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Thread: Indian classical music

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    Newbies padmaiyangar's Avatar
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    Smile Indian classical music

    Indian classical music

    The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes musicat length. Indian classical music has its origins as a meditation tool for attaining self realization. All different forms of these melodies (Ragas) are believed to affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the "Kundalini". However, there is little mention of these esoteric beliefs in Bharat's Natyashastra, the first treatise laying down the fundamental principles of drama, dance and music. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, created out of Riga-Veda so that its hymns could be sung as Samaganaestablished its first principles. Hindustani classical music has its origin as a form of meditation, though available mainly to an elite audience.
    Indian classical music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed. Like Western classical music, it divides the octave into 12 semitones of which the 8 basic notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, in order, replacing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. However, it uses the just intonation tuning (unlike Western classical music which uses the equal temperament tuning system).
    Indian classical music is monophonic in nature and based around a single melody line which is played over a fixed drone. The performance is based melodically on particular ragas and rhythmically on talas. Instruments typically used in Hindustani music include sitar, sarod, tambura, bansuri, shehnai, sarangi, and tabla. Instruments typically used in Carnatic music include gottuvadyam, veena, mridangam, kanjira, and violin..
    The two main streams of Indian classical music are: Hindustani classical music, originally from North India Carnatic music (Karnataka Sangeeth), originally from South India
    Hindustani music

    Players of the tabla, a type of drum, usually keep the rhythm in Hindustani Music. Another common instrument is the stringed tambura (also known as tanpura), which is played at a steady tone (a drone) throughout the performance of the raga. This task traditionally falls to a student of the soloist, a task which might seem monotonous but is, in fact, an honour and a rare opportunity for the student who gets it.

    In Hindustani Music, the performance usually begins with a slow elaboration of the raga, known as alap. This can range from very long (30-40 minutes) to very short (2-3 minutes) depending on the style and preference of the musician. Once the raga is established, the ornamentation around the mode begins to become rhythmical, gradually speeding up. This section is called the jor. Finally, the percussionist joins in and the tala is introduced.
    Carnatic music

    Carnatic raga elaborations are generally much faster in tempo and shorter. The opening piece is called a varnam, and is a warm-up for the musicians. A devotion and a request for a blessing follows, then a series of interchanges between ragams (unmetered melody) and thaalams (the ornamentation, equivalent to the jor). This is intermixed with hymns called krithis. This is followed by the pallavi or theme from the raga. Carnatic pieces can also be fixed; these are famous compositions that are popular among those who appreciate Carnatic (especially vocal) music. The prime themes of Hindustani music are Rasleela (Hindu devotionals) of Lord Rama, Krishna and Nature.
    Carnatic music is emphasizes the expertise of the voice rather than that of the instruments. Primary themes include Devi worship, Rama worship, descriptions of temples and patriotic songs. Sri Purandara Dasa(1480 - 1564) is known as the father of Carnatic music. Tyagaraja (1759 - 1847), Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776 - 1827) and Syama Sastri (1762 - 1827) are know as Trinity of Carnatic music.

    PADMA IYANGAR

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    i did not know that. thanx.

    dj

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    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    Never knew that Carnatic stuff, so thanks for that.
    I recommend a good long listen to Indian classical music if anyone is unfamiliar with it, as it is a very different approach from the Western style but it can be really beautiful. It is embedded in an ancient and complicated culture. These things can give you a fresh perspective on our music and culture. For instance, finding that music can have complexity, depth and significance when it's played over a drone will surprise someone steeped in counterpoint and harmony. Also, the freshness of each performance tends to be impressive. The ragas, or scales (it doesn't translate well), have their own "colours" and "flavours", traditionally appropriate to certain times of day.
    When I began to study the sitar, I quickly discovered that the necessary dedication was way beyond me, so I remained a listener. It's amazing stuff, sensual, spiritual and exhilarating, and it goes as deep as you like.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Yes I've just recently discovered Indian classical music... It's really great isn't it? The rhythms are so lively and interesting, and the ragas are very spiritual, with a subtle variety of moods which I'm beginning to appreciate more. The lack of harmonic movement or direction is a really nice change from the classical repertoire - in a way it creates a certain stillness, yet there's such energy in this music...

    Well, I won't go on too much. I can understand why you didn't pursue sitar, Mark - I was speaking to a sitarist a week or two ago, and he said it takes 20 years to get good at it, and that the first 5 are very painful... That's dedication.

    Hopefully I'll be learning Hindustani vocals soon - its so much more appealing than learning a classical instrument, and playing from a score...

    For anyone who hasn't heard any Indian classical before, give it a go! It sounds strange at first, but after a few listens you get into it.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    And here's a site on Carnatic music and South Indian dance
    http://www.kutcheribuzz.com/

    There is also a section on concerts in the U.S.. So if you are curious, you can attend some...artists are travelling a LOT these days.

    (I'm in no way affiliatted with that site. Just passing on info. )
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


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    Indian classical music is facing serious degradation of popularity. the beautiful experience of calmness can be experienced by this music. SPICMACAY is an organization trying to popularize Indian classical music amongst the young. But are facing problems with funding.

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Specific album recommendations would be helpful for those of us with no experience with it

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    Surprised that cheez_it isn't all over this thread.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    For specific recordings, a good start are the Signature series of CDs, originally called the Connoisseur series on LP. I think that Mark Levinson had something to do with these.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...ar%2Caps%2C359
    The Ali Akbar Khan recordings are sheer genius. My favorite part is from Volume 2, which has 3 ragas. In cut 3, around 10:00 it starts getting real good; then at 12:20 to 13:08, he does this chromatic departure thing, just to show that he knows music so deeply. I was very impressed by this display of chromatic virtuosity, especially from a genre of music that is supposedly so 'drone' based. http://amzn.com/B000005FND
    Get "Ali Akbar Khan plays Alap" if you don't want drums and need something emptier and more meditative and introsopective. "Alap" means without accompaniment, or solo.
    I also have every Ravi Shankar disc I could find, including the EMI/World Pacific series. I like Lakshmi Shankar, too, a female vocalist.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...kar+collection
    Another good one is "Call of the Valley" on EMI, originally a landmark British release.
    http://amzn.com/B000005H0H
    If you like oboes or woodwinds, Bismillah Khan is the premier shenai player; it's like a shrill double-reed, very vocal sounding.
    Don't forget George Harrison's "Wonderwall" music; his work with Ravi Shankar on "Tana Mana" is a very effective fusion of East and West.
    http://amzn.com/B0000000IE
    Of course, there are the EMI Yehudi Menhuin collaborations with Ravi Shankar, "East Meets West."
    http://amzn.com/B00002CF0J
    The Shankar/Harrison CD "Chants" is very good as well.
    http://amzn.com/B000002SMC
    Have I forgotten anything? Probably. The out-of-print soundtrack LP never on CD, "Raga," is available as a DVD now...
    http://amzn.com/B0042MFQ92
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jun-24-2012 at 04:31.

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  12. #10
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    img.ShankarRaviRAGA--165.jpg

    Apple Films finally released this on DVD. It's the story of Ravi Shankar, from his origins as a dancer to his role as musical ambassador of India, bringing this wonderful music to the world. Great camera work, sound, and editing, especially for a film this old. Includes Ravi going back to see his music guru, then almost 100 years old, whom Shankar still admired yet dreaded; footage from the Monterey Pop film, which shows the late Alla Rakha drumming with child-like joy; a sitar lesson given to George Harrison; and a performance with Yehudi Menuhin, which is priceless. Shankar always emphasizes the extreme years of discipline and dedication required to achieve proficiency in Indian music, every bit as difficult, if not moreso, than our Western classical music.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    img.KhanAliAkbarSig-2-647.jpg

    This is a good starting point. As I mentioned earlier, Mark Levinson did the original recording and subsequent remastering on one of his modified and upgraded reel-to-reel tape machines. The results sound even better than the original vinyl release.

    The sarod, which is the instrument Ali Akbar Khan plays, is a short-bodied lute-like string instrument, with a banjo-like goatskin body, and a fretless stainless steel fingerboard which is played by sliding the tips of the fingers, with fingernails, over the strings.

    Ali Akbar Khan started a music school in Los Angeles back in the late 1960s; this was where Robbie Krieger (studying sitar), John Densmore (studying tabla) and Ray Manzarek met, later adding Jim Morrison and forming The Doors. Listening to the Doors' long epic track "The End," later used by Francis Ford Coppolla in "Apocalypse Now," the Indian raga influence is apparent.

    img.DoorsFirst690.jpg
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Aug-26-2012 at 16:38.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

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  15. #12
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    Fantastic information on the basics and fundamental of Indian Classical Music. Valuable Resource for all the music lovers.

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    Senior Member drpraetorus's Avatar
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    I am fond of Indian music. I prefer the live performance. The interchange and communication between the main performer and tabla is fascinating. However, check out the tambura player. They seem to be in some kind of trance.

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    I love Indian classical music, of both types. What a culture! Oh, and the drumming!
    Last edited by davidsannderson; Aug-08-2016 at 12:37.

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