Yearly Archives: 2016

How Miraculous Music Affects

 

“Hello Madam, I cannot trace you … Are  you standing near Inorbit Mall ? … Madam please come at the other end … Madam, please stand by the corner of the ……. blah, blah, blah.”

One creepy evening, an Uber driver took around one hour to track me. Consequently, he reacted ferociously due to the time he wasted trying to coordinate with me. I tried to retort in the middle of his barbaric tone but I stopped,  thinking it’s of no use. After he was done with all the frustrated words, he switched on the FM radio. Some typical song turned up, which exhibited some absurd, annoying erotic sounds. He was obviously not listening to it as he was still busy vociferating on someone else on his phone. I could feel the heaviness in my head. I  was almost red-faced after being shouted at by an unknown.

I rudely commanded, “Would be good if you switch this song off.” He agreed.

Few moments later,  I played Raga Jaijaiwanti on the sitar, which I came  across while browsing at the whats app messages/videos. I listened to it with great focus in order to get rid of the hangover gifted by him.  To my astonishment, he started interacting with me starting with, “Very soothing tune, which instrument ?” I was still a bit vexed but I answered disinterest-fully. He continued, “You know madam, my wife sings very well …” and so on.

This unexpected, unpredictable behavior by an uncultured man left me in a huge dilemma about what was his state of mind. The journey was like fifteen minutes long. I normally do not expect even a well-educated, sophisticated person to change back to normal after such brusque attitude just in few minutes.  I was in a reckoning mode  when he confessed, “Excuse me Madam; Sorry, I behaved badly!!”

Music actually plays a vital role in uplifting the mood. Brain waves experience quite significant variations, which makes one switch from a lowly, stressful mood to high and positive vibes. The term ‘resonance’ is an essential element for conceptualizing musical tunes as a mood-changer. Scientifically, as Mr. M. Farouk Radwan explains, ‘resonance’ refers to the increase in amplitude of oscillation of a mechanical system when it gets exposed to a periodic force that had frequency equal to the natural frequency. In other words, resonance is a charismatic shine in a voice or any instrument’s sound, which produces happy hormone called  ‘serotonin’. It reverberates our brain waves, balances our hormones,  thus  mollifies us when we are anxiously driven.

Not only humans but the creatures, objects too can channelize themselves into positivism through music. In the recent researches in China, a therapist was working on water, when he kept two tumblers full of water in the different rooms. He switched on a noisy, hullabaloo sounds in one room and a soothing, pleasant tune in the other. Then he examined the water crystals and proved the authentic power of music. Water in the noisy room had developed haphazard, unorganized crystals, whereas, water listening to the musical tunes had symmetrical and awesomely ornamented crystals.

Now the question is – is it some peculiarly miraculous music? Every tune is musical and is capable of treating our stress quotient. Well, there is a definite time and emotions for every piece. All musical pieces can be innovative for a particular listener, but might not be effective.  Sometimes we enjoy the same piece every time we listen with same overwhelming emotions and bliss. Sometimes, the piece is monotonous or too difficult and might not  mollify our ears quite often.

There are many aspects which can result in categorizing music as ‘miraculous’.

Monotonous pieces: Sometimes we want to listen to your favorite list repeatedly and you enjoy every phrase of it at every moment. But this might be applicable in a normal mood or when we are already relaxed. When we feel low, the same lovable  piece might not even penetrate our minds because of the flowing thoughts. In this case, need of miraculous Indian music like ragas, Om Chant are far more effective to heal us or to subside our negative self-talk.

Excessive emotional content: We tend to listen to the depressing and sentimental songs when we are already exhausted or in a dull mode. In bollywood tracks nowadays, they are perpetually composing the over sensuous or erotic songs which are soothing but drain energy and vitality through their haunting music and lyrics. People, especially males tend to get lost and are able to find path because of the long lived belief that male chauvinism demands seriousness and serenity. Ultimately, that emotional carriage is pushing them towards outer non-acceptance and gossip. Thus, males generally connect sad songs with drinks.

Noisy & Fast track: You may love the fast and noisy pieces like rock, pop, but they are not recommended for the stress treatment. For instance, Jerry gets back home after disheartening words of his boss and is fully drowned into negativity and anxiety.  He turns up  his favorite Britney and all fast noisy stuff on full volume and broods over the same topic. According to the researchers and therapists, that’s also music, but  won’t really help and might push him even deep down the low. It will increase the heart beats, which are already high paced. Super fast drum beats and octopad measures might activate his negative hormone like adrenaline.  On the contrary, the best medicine for low-feeling or depression is inner contemplation, which might be evolved through soothing, peaceful, or slow music. Here comes the need of Indian music  or raga dive and Indian instruments. Violin do help but the heavenly tunes of sitar & sarod massages your brain neurons gently and makes you attain relaxation. Soft and slow rhythms balance the heart beats and cognitive neurons.

There is a lot research on how music works as a medicine but what kind of music works as miracle or instant healer to a disturbed mind, this is essentially an introspective topic.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Ill Effects of Loud Music

Ill-effects of loud Music

Ill-effects of loud Music

Listening to loud music either by attending the rock concerts or by overusing headsets or earphones, has become a trend among the youths and teens. Moreover, voice set to the feature ‘fight’ outside noise in crowd is even more causing problems.

What is loud Music ? When we are unable to hear any other sound except my music around us; when the volume of my mp3 player is 60% or more of the maximum. Loud music is basically a short term exposure to decibel level above 110 dB Or, long term exposure to decibel level above 85 dB.

Effects in Hearing

Listening music in loud music through headset over a long period may cause permanent hearing impairment or Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tiny hair placed on the top of the hair cells in the inner ears called stereo-cilia is damaged due to the loud music, which causes loss of hearing.

Effects in the Brain

Loud music tends to affect our whole neurological system resulting in the lifetime chronic diseases. According to a research from University of Leicester in the UK, “A protective coating called myelin, obstructs the electrical nerve signals. Noise levels above 110 decibels strips insulation from the nerve fibers carrying signals from the ear to the brain.”

Psychological Effects

Ill-effects of loud Music

Psychological Effects

Generally, happy and contented people prefer soft and peaceful environment instead of loud. If one is liking too loud music, he is trying to avoid listening to his own instincts and dominating the sound of his heart beats with the loud noise. Thus, chances are good that he can enter into chronic depression by too much of repression and escaping.

Tips to protect ears from loud environment:

Take regular breaks from your headphones to give your ears a rest. Stop setting the volume above 60% of the maximum.
Invest in noise cancelling earphones, which help to decrease the temptation of increasing the volume.
Use musician’s earplugs or earmuffs, varying in degrees of attenuation, which generally over-attenuate the high frequencies resulting in the reduction of the sound quality.

Remember – If people around you need to shout for you to hear them, your music is too loud and you need to slow down.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Guru-Shishya Parampara (On the Occasion of Guru-Purnima)

Music is one and only field which follows and respects Indian culture and heritage. Worshiping Guru as God is an age old tradition in India, which is being, even today, practiced at one place: music world. Music world specifically because along with the private pedagogy of teaching, the music institutions and universities follow the tradition of touching Guru’s feet and holding ears in apology while speaking out Guru’s name by the students. Musical performers, be it veterans or amateurs, are known by the identity of their Gurus, unlike in other streams.

Guru-Shishya i.e., teacher-disciple relationship is one of the most divine and sovereign relationship, as it reflects the wider realm of knowledge, sanskaar, and belongingness. There is a deep relationship of knowledge, values of respect and motivation, and sense of Guru’s aura and intimacy around.

Origin of Guru-shishya parampara: Oral Tradition

Oral tradition is a style of pedagogy, which incorporates dictating knowledge verbally. Oral tradition dates back to 5000 years, when the Gurus transferred their in-depth knowledge to the disciples verbally or orally by merely narrating. This is the reason oral tradition in hindi is called ‘Maukhik Parampara’, which means ‘mukh se or through mouth’.

Mythologically, it is believed that the epic Ramayana was written by Adikavi Valmiki, but is narrated and interpreted different by other authors and in other countries. Later on, it was retold and reinterpreted by different other sages, which led to around 300  types of Ramayana. The point is at that there was no trend of writing down the facts. Instead, the Guru sages narrated their tales to disciples and the knowledge further got transferred through generations. It is, therefore, believed that the upanishads and puranas were finally penned down after 800 years after it was narrated by the disciples, the reason why only 75 percent of it was written.  

The similar aspect was adopted in inculcating musical education (Talim). The Gurus used to imbibe all the musical hymns and theory orally and the disciples had to grasp it only with the audible sectors of the body. For this reason, the pupils had to stay with gurus at their homes in order to seek this time-devoting knowledge in-depth and fully. Since the guru and students shared a place as a family, students, apart from seeking education, conducted almost all the reasonable or unreasonable household tasks asked by the Gurus. This way Gurus tested the curiosity of their disciples. And the students were committed to it. Even the bathroom cleaning was conducted by the students as a feeling of respect and ethical gesture. Students too believed that committing life fully over Guru’s care is a great and true path towards knowledge. Therefore, oral tradition gave birth to the tradition of Guru-parampara.

Psychology Behind the chemistry of Guru-Purnima

Eternal respect:  Guru-Shishya Parampara establishes a relationship, which is out of the world for a disciple. Disciple gets attached with that knowledge-father and develops an eternal and Godly respect. Touching feet of Gurus and elders is not merely a tradition, but reflects on many more in-depth interpretations. Touching Guru’s feet signifies ‘May your qualities and knowledge get inculcated in me through your feet dust particles.’

Dedication Towards seeking education:  Not only with the Guru, a student attaches but envelops an utter identity  with that  particular field of knowledge he is seeking.

Motivating Factor:  The feeling of “I will achieve something and make my teacher proud” is the element, which emanates into the student which leads to numerous successes and awards.

Inevitable Perseverance:  Eminent maestro Kaushiki Ji once told in a concert when asked how she perfected the super fast gayaki, “My father (Ajay Chakraborty) lighted a candle and made me practice one particular till the candle is burning.” This is called sur-sadhana personified. Even after reaching a zenith of success, a student remains in the student-zone when he is in touch with his/her guru. Regular and prolonged  practices becomes the part of his lives and he connects himself with the Guru and the stream.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Veena Sahasrabuddhe: A Gayaki Yet To Explore

Veena Ji (1948-2016)

I heard Veena Ji twice in the spic Macay concerts in Delhi. The first time I heard I did not understand the effectiveness of her gayaki as I was too immature for that. The next time when she was about to perform, my Guru recommended me to listen to her and with the open eyes this time, jotting the crispy notes analyzing whatever she sang. I obviously attended the concert as it was like an assignment for me. It was way too complex for me but I analyzed and noted in my diary. I recorded the whole performance to note down further at home. I think this is the best thing I did: I recorded it. I heard the recording repeatedly for few weeks and explored something new and peculiar every time I heard.

Veena Sahasrabuddhe, a renowned Gwalior gharana vocalist, passed away on June, 29th, due to Parkinson disease, leaving Indian classical music on an incomplete journey. Again, the music world is reminiscing the transcended standards set by the great stalwart, leaving it halfway.

VeenaTai’s journey towards Swaras

Veena Ji, popularly known as Veena tai (elder sister in Marathi) by her disciples and other connoisseurs, was a skilled combination of sweetness and vigour. Her gayaki demonstrated a stabilized blend of Jaipur and Kirana styles, apart from the Gwalior heritage. However, she was gifted a musical family background, an eminent Bodas family of Kanpur, where her father, Shankarrao Shripad Bodas and brother Kashinath Bodas had been nurturing her with various Gwalior techniques. She also achieved talim by Padmasree Pt. Balwantrai Bhatt and Pt. Gajananbuwa Joshi.

A captivating Gayaki

Veena Ji had an immense vitality and simplicity in the treatment of notes which could hook the audience for hours. Beginning a raga, she immediately featured the prarambhik aalap with its captivating twists, imprinting her gayaki peculiarity on its first page. Her nectarous voice, powerful though, with the added softness imbibed a new folds to the ragas she presented. Preferring the mid-pace instead of the overly-slow (ati-vilambit) rhythm in the bada khayal was another exceptional features of her gayaki, which engaged even the laymen. Her mandra notes were exceedingly deep and resonant that one could meditate in the moments. Her melodic phrases combined with rhythmic intonations with effortless voyage within all three octaves manifested the jaipur gayaki and its characteristics.

Another characteristic of her singing, one perhaps influenced by the Jaipur gharana, was repeating the same note twice or thrice in a melodic phrase, before moving on to the next. The subtlety and swiftness while acquiring the upper notes and phrases implicitly reflected her ages-spend competence and contemplation.

According to an article in The wire, “Veena Ji’s bol-tans and tans (the patterns exploring the notes of the raga within the rhythmic cycle) were robust, with a profusion of gamaks. And a thread running through all her presentations was her wonderful voice modulation – soft, strong, at all times expressive. Some disapproved of her ‘jabde ka tan’ (jaw movement while singing tans), but the richness of her note patterns and force of her renditions overshadowed this shortcoming.”

 

Veena Ji as a Bhajan Exponent

Apart from the Khyala gayaki, she was well-known for the bhajans, especially her scintillating style of singing Kabir bhajan, ‘Man lago mero yaar fakiri’. Once she had a bhajan recital at Sawai Gandharva music festival in Pune, when Pt. Bhimsen Joshi heard and invited her at his concert. That was the era when Veena tai uplifted with fame as a vocalist.

 

Knowledgeable Aspect

She presented a few lectures, workshops, seminars and music conferences, primarily in IIT Kanpur, in which she explained and shared her vast and deep knowledge in the ragas. Listen to this short clipping from later years, where she speaks of subtle differences between Ragas of the same scale. Her experience as a teacher comes through when you listen to how effortlessly she changes the Ragas Puriya, Sohini and Marwa that are from one scale.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Music Traditions Or ‘Gharana’ System In Indian Classical Music: An Analysis

Traditions or Gharana system play an essential role in Indian Classical music. Tradition refers to Gharanas of music or the stylization of singing. Here is how Gharanas are conceptualized: Its like a person who is known as Kaushik, sings and his style, note-treatment, raga-treatment, techniques of voice production becomes popular and liked by everyone. That style or ‘gayaki’ is picked up and imitated by many musicians including his disciples, siblings and kids. When 50 people assemble to sing and share a specific common style, which is exclusive, popularized and appreciated by the masses, the style is eventually called ‘Kaushik Gharana’. Though there is no Gharana as such. Moreover, Gharana are nomenclated by the places from where the musician and their descendants belong to, such as Agra Gharana, Delhi Gharana, Patiala, Bhindibazaar, Rampur-Seheswan, Atrauli, Gwalior, Kirana, Mewati, Jaipur. As you observe Gharana names are based on the places where the root musicians settled and opened their musical start-up.

Aptly perceived by the Sitar Maestro Purbayan Chatterji, “A gharana is a place where a great Ustad or a great Pandit settled and started teaching his students,”

Music Traditions Or 'Gharana' In Indian Classical Music: An Analysis

Music Traditions Or ‘Gharana’ In Indian Classical Music: An Analysis

During the Muslim invsion in India, the veteran court musicians made a respected place in the kingdoms. They used to pass on their Gayaki to their descendants and disciples and the tradition emerged through generations. This is how Gharanas or ‘singing style’ of a particular place sailed their own musical cruise. Gharanas, even today, has maintained the reputation and dignity of music by its immense innovation in ragas, bandish (composition), Talas and music-genres and what not.

According to Purbayan, “The patronage of the Mughal rulers to arts brought forth many talents from different parts of North India. Musicians would travel around, performing in different courts, until they find popularity in one region and settle there. In order to carry on his fame, these maestros would then invite students to live with him and learn his techniques and style. Thus, a gharana was formed. It was widely accepted that the status of gharana was given to only those who had had at least three generations of students. The gharana becomes famous by the name of the place or the founder guru.”

Gharanas, however, are bound to a certain rules and regulation of Gayaki in which one has to be chained, but are significant for uplifting the age-old Guru-Shishya Parampara.

Gharanas are based on the same concept of Guru-Shishya parampara, as a disciple (not descendant), ones taken in, or ties a dhaga (Ganda) takes a gregarious, formal training staying with his/her Guru, tolerating all his tantrums, executes all his households happily till he becomes an elite stalwart. The disciple exceptionally respects his/her Guru like God and this element is purely, sacredly an Indian culture which is been followed in no other field except in musical heritage. And the credit goes to the Gharanas.

Today, the maestro disciples of the early musicians, touch their ear in respect while speaking out the name of their Guru. Competent personalities like Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Pt. Niladri Kumar, Pt. Rakesh Chaurasiya, Pt. Srinivas Joshi are known to be the disciples of Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasiya, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi respectively and then as a musicians.

Lets discuss how Gharanas own their special characteristics and how they are different from each other:

The most famous Gharana: Jaipur Gharana (जयपुर घराना)

Jaipur Gharana emerged as two singing/playing styles thus it divided into two: Jaipur Daagar and Jaipur Veena Gharana (Instrumental). King of Jaipur Ramsingh was a great music lover and appointed many skilled musicians with respect and honour. Jaipur Daagar Gharana is said to be started by one of them known as Mangal Pandey and his descendants which was eventually continued by the Muslim disciples Haider Khan, Behram Khan etc. and the gharana emerged as Muslim Gharana but its cultural and creative panorama never changed by religion. Jaipur Gharana is popular for exceptional innovations in Music world.

Dilli Gharana (Delhi दिल्ली घराना )

Started by Allahbaksh, this gharanas inculcated the raga purity and abide by the rules properly. Dilli Gharana style represents the rhythmic raga elaboration and improvisations; it demonstrates the short rhythmic swaras innovative sequence and weighty tenor voice. Ornamnetations like Sut, Meend, gamak, lehek, etc. are performed in an astounding manner in fast tempos too. Prolific Khyala Bandish like paalki, suhaag, khanapuri, Taan-bandhaav are vocalized with overwhelming ease by the great early stalwarts like Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Ust. Naseer Ahmed Khan. Present eminent personalities of Delhi Gharana are Dr. Krishna Bisht, Dr. Bharti Chakraborty, Ust. Sayeed Zafar etc..

Gwalior Gharana (ग्वालियर घराना)

Again, Gwalior gharanas introduced two different styles of singing thus it emerged as : one started by Ghulam Rasool, another by Vishnu Pandit. Current maestros Pt. L.K Pandit, Madan Rao, Meeta Pandit belong to this style. Earlier legendary musician and musicologist Pt. Omkar Nath Thakur, Pt. S.N. Ratanjhankar, Pt. D.V. Paluskar, Dr. B.R Devdhar share this Gharana.

Gharanas are still and will always be the backbone and ambrosia of Indian Classical music, as it organizes, analyze and provides a unique, transcended standard to the field. It will continue to emanate the new forms, elements, intonations by its invention and of course great musicians and keep the Ragadari sangeet cognizant and culminating.

Niladri’s Magic with Strings!!

The first time I heard Niladri Kumar was at kamani auditorium, Delhi, but was unable to perceive the uniqueness of his playing as he was super fast. The gat was going literally out of anticipation for me; tala was racing with my mind  and went far beyond the sam till I realized. Therefore, my final judgement of him was, “too fast”. The next time I heard him was in the advertisement of Taj mahal tea when again he seemed to demonstrate the tidal waves but I observed the kids danced at the ad. Then I realized why he is popular among the youngsters. Sometimes one needs to plummet down back to kids thinking level to inculcate any art among them. Niladri Ji did the same. Kids and youths are fascinated with the fast tempos and that’s exactly what he is up to.

The other day I heard him in a video floated through whatsapp and I was just mesmerized. He was endorsing an event tieing up with Madhuri Dixit and he played her movie songs like dhak-dhak, Mera piya ghar aaya, Ankhiya milau, and all her rocking ones. He made the audience and Madhuri so engrossed that nobody could make out what instrument he was playing. Have a look:

Zitar was the instrument he was playing which is his own creation. Zitar is the  cool combo of sitar and guitar (electric) having a beautiful maroon color. This indicates the passion, perseverance and lifetime practice of the maestros with which they land up to their innovative inventions of instruments transcending the level of classical music.

Guru Pt. Ravi Shankar might be smiling proudly above to watch his student being compared with him indirectly in the concert last evening in the Vishalakshi Mantap, Bangalore. His scintillating performance uplifted immensely with the lethal combination of Padmashree Pandit Vijay Ghate on Tabla. The concert titled ‘Soul to soul’, unfolded the Raga charukesi with its startling approach towards aalap and superfluous, beyond anticipation, fast renditions on higher octaves.

Apart from Charukesi, they both extended the event by presenting some fast track medleys maintaining the comity of the deep-rooted classical art. The intricate versatile and doughty rhythms by Pt. Ghate injected the natural bliss and metanoia among the audience.

 

 

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Music Mends Relationship

TV actress and host Vrushali Mandal was a great violinist apart from being a so-so actress. After an year of her successful career, her love life started deteriorating with an obvious reasons and finally it came to an end. Since Vrushali was committed to her work, she continued to act mechanically but fully shattered from within. Her lonely apartment pinched her with the lovable memories and she went into chronic depression. For two months, she locked herself in a room, when a music academy was opened in just the next door. The inevitably audible music of the duirinal classes surpassed her ears daily, which initially made her vexed. Gradually, her depression streaks started plummeting and her gormlessness subsiding. She joined the classes and found her life more towards acceptance and value of relationship. One fine morning, she called her boyfriend to apologise and patch up the stuffs. They kickstarted their life and in an interview she shared a statement, “Tunes and sounds have played a great role in my life; I would suggest all to value music at all times.”

The rhapsodic tunes of music reverberates our soul to an extent that it can change our attitude towards life and people around us. The sonic currents of musical tunes penetrates our body and pleasure hormones called dopamine and  estrogen and balances them. Researches reveal that constant listening to your favorite tracks alters the perspective we have for people and we try to see people with more positive and accepting glairs. Fast and slow tracks also contribute essentially in the attaining and subsiding the optimism in people. Fast tracks generally stimulates one whereas the slow ones relaxes our mind. Soft and slow music unleashes the brain knots which have been tightened throughout the long day of routined office and family life. Fast tracks stimulates us and compel us to get energized to execute something more productive. In a way both the music do good in their own way.

Indian music therapy that’s the raga therapy have nemeity of specific ragas for the specific kinds of psychological and mental issues like negativity, non-acceptance, bewilderment in decision making, or depression. For instance, Raag Ahir Bhairava is beneficial for relaxation, Raga Dwijawanti quells paralysis, Raga Hansdhwani injects energy and vitality, Raga kafi fights with depression and anxiety. Similarly ragas like Keerwani, Kokilam, Neelambari, Ranjani, Hameer, cures the physical degeneration like kidney diseases, insomnia, arthritis, etc..

Read out another story of Sarah Myers, an extremely passionate and enthusiast student of Smith Cotton University. What she thinks of being into the musical environment; How she perceives being born as a musician; How she managed to gather scholarships.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

3D-Aspect Of Music

Music is studded with varied faces and has an immense power of altering human’s life for better. Usually music is considered in three prime forms: Gaayan, Vadana, and Nritya or singing, playing (instrumental) and dance. These three aspects has its individuality and integrity both at the same time. In other words, playing, singing, or dancing can be performed and would implicitly be called music even if they are executed solely. As in, you can enjoy the vocals with or without instrumentals and dance, or vica versa. Hence we find the musical aura much identity-oriented and unified as well.

With this aspect of music, can you associate music with some other faculty? Probably our mind. Our mind implies the same temperament if we take time to examine it. Believe me, the mind cooperates us much more than we think it is. If we keep it single-sided directing it on one object, subject or field, it will make us master that individual area. On the other hand if we multi-direct it  to the plethora of subjects and areas, that will culminate the mind and destiny work in multi-dimensions in various fields making one more versatile, competent and all-rounder.

The story of a young Bharatanatyam dancer Lakshmi Raj clearly illustrates the theory much clearly. Her specialization since childhood was corporate marketing. Like many other routined IT-freaks and monotonous traders of happiness, she  too graduated and mastered in business marketing to work with Logistic companies as a business developer. However, Indian classical dance prevailed in their family liking but overlooking the reality and hanging on the conservative affairs is what Indians are good at. “My mother aspired to be a dancer herself when she was young but she grew in a rather conservative society where in the ancient India, dance was considered to be performed by the girls of low society to entertain the Royals. Hence she never got a chance to pursue her dream.” Says Lakshmi. To have a prestigious education and job, she pursued the IT and marketing.

Around two decades back, to accompany her introvert sister into dancing area, she joined dance since when she starting delving deep into the dance world.

“My mother got my sister into a Bharatanatyam class very close to where we lived in order to make her dream come true through her daughter. It was my good fortune that, to the fear of new faces and the sound of the ‘Tatta Kazhi‘ (beats) my sister would do nothing but cry in the class; so to give her company, I was introduced to the world of dance and since then there is no stopping.”

Lakshmi started her dance journey by receiving training from my ‘Guru’ (mentor) Ms. Lata Raman for the last 18 years now.  She realized her mechanical, cliched life and non-contented money-making scenario in marketing job and give it an end entering purely into the nritya-sadhana.

Lakshmi lives in Boston and is a well-known Bharatanatyam performer in the States performing in the events like Telugu association of Greater Boston.

“My sister and I did a duet dance for a dance reality show in 2001 on Star Plus (India’s leading family entertainment channel). We even won the title for that show named ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhoom‘ that was the first time I was on television and happens to be the most memorable one!” Lakshmi shares ecstatically.

Whether or not we are cognizant, our mind and brain attains an incomprehensible power of attaining knowledge at any age. Now It depends on how we want to walk on its  unfathomable circumference. Whether we deplete our mind in dwelling the normal unwanted routined life just for the spondulicks; or we choose to stop by, contemplate on what exactly I want in  life and grab the bite of the related knowledge.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Technique To Remember and Vocalize Komal and Teevr Swaras

Out of the blue, while vocalizing natural note-phrases for a long time, you are asked to sing the Re-Komal that is Re-Flat. Now that’s the puzzling, tension-some era. More than 90% of my beginner students, or even amateurs get the jimjams and go wrong, out of tune, when asked to switch from natural notes to Komal. And why not? this is one of the most reasonable and possibly appropriate timings to get puzzled especially when you have started randomly without pondering over it for a few seconds.

 Normally, flat or komal denotes dull, faded version of the notes. Sharp or teevr denotes dominating or acute, ready to invade. Komal is the Hindi word for ‘soft’ and teevr refers to ‘tez‘ or clever. Thus, the first step is to perceive and grasp these terms clearly by imaging them as the meaning indicates.
Technique To Remember and Vocalize Komal and Teevr Swaras

Technique To Remember and Vocalize Komal and Teevr Swaras

 The proper sequence of the 12 notes in a chromatic scale or in the realm of 22 shrutis are:
 S  re  R  ga  G  M  ma’  P   dha   DH    ni   NI  SA
  •  upper case denotes shuddha/natural ones
  • lower case+italics+Underlined = komal (re ga dh ni)
  • lower+italics+apostrophe = teevr (which is only ma)
 The good news is that we never struggle to sing the seven natural notes (S R G M P D N) or major scale (C D E F G A B) because that’s the base scale, which is subtly printed in our brain. If you have even a speck of interest in music, you know the seven notes sequence be it what so ever culture or country you belong. Indian system calls it ‘saat shuddha swara‘ or ‘saptak‘ while the western discipline calls it major scale. Major means happy, so these are the happy tunes. 
 Visualize the Location Of Notes
Remember the sequence by hard as it helps visualize the location of note, hence you will grab the tonic ‘Sa’ and grab the subsequent note. Initially its hard to grasp the note, but far much easy to remember the location or diagram you had drawn. For instance, you are asked to track ‘ga’ komal. Visualize, imagine the location of ga komal: between shuddha re and shuddha ga, or at least think that, “I’ve to dim down the natural Ga.” You are all set. 
 Sing the Shuddha Version First
Once you have analyzed the concept of direction in your head, reach the natural destination of a particular note and back it up to dull it. Do not haste to ruin the things. Simply establish the base/tonic note Sa (on whatever scale) and reach out with S R G with G natural and return or back slightly by making the normal Ga to dull/dim. In other words fade the happy Ga to its dull form. This is not only the rational way to vocalize the vikrita swaras (komal/teevr) but also makes you a proficient 12-note singer. It’s actually hard to master singing the 12-notes together at one go.
 Ragas Help a Lot
Another very catchy option to reach out complex notes is: recall the basic ragas you have learnt and experiment the notes taking its help. Let me illustrate. Suppose you are asked to sing Raga Shivaranjini, a pentatonic raga omitting Ma and ni, which you are learning as of now, but don’t exactly memorize the tune at the moment.  In such case, we are all familiar with Raga Bhupali whether as a beginner, intermediate or advanced. Bhupali tunes are well inculcated in our brains so it might surely guide the way through. Fortunately, Bhupali is also a pentatonic scale raga which omits Ma and ni. But what’s the difference: Shivarinjini comprises of Ga komal instead the shuddha one like in Bhupali. Memorize and sing the Bhupali tune structure and dull the Ga in Bhupali, which lands fairly on Shivaranjini. In fact, this is how our 20th century musicians and gharanedaar veterans have experimented the different notes and created the new ragas. 
 Take Help Of The Movie Songs
Last but not the least, the most interesting and engaging way to address the different complex  notes are memorize the movie songs. Lets take Raga Shivaranjini as there are ample of songs in this raga, so if you are unable to bring the Aaroh-avroh in your head, simply hum the popular song “Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh din” from an old movie ‘mera naam joker‘. The first line is exactly the aaroh-avroh of the Raga Shivarajini. Get ready sing all the notes as now you have mastered it.  Similarly, if you unable to grab the lower ni to start raga Yaman’s ni Re Ga, simply remember the song ‘Ye Moh Moh Ke Dhaage‘ as the starting notes of this song is ni-Re-Ga…
 Analyzing the Indian classical  swaras and then pondering upon how they’re selected and combined to make a raga or melody is the most enthralling moments in the journey of learning classical music. Our honorable music legends have created these numerous incredibly scintillating ragas and indeed provided us a plethora of inestimable stuff to brood over and get startled. The only thing we need to do is to contemplate on those stuffs and value the moments, instead of puzzling ourselves with notes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

Acknowledging “Rabindra Sangeet” on the Tagore’s 155th Birthday

 

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It’s worth cherishing to ponder what an amazing Indian culture, people and heritage we have achieved as born in India. For example, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. I pay him a grand tribute on his 155th birthday and salute his various contributions towards music, dance, literature, drama and so on.

Rabindra Sangeet is one of his precious gift. Distinctive songs authored by Tagore in Bengali language is Rabindra Sangeet. It is absolute a unique genre of semi-classical music which involves a significant amount meend, murki etc. Rabindra Sangeet is usually a blend of classical variations and folk music. Hence it’s very popular in the nation especially in the areas near Bengal, Bangladesh, Assam etc. Some of the songs are like: Sei Bhalo sei bhalo, Aaji Godhuli lagone ei, Swapne Amar mone holo, Aaj Sobar ronge rong etc..

Rabindra Sangeet primarily depicts the shringar rasa or rati bhava in its composition. Sringara rasa incorporates the expression of romanticism and beloved’s affair. In some of the songs, moppet’s playfulness and mischief is also demonstrated. Apart from these the base themes of Rabindra Sangeet are worship, (bhakti Rasa), and the description of six seasons etc.

He composed songs in Yaman raga, Poorvi, Kedar, Todi, Asavari, Desi, Hameer and in various mishra-ragas. He somehow disliked the stylization of Khayal gayaki as the lyrics are pretty much dissected in that genre.

Sitar, Esraj, jag jhampa, nakkara instruments are much common in Bengal and are said to be accompanied in the rabindra Sangeet. According to the great musicologists Shri K.D Banerjee and Sir Surendra Nath Tagore, Bengal is said to be the land of instruments and Rabindra sangeet is bestowed with most of them while the recitals.

Many of the bollywood songs has been influenced by rabindra sangeet. For instance, the movie Parineeta songs especially phool phool bhawra dole man me gooje teri yaad. The soothing, gentle, natural notes-oriented intonations fulfills the aura of romanticism and defines rabindra sangeet. In the same movie, a popular track rabindra-influenced pihu bole piya bole also reverberates the soul  and represents a unique era of music.

Photo Credit: By Unknown – State Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47866012