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StVitus

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Reply with quote  #1 
Why is Yaman/Yaman Kalyan taught to beginners? Nobody seems to agree on anything other than Ni-Re-Ga needing to be pakad/chalan. Nobody agrees on what it’s supposed to evoke. Trying to understand what makes yaman just seems like an exercise in frustration. Why not start with something more obvious and simple like Chandrakauns?
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #2 
Just spitballing...I'm not defending the practice particularly, but some of my thoughts why it might be considered for a first raag.

1. Relatively comfortable to Western ears (if the student is of that background).  Not exactly Bilawal but a simple pleasing "Lydian" sound.
2. Does include some very simple/basic aroha / avaroha so the new student can start to understand that critical concept.
3. Sampurna, uses all of the sargam...the student then gets used to the full sa-re-ga-ma-pa-dha-ni set without skipping one of them and having to shoe-horn in an extra note later.  There are a lot of reasons Bhupali would make a decent first raag I think but this is one reason why not, in my opinion.
4. Tradition...sometimes that's a good enough reason on its own.
5. It has its more "vanilla" like attributes...Sa and Pa (Chandrakauns skipping Pa sets up the untrained ear for confusion on whether tonic is Sa or Ma), very mild differences in ascent and descent, lots of room for interpretation and thus not as rigid.
6. Because it does get used often as a first raag, there's plenty of basic beginner material out there to get started with it.

Just my two cents.
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #3 
We of the Indore Gharana learn Bhimpalassi 1st.
Don’t know if that is true in antiquity
But
My dear friend & guru Patric Marks taught myself & every one of his students that I’ve spoken with going back to the 80’s Bhimpalassi
All the lesson books of Patric’ students I’ve seen over the ensuing years bear this out.
Patric has been gone for almost 10 years & I started 4 years before that so this old man’s memories dim but I do remember those early lessons where he told me this was the traditional 1st raag of the Indore Gharana as taught to him by his guru Ghulam Hussein Khan which would put that somewhere in the late 1940’s & early 50’s.

Oh BTW
My SECOND raga was Yaman Kalyan so there it is.

I would be interested in having others chime in with which Gharana they studied 1st & what was their 1st raag.
I wonder if this is just a fluke of Indore or if other Gharana stick with Y / YK as their 1st or have other variants?
Possibly even individual teachers in a Gharana vary their lesson plan... or even tailor to an individual student that may have expertise & talents on other instruments.
I wonder what say Ravi Shankar taught an accomplished artist like George as his 1st.

BTW #2 friend StV - what tradition did you start with when learning Yaman / Yaman Kalyan.

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Hamletsghost 😎

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barend

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Reply with quote  #4 
Yes, Yaman was my first raga too.
It is not an easy raag I agree. I think there are two main pedagogic reasons for taking it as a first raag.

1) Most students start with the basic sargam shudha notes. For Yaman you have to change only the Ma to tivra. For most other ragas you have to change more than one shudha note which makes it more difficult in the beginning.
2) Yaman can serve as a kind of a blueprint for other ragas. When you have learned to skip certain notes and have a different aroh and avroh you can apply that principle to other ragas as well.
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #5 
Yaman is often taught to students across any Gharana in North Indian music, mostly I think because it is considered a Siddha raag. This is often forgotten and most people don't know why. A Siddha raag is one which has foundational elements that can be useful for many ragas and thus it is useful in learning the basic blueprint for many other ragas that have some structural similarity. It basically has an audav-sampoorna presentation for most players, even though that formation is not strictly expected to be maintained. 

It is also a raga that is considered to have a 1,000 faces and is probably the basis for more Indian folk songs than any other especially with old Bollywood songs when they looked at ICM for inspiration.  This means that students will have heard 10-20 songs that are based in Yaman and so will be able to explore more easily.

Another reason that it is useful as a beginner raag is that it is much more forgiving (than many other ragas) in terms of notes where you pause and rest (i.e. Nyasa). This is often a big issue for new students as other ragas crumble when you pause on the wrong notes or become unclear and difficult to discern from closely related ones. e.g. Anandi Kalyan is tough to keep clear and distinct from Kedar and even Bihag if you do not find the right focal point and keep it intact.

When PRS, PNB, and Khansahib were in in Maihar their early learning focused on only 3 ragas (all considered Siddha ragas)  for the first 5 years or so. (I got this from a biography of Baba Allaudin Khan -- all his students did this and learned many gats in many taals to understand the raga ). Khansahib used to say that maybe you can say that you know a raga when you know at least 500 gats/compositions in it. 

So they played Bhairav in the morning, Kafi in the afternoon and Yaman in the evening and into the night. The value of staying with one (or 3) ragas for an extended time is that you begin to learn how to explore and strategize about improvisation strategies and go DEEPER and find multiple melodic launch points in each raga structure that can sustain improvisation for a while. It takes a while for a raga to really penetrate and this is why you see that great artists might sing a raga,  like Yaman all through their lives e.g. Kishori Amonkar.



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