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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #1 
Sanjoy Bandhopadhayay has an interesting essay on what good music is here:
http://www.indianmusiclessons.com/docs/DefineMusic.pdf

Where he summarizes that it is a balance of connection with the audience and musical skill and aesthetic intent.

For me it has always been that the Raga is more important than the musician, and the pace and development is dictated by the mood and spirit of the Raga rather than by the musicians plan. This plan of course must exist but be ready to submit to the what seems most natural and necessary for the "optimal" development of the Raga.

Kishori Amonkar wrote a wonderful essay once about how the "essence" is much more important than the form (i.e. Gat, Raga rules etc..) and how her goal was to always go beyond the basic structural form to touch the essence of the Raga

In Sanjoy's own words - Here are some qualities of good music:

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Kirya
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Kirya

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More from Kishori -- http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article3332279.ece?homepage=true

Kishori summed up a profound concept in simple words.

She said: “We have given an entertainment value to our music. Singing, practising and performing, all are different. These are the three aspects of music. I give importance to singing. It is like talking to your soul. It is an inner communion which you are trying to communicate ... in the process, naturally it will diminish in value.

“I believe that Indian music is nothing but the expression of a feeling. If I say, ‘I love you,' can you measure it? You just have to feel that vibration. We have limited our music to formats. In North India, every raga is sung in a typical form. First alaap, then vistaar, then you put words into the alaap; words in the thana, then dhrutha … We repeat the entire repertoire. I don't think one needs to sing dhrutha here. Dhrutha conveys an entirely different feeling. You sing it when you are restless or have an intense feeling. But we don't do that. Apologetically, I accept these faults. You do the same in Carnatic music. In a performance you give a break, you give some time for the violin, some time for the mridangam. It is a break from the emotion.”

How does one break away from the routine formula, to resurrect this other music hidden behind a form that has a set formula, a set pattern? “You should learn these formats when you are a student. It's high time that I took the plunge and followed that feeling and experienced it myself. I pray to God to give me the strength to go to that level, which is abstract.”

And also this : http://swaratala.blogspot.com/2011/07/kishori-amonkar-queen-of-romanticism.html


“Formerly, my mehfil performance tacitly accepted the tonal picture enshrined in the traditional framework. But, after some time, I realized that listeners are more fond of music which touches their hearts than intellectually satisfying music. As I began to pursue tonal purity assiduously, I was also able to look at the entire world of tonality more closely… I surrendered myself completely to swara, not to the “swara chitra (melodic picture or design)… When one dives deep into the swara, one’s artistic presentation becomes more rounded, deeper and simultaneously, one’s egoism also begins to wane. Then, the quantity or frequency of ornamental work on one’s musical presentation automatically declines and with that the music becomes more profound.” (From an essay: “Myself in my own words” and “Music as a Medium”, Rudravani, Diwali issue 1977. quoted from “Between Two Tanpuras” by Vamanrao Deshpande)

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Kirya
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
KIrya Bhai...
People go on stage, as a solo artist, NOT to present a raga but to present THEMSELVES!!
How often is a performance listed as..

RAGA Darbari Kanada
as played by...whatever artist??

The rest I totally agree with!!

Nick
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
KIrya Bhai...
People go on stage, as a solo artist, NOT to present a raga but to present THEMSELVES!!
I'm inclined to agree with this. Much is made of the very best performers presenting a raag in its purest form (ie., with more skill and experience, getting closer to the heart and essence of the raag) and I think there is truth to that, but also, some of the greatest musicians seem to have more of a pronounced, personal stamp on their performance. Meaning, the great lot of us beginners and intermediates try to just keep up with the raag and play it decently, but the masters, they have a fingerprint on their performance that, while remaining true to the raag, seems to have much more personal connection and contribution. You hear a few lines from Ravi Shankar, you know its him, for example (or its his daughter...the apple fell not far from the tree, but that's another story). I can recognize Ustad Imrat Khan on surbahar fairly easily, there are just certain things he plays in a certain way, regardless of raag. Same with Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, etc etc etc. It seems the greater mastery, the more of themselves they are able to present along with the raag. The masters seem to have more freedom with the raags...my teacher mentioned how only the masters would put the shuddh ni in jhinjhoti, like Ust Abdul Karim Khan's recording. They also seem to be more free to create a raag...it seems like at some point they aren't slaves to a strict raag structure and are more "partners" with the raags on equal footing. Or I could be talking cobblers on this, it's quite early here and my brain is still tuning up...
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #5 
Only cobblers??!?!?
No, I quite agree & nicely put too.

Nick
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #6 
Trippy Sahib

Actually there are musicians like Kishori and others who of course have a distinctive style and signature (and mastery) who really go out to explore what they understand of the Raga on that particular day. I have spoken to Kishori Amonkar about this and she often said that you have to work and reach out until a Raga "lets you in" and only then can you really say that you know anything about the Raga. She told me that she only sang one raga at a time for a year or more (in her early years) to accomplish this and was shocked that I was learning so many at the same time.

The mastery and competence is a necessary condition for good music but the kind of absorption/mood the musician also really matters and might even be the real key once some basic technical competence is in place.

There are others who have a formula which often involves great technique and clear physical mastery but might not be as satisfying in other ways.

Think about the pieces that you listen to again and again and ask why. I think that it is usually is because the personality got out of the way and Raga spoke through more clearly or all the energy that goes into maintaining the individual personality gets refocused on the music.

I have seen both Kishori & Nikhil Banerjee (and all the other masters PRS, UVK) have bad days where the music was plodding and heavy and even tiresome, in spite of the technical mastery that they all have. But then I have also seen them perform when they really "connected" with the Raga and the audience and they simply could do no wrong. It was like they were being played by an invisible but very active and real presence.

I have seen this happen with Zappa and Dave Gilmore as well, so this is not just an Indian thing. Sometimes you are just in the groove ad I believe this happens in those moments when the song is more important than the singer or when musicians talk about "losing themselves". Zappa used to say that this happened one in ten times that he jammed but it was so wonderful that he was willing to try another 100 times to find that again.

Kishori Amonkar wrote a wonderful essay about this and if I can find it again I will put the link in here.

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Kirya
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #7 
Kirya Bhai
Very interesting reply but I don't think you're disagreeing though.

ICM is a music that is very cautious & will let you in as you prove yourself capable of handling it various powers & influences.
Of course it can rise or fall according to the very musician or singer performing or, even, just practising.

Nick
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povster

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Reply with quote  #8 
For me, the best answer is simply:

1) Good music is always greater than the sum of its parts.

2) You know good music when you hear it.

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #9 
POV
EXACTLY!!!
Especially the first one.

Nick
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "povster"
You know good music when you hear it.
Sadly this is not always the case with me. Sometimes the things I end up loving most deeply (whether music or literature) give me a mediocre first impression...where I fail to soak in and absorb the underlying qualities, but stubbornness bids me press on and "study" it a bit more. Usually those are the things that I end up loving the most. Coffee, Douglas Adams, various Yes albums, and in a large sense, Indian music as a whole....

Obviously not every seeming lump of coal contains a diamond in the rough, though...there have been many a time when repeated listenings only proves out my initial impression. I didn't require a second listen to John Cage's 4'33", for example.
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