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Tristan von Neumann

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Hi Friends,

it has been some time since I reported on my research.
The newest discovery though is really worth sharing.


I have already assumed some influence on Italian Instrumental Music of the late 16th century and now I finally found a clear use of Raga techniques in Giovanni Gabrieli's works:
La Spiritata moves exactly along this Sikh Dhanashri Hymn.

Note how the motifs of the raga are also developed in the Sonata.




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westsea

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Maybe.  But, it could also be a stretch.  The Gabrieli piece fits into the 'normal' Italian Renaissance Music
model of melody, counterpoint, and rhythm.  I don't believe that European composers from that time were being very influenced by Indian music. 
But, it's possible.
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Tristan von Neumann

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I have come to the conclusion that this is not a stretch.

When the Gabrieli piece was written, these techniques have been around for some time.
The 16th century is the time of Europeans incorporating Indian ideas, leading to the Baroque era once the system had been understood.
The principle as such made the development of or the search for Ragas possible also for those who have no connection to India.

Before 1500, variation cycle techniques were not used, also no diminutions. Also the idea of a soloist with a voice capable of producing instrument-like effects was only developed in the 16th century.

I am still not quite sure how to explain my hypothesis other than through musical evidence since back then in Europe music was also taught from Master (Guru) to student.
The models for improvisation are very important and masters are reluctant to share them with everyone, especially the knowledge of how you develop a piece.
It is very wise of Indian teachers to use only one Raag until the principle has been understood.

Anyway, I will search for more. The oldest Sikh Ragas may be very interesting.
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westsea

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The West was tuned into India, before the European Renaissance.  There are Bible stories that seem to be derived from older, Indian scriptures. 

But, I don't think there was much in the way of Indian music, influencing European Renaissance and Baroque music.
I studied western classical music in college.  There is a documented history of western music evolving from Greek modes, into
monophonic Gregorian chant, into early Gothic/medieval counterpoint/polyphony with more complex rhythms, which continued to evolve in complexity, growing vertically into contrapuntal/harmonic structures.  Canons, rondos, sonatas, dance suites, variations, symphonies, etc., were natural forms to fit the western music into. 

It would be interesting if you could find some documented evidence of your theory.  There are a lot of western treatises, from early times, written on music.  If European musicians were being influenced by Indian music, they would surely have written about it.  I don't recall ever reading anything like that.  But, if they exist, the google should be able to find them.


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Tristan von Neumann

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"There are Bible stories that seem to be derived from older, Indian scriptures."

I wouldn't say the Bible is exactly "Western". If you want to compare stories, there is much more to find if you compare ancient Indoeuropean stories like Persian, Greek or Germanic, because about 6000 years ago, those were one people.


Here we are talking about very clear audible influence.


I am sorry to say that, but your summary of European music is very over-simplified.

In Musicology, there are considered two major style changes:
One in the 16th/17th century and around 1900.

Before 1500 there were no cyclic variations and diminutions, also the music would cling to ancient modes and Gregorian Chant.
Polyphony was a stream of consciousness, not a development of motifs in a harmonic cycle as in mid to late 16th century.

After 1500, new harmonic principles arose from the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and France.
These were explored in the "Ricercar" (literally: "Searching") and the Fantasia.

Music treatises of that time are always after the fact - the secrects of the musicians who taught in a "guru-shishya"-"master-student" tradition are not revealed.
The greatest musicians never wrote any treatises despite being most revered teachers (Giovanni Gabrieli had students from Germany, even Denmark!)

The modal theories of that time are highly confusing. This points to a change in music which the old modal system could not grasp.
It has been explained by musicians researching Ancient Greek music theory. But back then, the music of ancient Greece has not yet been found.
Also - Indian Music is similar to Ancient Greek music because the scales are made of Tetrachords. Some Scales are even thought to be Ancient additions from Greek people living in India. It would have been plausible that people were interested in Indian music.

Around 1500, Europeans discovered the vast wonders of India themselves. Goa was founded and there was a permanent presence of Europeans in India, with embassies to the Mughal court, where the great Tansen was singing. They must have heard this music.

But Indian people were considered heathens and idol-worshippers. Mentioning the source of new melodic framework would have been dangerous.
I suspect this is the reason for the silence about Indian music.
(Sikhs on the other hand had a weird position - they were compared with Christians due to their monotheism and lifestyle.)
How the music was transferred can probably not be traced. The Sargam is a very easy means to exchange music. It could very well be one Jesuit writing down all the Chalans the great Tansen had in his repertoire.
Using these Ragas instead of Gregorian Chant results in change of harmonic system because the Raga parts cover all the clausulae in a polyphonic framework.

But this is not everything - Raga performance, as can seen in the Sikh hymns, has a "theme" made from the Raga (also Gats and Bandishes have a theme), which is then subsequently split up into motifs that are developed and rhythmically varied until an new cycle starts.
This technique is new in Europe in the 16th century and flourishes in Ricercars and Fantasies (like Alap) and Instrumental Canzonas (Gat/Bandish), which also employ complex rhythmic cycles. The usual performance would even be organized like Indian performance: A Ricercar or Fantasy is followed by a song and a dance like Alap-Bandish.
The Dance suite with consistent thematic material is also new in the 16th century and matches the rhythmic proportion variations in Raga.

The 1608 print by Raverij is a key example of this music. Listen to this album:


If you associate any Raga to a piece, please let me know.

Later, the style even changed more towards Indian thinking in the Ostinato Variation and Stylus Fantasticus. The Pachelbel Canon is one famous example, it seems to be Raga Kamod.

Sorry to disappoint you - if anything had been written about it, my hypothesis wouldn't exactly be news.














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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #6 
PS:

Here's another later Sonata by Matthias Weckmann in Raga Dhanashri:


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westsea

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Thanks, those 2 pieces are beautiful.  I don't hear them as Indian music influenced.

Good luck with your theory.
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CarbonSitars

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Without any hard evidence in the form of historical documents specifically mentioning the music of India being incorporated into a composer's work, it's a stretch. It's neat in that it works the same way a mashup works, but mashups aren't evidence that one piece has deliberately borrowed from the other; it's just that they might share a certain commonality that sounds nice together.

There are many musicology organizations around the world. Some of them might be willing to review a formal paper with formal research, but the first thing they are going to want to see is a smoking gun from a previously unseen or overlooked document which has direct mention of Indian influences. It seems a little strange at this point in time that nothing has been found or published by scholars who specialize in these composers. It would be the sort of career-making artifact that any of them would jump on if uncovered. To find extraordinary evidence of this nature would take up scholars' entire careers to analyze and present for peer review, and perhaps more than a lifetime for the academic world to finally accept as established historical fact.

Evidence like this could radically alter what we know about the history of western music, so surely you understand why many people would be skeptical. 
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Tristan von Neumann

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@CarbonSitars:


I understand your concerns. Superficially, and scientifically, you are right.


BUT:
Your argument is a logical fallacy. Here's why:

All scientific discovery starts with a hunch. It seems I am the first one to have had this hunch, and only after I was *looking* for musical evidence I have found it aplenty.

Let's jump to Archaeology for a while:

Millions of people trod over small hills until someone paused and said:
"Wait a minute - this hill could be man made! I wonder what is under there!" - and started digging. And lo and behold, there was cart in in with skeletons, swords, golden artefacts etc. proving that this was a grave of a prince of some sorts.

You see the phenomenological problem with your argument? How would you find something real if your mindset is "That didn't happen, otherwise someone would have found something already."

Back to musicology:
There are plenty of papers and books by established researchers that never deliver. (For example Dahlhaus, Studies on the Development of Harmonic Tonality, never explains why, just states the musical facts)

I don't know if you are familiar with 16th century research - but there was never a sufficient explanation of the rise of harmonic tonality during that period, leading to the new style with thoroughbass.
This always bothered me.

If someone wants credit of finding hard evidence, he must dig in archives. I cannot pay for that. I can deliver an article that encourages the search for it.

There may be numerous logical reasons why there may never be evidence, one of them being the Catholic church considering Indian people idol-worshippers and their cult dangerous. Explicitly saying "let's analyze Indian music" didn't happen until the 1700s (see the upcoming thesis (in print) by Lisa Hermann-Fertig of W├╝rzburg University)

You know, people were burned at the stake for saying things back in the 1500s.

And answer yourself this: How probable is it that the (musically educated by default) Jesuits who stayed at Akbar's court for two years around 1580 had NOT listened extensively to the Great Tansen or in case Tansen died in 1580 and not later, any other court singer? It may well be zero.

And I hate to explain ICM to you: there are no "pieces" to be copied. Raga is a fractal system to create pieces on the fly. "Raga is not a scale, nor a mode." Ravi Shankar once explained.
It is a perfect fractal melody that can be augmented or diminished and its parts used independently, or fractally stacked onto each other, always creating a harmonic piece.

All the ancient Ragas used when Europeans discovered India already had harmonic tonality when it was not used in Europe (see the Sikh repertoire - those guys know exactly which Ragas Guru Nanak and the later Gurus used).

Here's a preview to the musical evidence:

The following piece defies analysis using modal theories, also it would be anachronistic to say it's in the Major/Minor system.



My hypothesis covers the piece fully, because it is made up entirely of BAHAR motifs (even the meend ma-ni, here in discreet notes) and like a fractal follows the harmonic plan of the spring Raga, which is old and mentioned well before that time. (Also listen to the rhythmic cycles in the piece and the overlapping voice entries).

If you can, play or sing the Raga to it. This conveniently in old g 415 Hz, matching the F# Sa used widely. If you play tabla or pakhawaj, play to it. (use 12 beats, probably Ektaal, madhya laya). You will be carried by the piece.

If this doesn't convince you musically, I can't help it. (Mashup will follow once I found a performance matching the tala and doesn't require too much bending the pitch to mashup)
And frankly, I don't care. The paper will be published one way or another, and someone will jump on it. I plan no carreer, I just felt this was necessary, since I was the first to notice. I would be happy if others jumped on the research because of the paper, that's all.

Stay tuned.







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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #10 
@CarbonSitars:

I just realized that there is a more compelling argument, and I failed to immediately state it (probably because I thought it is evident...)

"The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."



And it's not even nothing: there is musical evidence, and evidence of presence where cultural transfer could have happened.
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CarbonSitars

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I'll be honest here. I think this is a case of apophenia. But if you think you can find hard evidence of European composers appropriating the Indian raga system for musical content (or whatever your theory is), you'll be much better served by getting down to the business of pouring over historical documents in archives, documenting it, and writing a formal paper than pleading your case to random people on an internet forum.

I don't think it's impossible, just very unlikely. 

There are well-documented cases of cultural exchange like this. I can think of no better example in western music history than that of the Romani people. They originated in northern India and are genetically linked to that population, migrated across the Middle East, picking up all of those traditions along the way, and wound up first in eastern Europe and then western Europe. They played in both folk and professional situations across Europe, and composers most definitely heard that music and incorporated it into their own. There are historical documents where composers flat out said, "Yes, here I have used some Romani scales for this piece..." If there was one thing composers loved to talk about, it was themselves and their music. When they took a folk tune or some ethnic music and used it to create high art music, they reveled in the idea of explaining how cleverly they incorporated it into their musical ideas.

The Romani were (and still are) hated, repressed, enslaved, silenced, and murdered. And yet their music is everywhere across Europe, from French jazz, Spanish flamenco, nearly everything in eastern Europe, to classical composers like Hayden, Mozart, Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninov, and on and on. Despite being such a small but despised ethnic group, no one hesitated to mention that they borrowed from them. There are endless books and papers documenting their influence and history in Europe.

Is it weird that no one mentions borrowing from the court or folk music of India back then? Not really. It didn't have much of an influence on Western composers until the 20th century and again, you can read all about it because those composers loved to talk about it and there are lots of scholars who love writing about it. 

You'll be much better served by taking this up with professional musicologists than chatting about it with guys like me. Every precious minute you would spend replying here could be spent doing research to prove yourself right or wrong.
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Tristan von Neumann

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@CarbonSitars:


You sound like you claim to have some education in music. What is your background?

But you also seem to have little to no knowledge about the 16th century.

One example: You claim musicians love to talk about their music.

This is absolutely not true, on the contrary:

Back then, the knowledge of how to make really good music is a trade secret not revealed, because people were competing for a job at the courts and churches.
The genre of "Musica Reservata" was pretty much exclusive music that was forbidden to be published.
People had to study music using what was available, or find - much like in India - a guru that will teach them. (Giovanni Gabrieli was one of them)
Even today in India, the secrets how to render a Raga are not readily available for everyone. You need to get in touch with a guru. Academies have changed that, but it is an appropriation from 19th and 20th century Europe.

I reject the notion of "apophenia" - you can download the score for the Guami "Bahar" Canzon and check for yourself. Not "similarity" - it IS Bahar.

As for research in archives:
I have absolutely no funds to spend months in the Vatican, Portugal, Mantua, Spain, Vienna etc. and no one will ever give funds to someone who is not in academia.
Therefore, a purely musical observation is all I can do, and will write down in a formal article.
I am out in the open, trying to spark interest, because other people do have the possibility to go look into the archives.

If I am being ridiculed for that, those people reveal themselves to be mean spirited.
Research does not mean that one should be secretive or solitary about it, on the contrary. It seems though we have lost this aspect of research: dialogue and connecting with other interested people.

As for your Romani (and Sinti should also be mentioned) remark:
Reference in titles to "gypsy" already appear in the late 16th century.
But this is folk music, not art music like Dhrupad, and I am pretty sure the wandering people don't have their Sangita Ratnakara memorized.

Anyway, I will continue because I am convinced that I have found something.

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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarbonSitars
I'll be honest here. I think this is a case of apophenia.

Bingo, but as Mark Twain observed, "It's easier to fool someone than it is to convince someone that they've been fooled", and that's true even when one is fooling himself

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarbonSitars
you'll be much better served by getting down to the business of pouring over historical documents in archives

No real need for that, nor for a degree in 16th century European music, for the supposed evidence has been linked here for us and it's entirely unconvincing.  There's nothing of the ragas claimed in those pieces.  Well, nothing more than any two pieces of tonal music from anywhere in the world and from any period in time wouldn't have in common.  India and Europe share several diatonic scales in common, and so it would be highly unlikely that you couldn't find at least some short sequences of notes common to both repertoires. 

We're looking at "martian canals" and elephants in the clouds. 

David

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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #14 
You lack imagination, education and curiosity.

I will stop discussing this with you. You have no arguments at all and refuse to look at it.

Claiming it has nothing to do with each other proves it.

If you want to refute my musical analysis, please get the score and show me where I am wrong.

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CarbonSitars

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
You sound like you claim to have some education in music. What is your background?

I have a BM in musical composition. I have formal training in 20th century avant garde composition, the history of European Early Music up to the Baroque (including many sleepless nights pouring over all the scores of the guys you mention), and I study Indian classical music with my guru, Indrajit Banerjee. I know enough to be aware I don't possess but 1% of the knowledge my masters have. They have forgotten more about music than I will ever know.

Quote:
Anyway, I will continue because I am convinced that I have found something.

Throw away this nonsense, and go earn a degree in musicology. If you're at all like me, after having to write a measly hundred pages of research, you will get a taste for the amount of work that real musicologists do for a meager living and little glory. I would never in a million years think I could do the work my teachers did after seeing how it was done. Years and years of analyzing a few documents and hand-written letters to find even the smallest insight about a composer's work. Then it gets reviewed by their peers, the very best in their fields. Then it goes through revision after revision. If they're lucky, it gets published. And those are the tenured professionals. By the time you earn that degree, you will think much differently about pure speculation.

Quote:
There's nothing of the ragas claimed in those pieces.  Well, nothing more than any two pieces of tonal music from anywhere in the world and from any period in time wouldn't have in common.  India and Europe share several diatonic scales in common, and so it would be highly unlikely that you couldn't find at least some short sequences of notes common to both repertoires.

Agreed.
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