INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

Sign up Calendar Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #1 
I am still a newcomer to ICM. I have learned all of the thaats to sing play or recognise and have made a start on one or two simpler ragas. I understand the role of Vadi and samvadi but could someone explain to me the significance of sa. To a western musician it really does feel natural to that the most important note in a rag would be Sa because the Drone invariably is tuned to it. But of we are taking say R and D as Vadi and Samvadi where does this leave S. After all if we use improvisation techniques that are going to structure melodic shapes around notes other S we are making it less important. What have I misunderstood. BTW my ICM instruemnt is Bansuri.

0
musicslug

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 276
Reply with quote  #2 
sometimes sa is de-emphasized - see Marwa
0
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes but isn't this the exception rather than the rule certainly Yaman if I am not mistaken is another example. Certainly on aroah. But the real question is has S when it is not Vadi or samvadi any special role and if so what?
0
musicslug

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 276
Reply with quote  #4 
at the risk of telling you things you already know, a raga is 'defined' by a group of traits:

- ascending/descending scales
- strong/weak notes
- characteristic phrases
- intonation (e.g. a note might need to be played flat)

you could add other things, like how a note is reached (it might need to be arrived at by meend from above or below, e.g. komal ga in darbari kanada). time of day it's played is another (but not everyone observes that one religiously...).

IME a lot of westerners try to define ragas in western music terms (e.g. 'modes'), but I think you're better off understanding it on its own terms.
0
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #5 

Yes it is very difficult talking to someone who you don’t know about something of which you are not sure how much they do know.


I am a highly trained western musician who has spent most of his life avoiding ICM because I felt there was so much that I still needed to know about my own culture and had too much respect for something which I really enjoyed the sound it made but felt that I was responding to an exotic sound rather than music.


What changed, well I listened to a radio adaptation of midnights children by salman Rushdie and the incidental music was played on Bansuri and I realised that I had become really emotionally involved with the music, which was played on Bansuri and tanpura amd I just Had to have one. So I applied the same rigour to ICM studies that I had to western music I realised from the beginning that there really are some transferable skills some non transferable and some that looked as if they may be but it was better to make no assumptions.

As among Other things a pro recorder player who has never had any problem with transverse flute embouchure the Bansuri was a natural way in. Breath control and finger control is transferable even prper double hole technique on a recorder is similar to playing komal notes on the bansuri as is the shading and leaking which a recorder player uses to achieved perfect intonation.

But I found the most elusive thing was understanding the concept of rag and it was much easier to learn what a rag isn’t than what it is.My current understanding and I thouroughly expect this to change, is that it is a colour pitch continuum which is both characterised and defined by the factors which you mention and a continuum that the player will operate within by consciously observing these factors if one was capable of operating unconsciously within that continuum one would find that one was adhering to these factors as they pertain to any given rag. 

The First task I set my self was complete familiarity with all ten thaats so that I could sing or play or recognise any thaat and within limits place any raga that I listened to in one thaat or at least one of two or three.

I started by looking at a few AUral aural ragas which only involved me in remembering a few notes and their Badi and samvadi and relatively short pakads. I have now moved on to one or two that will change only one note between as ent and descent. I tend to choose ones with which I feel an instant affinity, which are not always neccesarily the easiest but I do have a highly trained ear. And I don’t mean only within equal temperament. I don’t know how much you are familiar with western music but among better musicians although it is a commonly held opinion among ICM folks we really are not totally ruled by keyboards and the shortcomings of an inherently out of tune system althòugh Inwould be the first to agree that the is often some instinctively rather than in the more calculated manner which Bhatkande shows us.

I am sorry to have written at such length but I wanted to show you the context from which my question arose.




0
musicslug

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 276
Reply with quote  #6 

"...the player will operate within by consciously observing these factors if one was capable of operating unconsciously within that continuum one would find that one was adhering to these factors as they pertain to any given rag."

I'm not sure what a colour pitch continuum is... but my understanding is that consciously observing the 'rules' of a raga eventually does lead a musician to a point where they can proceed unconsciously. the key (IME) is to stick with one raga for an extended period; I've heard numerous stories of gurus making their students focus on a single raga for months or years before moving on.
0
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #7 

Sorry that phrase does sound a bit tree huggy but it seems to be that as language is basically analogy in actiòn and raga is really a unique concept that it is a lot easier to say something about what it is like rather than what it is.

What I am trying to say here is that if one is to take two ragas which are based on the same mode but differ in vadi samvadi pakad etc that the pitches of the two may be the same but the sound colour change created by the ither factors are a lot more difficult to define, other than perhaps by the relation of Vadi and samvadi to the drone?


But the difficulty in Defining tyat difference does not mean that we cannot perceive it.And so when I say colour pitch continuum I am trying to encapsulate these two ways of distinguishing between two ragas which may be very similar or indeed quite different as we can define the mode of a rag with note names as well as the mood which it is meant to create and for which the factors other than the mode are responsible. And I suspect that the simplistic view of some Western musicians about what a raga is is based simply on the difficulty of defining the intention of the extra modal aspects.

0
westsea

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
colour pitch continuum
sounds like what Thomas Marcotty called a sound wave formation.
0
musicslug

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 276
Reply with quote  #9 
it sounds (to me) like you're using the term 'mode' - a western musical concept - to describe ICM. it's probably the best tool western music offers to understand the raga system, but it doesn't (AFAIK) address issues important to ICM: intonation, vadi/samvadi, pakad, aroha/avaroha.

my (admittedly amateurish) understanding of raga is that if you observe all the 'rules' of a raga, spend a great deal of time 'in' that raga (e.g. practicing its scales), and do it well, you might change the atmosphere when playing it, and maybe the raga teaches you how it should be played.

(tree-hugging here...)

Hindu philosophy seems to put a premium on what westerners call 'channeling', i.e. we're not the inventors of creative output so much as conduits for it, and the best way to facilitate that flow is to clear the 'channels' (using tools like yoga, meditation), get out of the way, let the ideas out: ego is an impediment. I once heard an ICM vocalist translate the lyrics to one of her songs; something like "I'm not the author of these songs; I just find them, give them names". this
(IMO) is very different from western music, where 'authorship' is central.



0
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #10 
Definitely not the mode is part of the raga but it is all of the other things that turn it from being mere
y mode into a raga.
0
geezerjazz

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #11 
It's possible for experienced jazz musicians to assign too much import to the ICM theoretical concepts. Indian music theory is descriptive, not generative. If we try to use it in a generative way -- like we might do in jazz -- we'll come up with maybe thirty seconds or a minute of music, and then have exhausted the theory. After the first minute we have no choice but to leave the theory behind and start improvising.

Whether our improvisations are idiomatic or not is up to our teachers and our audiences to determine. Probably best to just listen to a lot of recordings of the raga you're working with, and then improvise.

The role of sa in a raga that deemphasizes sa is the same as always: to help us tune the other notes.
0
Stephen.bansuri

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #12 

I had been thinking along these lines but had not been able to put it as succinctly as that. That is the fascinating thing about ICM.There are finitely areas which are related and definitely areas which are not related to western music then the dangerous ones that appear to be related and aren’t. What I am struggling with at the moment is the whole rhythmic cycle business it is presented as being something uniquely subtle and difficult to understand and I just can’t see what the problem is. 

 

0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.