • Auchār-Ālāp

  • Vilambit (Bada) Khayāl

    - Vistār (Badhat) ⇨ Sthāyi, Antarā

    - Behlāvā

    - Tān

  • Drut (Chhotā) Khayāl

    ⇨ developed similarly as above


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Instrumental Recital

  • Ālāp, Jod, Jhālā

  • Masidkhāni Gat

    * Gat, with Uthān on Tablā

    * Soloist Accompanist Dialogue

  • Razākhāni Gat

    ⇨ developed similarly as above

    ⇨ Jhālā


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