‘Self-learning’ a Karnatak Composition – Thenuga Thevapalan (Denmark)

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

Thenuga with Dr. Karaikudi Subramanian I was assigned to self-learn Muttusvami Diksitar’s kriti ‘Ganarajena Raksitoham’ through Patantara (https://patantara.com/ganarajenaraksitoham). Here is my process of learning the kriti. Composer: Sri Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar Rāgam: Ārabhi Tāḷam: Misra Cāpu Pāt̤āntaram: Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian   My audio I mainly used the vina recording to learn the song since it was easier for me to understand and comprehend the gamakas, but I listened to the svara rendition as well as the vocal version to know the lyrics.   My way of approaching the kriti 16/7/17 I learnt the song on the vina. First, I listened to the pallavi a few times, both the vina and vocal version (svara and sahitya). Then, I listened to the first sangati of the first line repeatedly by using the loop-function on Patantara. I tried to reproduce what was being played, but I soon realized that I missed out on important details. I decided to download the audio so that I could listen to the line at a lower tempo on VLC media player. In that way, I obtained a better understanding of the gamakas. Sir’s rule number one is that one should be able to play a line/phrase at least four times without faltering. Thus, I practiced the first sangati repeatedly until I was able to play it without stopping or faltering. After some time, I started to get an overall flow. Subsequently, I played along with the track on Patantara and thereafter, I moved to the next part. I practiced the rest of the pallavi line by line the exact same way as the first sangati in pallavi. Hereafter, I played the entire pallavi along with the recording. I looped the entire pallavi on the audio editing software ‘Wavepad’ and played with the vina recording repeatedly. At last, I practiced the whole pallavi without the recording. I used ‘Tala Keeper’ (http://talakeeper.org/) to keep tempo. I made a recording of my first practice session. I realized that there were many flaws in my playing and I worked on perfecting and refining the first section. I observed the following: First line: I am putting too much force to the first m when playing (S)m P D P (the beginning phrase) Work more on the phraseh R mG R Second line: Pull R slightly back when playing SN DD PP | mP DP | mG RS || I tend to pluck hard at some places. The pluck should be neither too harsh nor too soft. I will work towards a clean, equal and middle-level pluck. I need to work on getting an overall flow  1/8/17 I played the pallavi for Sir. Since I had been learning other compositions in the meantime, I had not put time aside to practice the kriti after that one time. Before playing for Sir, I spent one hour on refreshing the pallavi. During the lesson, he corrected ‘R mG R’ (first line, first sangati). I failed to see the small bend on the second R. In addition, I did not give enough time on m. He approved the rest and told me to move on to the next section. 7/8/17 I practiced the rest of the kriti the exact same way as the pallavi. I took one line at a time and lowered the tempo on ‘Wavepad’ to capture every detail. Number of hours put to learn the sections: Pallavi: 2.5 hours Samashti caranam: 2 hours Madhyamakala sahitya: 1 hour Cittasvara: 1 hour I did not play for Sir right away. Even though I had practiced the entire kriti, I was not satisfied with my...

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‘Self-learning’ a Karnatak Composition – Mathuriga Thevapalan (Denmark)

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

This is an article about self-learning using a recently developed software through www.patantara.com. My Guru Karaikudi Subramanian sir circulated the kriti Ganarajena Raksitoham in Arabhi ragam amongst his students as a project for us to learn it from our different levels. The kriti is available on Patantara with audio recordings rendered by sir. Click on to the following link to read the article: Mathuriga Thevapalan on ‘self-learning’   Please visit the page below to try out the tool:  https://stage.patantara.com/carnot/w4TCpTcbQ8K_wrfDinwhw7HCh8Kpw4rCkcOlP8O4wq7CnQ     Thenuga-Mathuriga Thevapalan playing Ganarajena Raksitoham on...

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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-5

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

19th April 2017 Tribute to Mrdanga Vidwan Kuttalam Siva Vadivel Pillai  By Sangeeta Kalanidhi T. N. Swaminatha Pillai, Professor of Music, Central Carnatic Music College, Chennai “ When I was young I had a sweet voice. Between 12 ad 17 I had given many vocal concerts. In the beginning, considering the promise I had in the career of music one of the famed mrdangam maestros , respected Kuppusamy Pillai, encouraged me, joining me in many of my concerts. To have contributed to making me come to the front ranking artistes, I cannot deny that Kuppusamy Pillai had a greater share. When I reached 17, my voice became bad and I could not sing any more. At that point I began to practice flute. By 20 I began giving concerts on the flute. Even then, because of his love for me, respected Kuppusamy brought me accolades by continuing to play for me. At that time our Vidwan Sivavadivel Pillai must have been 12 years old. In the small town called Ilaiyanar Velore, Close to Kanchipuram, there was one, Srimathi Saradambal ammaiyar, an exponent of Katha Kalakshepam, conducted the Navarathri festival. I have performed concert. Only there, for the first time, Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai had been arranged to perform for me. After that he had played for me in many concerts. I had great respect for his musicianship. He possessed a firm and precise performing style. From the beginning to the end, without disrupting the concert, playing with utmost attention he had the skill and capacity to make the concert memorable, embellished and special. Many maestros had assembled at Arimalam Ramanathan Chettiyar’s home concert of mine. It is still ringing in my ears the superb supportive performance of Kuttalam Sivavadivel pillai. When we played together once in Pudukkottai, the great artiste Dakshinamurthy Pillai, sat at a close distance listening to the concert with heart felt joy and finally praised and blessed us too. The greatest music maestro who earned a special niche among the greatest, Kanchipuram Nayinappillai had praised Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai captivated by his superb sound and laya mastery in his playing. From his guru, the great laya exponent, Kuttalam Kuppusamy Pillai, Sivavadivel Pillai from his very young age learned the intricacies of laya with its finer emotive and expressive qualities. He had learned with clarity the dynamics of sound, the intricate differences in productions. As a great exponent of both mrdangam and Kanjira, Sivavadivel Pillai skillfully accompanying many great music maestros, was a source of strength. Many famed artistes invited him to their functions and had praised his mastery over the art of music. On the concert stage, Sri Siva Vadivel Pillai without only showing his skill on his instrument, he appropriately enriched the main artiste’s performance according to their individual strengths and thus contributing to the overall gestalt making the audience enjoy. Even though the main artistes were not equal to his status, he accompanied them with understanding and projected the main artiste as one of the best in the perception of the audience. Later in his years he had ailing health. Although he could not go beyond what he was really capable as a maestro, everyone accepted him as one of the greats in laya. He had not hesitated in giving his best in his art of mrdangam to his disciples without distinction, without hiding and without any partiality. He had contributed to grooming up many young players. He earned enough wealth through his skill in his art. He used his wealth purposefully. He spent for the promotion of arts and for the worship of God. He had...

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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-4

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

18th APRIL, 2017  Mrdanga Vidwan Kuttalam Siva Vadivel Pillai      (A summary of the tributes to the mrdaṅga Vidwan, Kuttalam ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’ S. Sivavadivel Pillai; Publishers: Disciples of the Guru; Press: Gambhir Vinayakar Press; Kutralam-1956) குத்தாலம் “மிருதங்கச் சுடரொளி” எஸ். சிவவடிவேல் பிள்ளை அவர்கள் நினைவு மலர்; வெளியிட்டோர்: மிருதங்கச் சுடரொளியின் சிஷ்யர்கள்; பதிப்பித்தது: ஸ்ரீ கம்பீர வினாயகர் பிரஸ், குத்தாலம்; 1956 Kuttalam ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’ S. Sivavadivel Pillai-Memoir   Publishers: Disciples of the ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’; Press: Sri Gambhira Vinayakar, Kuttalam-1956; Language: Tamil Mrdanga Vidwan S. Sivavadivel Pillai Konnakkol Vaidyalingam Pillai’s writes: (Unfortunately there is not much information on Sri Konnakkol Vaidyalingam Pillai. If some has you may post here with his photograph-Dr. KSS) “ I met him in 1935 at Pondicheri to perform together for Cittoor Subrammanya Pillai. He is very well known in mrdangam playing. But for that concert he played on the Kanjira and proved himself equally skillful. We started playing together for Cittoor in concerts. In addition he also palyed Dolak very well. He is an expert in Laya, on the whole. He had no fear in his profession. He is devoted to Arunagirinathar. As a proof there is a mutt for Arunagirinathar built next to his home. He is fond of humor. His father Konnakkol Pakriyapillai was fond of him. It is no exaggeration to say that he was a pillar to the Isai Velalar community....

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Notes on Tala-KSS-MD-3

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

Karaikudi S.S   Rhythm is a fascinating subject and the world music students are greatly inspired by Indian rhythms. South Indian rhythms have a very long history. While there are legendary greats in South Indian drumming such as Mamundia Pillai, Dakshinamurthy Pillai,  Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subbramania Pillai, Ramnad Murugabhoopathi and others, of late there are hundreds of top drummers in South India. The complexities in rhythm will be bewildering to a beginning student. The following notes are meant as an introduction to basics in South Indian Tala from a simplistic point of view to help the beginners. What would be interesting and instantly rewarding would be the demonstrations through the Tala Keeper programmable soft ware.    NOTES ON TALA ( Pronounced TAALAA)   Talas: Hand gestures to Keep time visually for compositions and improvisations. Parts: 1. Laghu (Variable 3, 4, 5, 7 & 9 executed through a beat followed by finger counting) 2. Dhrutam (Constantly represents two-executed by a beat and a wave) 3. Anu dhrutam (represents, one-which cannot exist without the laghu and dhrutam. In other words they are sandwiched between Laghu and dhrutam)   Syllables (solkattus) used for numbers are called ‘jathis’. There is another element, jaathi, referring to groups of 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9. It applies to Laghu to define the tala (a beat and two finger counts, for example, will be a ’tisra’ group) The undercurrent of the ‘pulses’ between two beats (or counts) can vary from 3 to 9 according to composition or improvisation. It defines the ‘gait’ or ‘gati’ of a composition or improvisation. It is the flowing time realised within the performer which needs to be strengthened in order to command time and execute a composition or improvisation with precision.    One will hear the words Tisra (referring to 3), Caturasra or catusra (referring to4), khanda (referring to5), Misra (referring to 7) and Sankirna (referring to 9). These terms are commonly referred to define the talas (with respect to lagus), gatis (‘gait’ or the undercurrent of the pulses between two counts) or simply rhythmic groups or patterns. Find the common talas given below used in a South Indian Music concert. There are the theoretical 7 talas traditionally called, Sulaadi Sapta talas or Alankaara taalas. You will notice the talas Dhruva, Matya etc., having adjectives such as Catusra, misra and so on defining the talas). I am using the soft ware Tala Keeper to help in this process.  http://talakeeper.org     Common Talas Adi Tala Ata Tala (Kanda) Kanda Capu Tala Misra Capu Tala Rupaka Tala Sankirna Capu Tala Alankara Talas Catusra Dhruva Catusra Matya Catusra Rupaka Misra Jampa Tisra Triputa Kanda Ata Catusra Eka     1. Adi:  4+2+2 = 8 (One Laghu + Two dhrutams) Click Adi Tala  to play and experience the sound. 2. Capu: 2.1 Khanda (Kanda Capu Tala) 2.2 Misra (Misra Capu Tala) 2.3 Sankirna (Sankirna Capu Tala) (The simple and common variety of 3 is played with two beats and a wave can be called ’tisra capu, while the traditional and formal tala is called rupakam) 3. The traditional and theoretical sapta talas are Dhruva (Catusra Dhruva) Matya (Catusra Matya), Rupaka (Catusra Rupaka), Jampa (Misra Jampa), Triputa (Tisra Triputa), Ata (Kanda Ata) and Eka (Catusra Eka) used in the initial foundation exercises.    Simple structural exercises for Talas in three speeds (geometric progression in speed with respect to finger counts and syllables. 1:1 (One count with one syllable); 1:2 (One count with two syllables); 1:4 (One count with 4 syllables); 1:8 (One count with 8 syllables and so on)   How to do it?    Adi Tala:    1. In speed one, say Takadhimi Taka Taka, (one syllable per every count- which will complete one...

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Music is Meditation-KSS-MD-2

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

Karaikudi S.S: MUSIC is MEDITATON: Music is the most vital element for any creative work. Dance is the most complete form in Arts education. The vital links between music and dance are obvious to the topmost exponents of dance and music. Even if the gurus insist on this it is not easy for students to perceive this. I have been teaching a group of dancers in a dance school invited by the director of the school giving me utmost freedom to teach music the way I thought best. Here are a couple of responses from the students for some basic elements I was building in them. One was on ‘Music is Meditation’. Here is the link I sent to the group on Meditation on TakaDhiMi- Meditation on TakaDhiMi “Thank you for all the links. I can’t wait to try them out. I’m especially intrigued by this TaKaDiMi pattern. Like I mentioned earlier, rhythm fascinates me and I love losing myself in it. I have personally felt what you meant about this universal pattern creating a huge sense of warmth and relief – like going back to the comfort and familiarity of home after a long vacation.” -Sadashi, April 16th The second one was on Panca Nadais: Here is the link I sent to the group on Meditation on Panca Nadai-s Sayantani Chatterjee, Apr Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 10:50 PM Re: 5 Nadais “What we did today in class was very novel and interesting. To patiently understand the pauses was a slightly complicated task especially when we said Ta ka dhi mi ta ka jhu nu in slow speed having 8 counts for each syllable. It had to stop all thoughts and completely concentrate on it. I have practised with the link that you kindly send us and found that saying ‘ta ka dhi mi ta ka ta ki ta’ in one beat is quite difficult. Thank you so much for sharing this link. I’ll keep practising.”-Sayantani, Sun, Apr 16,...

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