Saturday, September 27, 2008

Analysis - III

It is continued by a thisra nadai by mani sir. I would like to add few of my view points in this area. There are different ways of converting from one nadai to another nadai. To my knowledge the following is some of the ways it can be shifted.

1. Starting thisram staright from the word GO
2. Starting thisram by playing a small syllable then shifting gears
3. Play a korvai in chatursram and convert the same into thisram
4. Play thisram in terms but not showing the nadai.
5. Just play a korvai in thisram

We can never say which one of the above mentioned is the thumb rule, it purely depends on time. If you are in Air, if you are a 3 minutes thani, you can never play thisram elaborately. In this thani avarthanam, you will find 2 ways of handling conversion from one nadai to another nadai.

Manisir will be taking chatursram Syllable as a base and do vinyasam on the same, play same korvai in chatursram and thisram, where as Harishankar will Play a BIGGGGGG korvai playing the same 2 times in chatursram and finally converting the same into thisram.

We are familiar with composers of songs, but a special note should be made on the korvai harishankar has played. The composer of the korvai was mani sir. He composed it especially for harishankar for the Sruthi laya Thaniavarthan Series (1980). Harishankar has handled the korvai as if its made only for him. Many will feel that its not a tough korvai, but it requires lot of memory power and control over the laya. We will see more about the korvai when we see Harishankar's extra-ordinary thisram section.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Analysis - II

Starting time : 2:26
Ending time : 4:35

Let me take the Chatursram 2nd round of Mani sir.
Started with the usual 6 syllable, Kita tha ka thaka thom thom ka (2nd speed).
The abhiprayam is structured as the first part decreasing from 5, 4, 3 with the second half increasing from 1,2,3.

The total Mathrais for the abhiprayam is 99. It is splitted into 3 halfs, the first half will be for 31 mathrais and the second one for 34 mathrais and the final one for 34 mathrais. The mathrais are including of the karvais (gaps) that is given between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd part.

After that, it’s a free flow Chatusra Sarva laghu with different varieties. I don’t think any explanation required for this part alone.

Analysis - I

The tala chosen for analysis is Aadi talam 2 Kalai, Arai Edam (atheetha eduppu). The pallavi starts 1 beat(4 mathrais) before the samam. Once you follow the thani avarthanam with the talam religiously you will know why I am calling this as atheetha eduppu.

The first round of thaniavarthanam looks like net practice - warming up for a big one. After playing 4 syallables in chatursram, mani sir takes 24 (12 in fast tempo) mathrai syllable for a small korvai. You cant call this as a korvai, we can call this as abhiprayam. I have seen many people calling this as a korvai and many people calling this as Abhiprayam (Abhiprayam differs ;-)).

Though the abhiprayam looks simple its a bit confusing. The abhiprayam is constructed in the following way. First lets see the structure and then the abhiprayam as syllables.

Part 1 :
Step 1 : First syllable for 3 Aksharams - 12 Matharis ( splitted as 8 and 4 )
Step 2 : Second Syllable for 2.5 Aksharams - 10 Mathrais ( splitted as 7 and 3 )
Step 3 : Third Syllable for 1.5 Aksharams – 6 Mathrais.

Total comes to 28 Mathrais or 7 Aksharams. (Since its chatursram, a beat consists of 4 mathrais, it comes to 7 Aksharams)

Part 2:
A balance of 36 matharis or 9 aksharams is pending. Now this 9 is divided into 3 parts. A 3 akshram syllable is taken as arithi which constitutes this Abhiprayam.



Harishankar started of few fast phased syllables and played a simple abhiprayam for 3 Avarthanams. The structure of the Abhiprayam is very simple, but a simple change made it sounds better.

The strucutre needs no diagrams a its a straigh forward abhiprayam, if you dont understand I will give more details on this.

6 3 , 6 3, 6 3 - 27
8 3 , 8 3 ,8 3 - 33
10 3, 10 3, 10 - 36

the total comes to 96. which comes for 3 Avarthanams. Six can be played as Thatheekitathom, 8 as thaka Thatheekitathom and 10 as thakathina Thatheekitathom.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thani Avarthanam - I

Here is ONE of the best thani by Mani sir and G.Harishankar. It’s been long time since I wanted to write about the thanis of mani sir somehow it didn’t happen. I don’t know how many of you have this recording with you. I am uploading the same for the sake of people who don’t have it.

The idea behind writing about thani is, often in many forums I see people saying… “I don’t understand anything, but I like it”….

The first step I am doing here is giving you the link to download the thani, if you want to hear it online, you can do it. The below given links will help you.

Enjoy the scintillating thani
Download : Thani Avarthanam

Listen Online

Shifting Scales - II

We are interested in obtaining one scale from another scale. One way to get one scale from another scale is to rearrange the intervals. The interval between the 1st and the 2nd note may be made short and the interval between the 2nd and the 3rd note may be made long. For example from the scale of the 29th mela Sankarabharanam, if the scale of Kharaharapriya has to be obtained, then the interval between the notes R and S is shortened, the interval between N AND S is lengthened and so on.

If the major scale of the western music is taken into account, and if the whole lock stock and barrel of the scale is shifted from C to G, then F sharp is obtained. The process by which a scale can be obtained from another scale, is the process of modal shift of tonic. Here the mode is retained. In other words the sequence of the intervals is retained. It must be remembered, that the tonic or the aahara sadja alone is not shifted. 

Take for example, the scale of Sankarabharanam. It is S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S. In this scale, if the Aadhara sadja, is shifted to the position of rsabha and if the interval between the svaras are maintained, then a new scale is obtained. Here only the scale is taken into account and not the raga. This is due to the fact that in carnatic music, each raga has the shape of its own, due to the various type of gamakas employed.

Shifting Scales - I

The word “scale”, means an ordered presentation of notes abstracted from any melody, put in a particular order, may be in the ascending order.In South Indian music, it will be in terms of svarasthaanas. If we say C scale or D scale, they are just that set of seven notes because they just take part in melody. In the 72 - mela scheme, all the 72 are scales. 

Scales may be having seven, six or five notes, put in order.  Modal shift of tonic is the process by which the tonic or the Aadhara sadja is shifted from svara to svara, keeping the sequence of the intervals of the original scale in tact. This process gives new scale.  In common music language this process is known as the Grahabhedam.  In ancient tamil music, this process was known as Kural tiribu, Pannuppeyarttal and Paalai Pannal.

Seven Commandments

The very fabric of Indian music is based on the Sapta Swaras. In the same way, every artiste- be he vocalist, instrumentalist or percussionist is guided by the ‘Seven commandments’ of:

Sa: The Sanctity of Carnatic music
Ri: The richness of this great fine art
Ga: The Galaxy of great musicians- the predecessors of this age, who are a great source of inspiration.
Ma: The maturity that he aspires to gain with experience in the field
Pa: The passion for his art
Da: The aim to dazzle his audience, but maintaining dignity all the time.
Ni: The niceties and nuances of the art that separate the good from the best.

Alas, some of today’s trends seem to follow a ‘Vakra’ mode. Today’s scene witnesses various combinations like: S M P N D S
Snobbism
Money
Pay
Noise 
Disrespect for senior musicians 
Shady

Or S R G D N S
Scheming
Recommendations
Gallery
Degrading others
Narrow mindedness
Selfishness

We all know that though both Sampoorna and Vakra ragas are essayed, it is the Sampoorna ragas (like Kalyani or Thodi) that offer unlimited scope for development, ragas that can be unfurled for limitless hours. These ragas stand the test of time.

However attractive a Vakra raga may seem, it will be impossible to essay a Kuntalavarali for hours on end. Scintillating it may be-but for a few moments only. These ragas are time bound.
In the same way, it is the ‘Seven commandments’ – the ‘Sampoorna path’ that will stand a practitioner in the long run, even long after his life time.

If one is guided by the mottos of the ‘Vakra mode’ however, the ‘moments of glory’ will soon vanish.  It is always the enduring values that stand the test of time. 

Let us remember Saint Thyagaraja’s immortal Chakkani Rajamargamu. Why follow the by-lanes when the Great Path is available?