Archive for August, 2006

Let us Know about our Indian Muisc

August 29, 2006

Let us know more about our Indian Music
( Fundas of Indian Music)

Most of us enjoy listening to Music of some kind or other. Music is said to be universal, but there are bound to be some differences. Knowing the fundas of Indian music will make us appreciate it better.

There are major five varieties of music in India.
1. Carnatic
2. Hindustani
3. Filmi
4. Folk
5. Fusion

There are different forms dance and classifications are:

1. Kuchipudi
2. Bharat Natyam
3. Kathak
4. Odissi
5. Kathakali
6. Mainpuri
7. Mohini Attam.

The Carnatic style of singing is popular in southern states like Tamilanadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Both vocal and instrumental concerts are performed by these artists. The compositions or Krutis are composed by three eminent musicians of lore.

1. Sri Thyagaraju
2. Sri Shyam Sastri
3. Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar
Recently, Sri Annamacharya sankirtnas have also become popular.

The vocal concert supported by Carnatic instruments:
Violin, Mrudangam, Tambura, Ghatam, Kanjira, Morsing, Flute also Veena

There are separate instrumental musical concerts on
Veena, Flute, Clarinet.
The sannai and dolu also form another combination of Carnatic instrumental music.

In a similar way, Hindustani music has both Vocal and instrumental music.
The vocal music is accompanied by two or more of these instruments.
Tanpura, Harmonium, Violin, Sarangi, Tabla, Pakwaj, etc., The popular instrumental music concerts are of Sitar, Sarod, Voilin, Bansuri, Sehnai, Santoor etc.,

The whole of Indian Music depends on seven Swaras. But the way they are brought out differs widely in the Carnatic and Hindustani. In fact, There are twelve Swaras including five mandra and tivra Swaras.

These are three most important things to know about in Hindustani Music.

1. Sur
2. Rag
3. Taal

SUR:

Sur is nothing but the frequency or pitch of the sound. It is common to find before the concert that the instruments are tuned properly to the pitch of the vocal singer or the main instrument. Usually, harmonium is used for this purpose. But now a days electronic devices are also being used. If there is no proper tuning to correct Sur, it will not be melodious to the ear. This requires a great amount of experience and knowledge. If your ear is tuned to correct Sur, it will be great.
Here again, There can be comparison with western music:

Hindusatani Western

Safed 6 A
Safed 7 B
Safed 1 C,
Kali 1 C#
Safed 2 D
Safed 3 E
Safed 4 F
Safed 5 G
Kali 3 F#

The safed and kali are colours on harmonium keys.

RAG:

From the time we get up hear, we hear many tunes; Like the waking up, Azam of Muslims, Haratis, Bajans and also some filmi songs.
There are based on Ragas. Raga is nothing but a permutation and combination of some of the twelve swaras, mentioned earlier.
It has aroh (ascending) Avaroh(Descending), Pakad, Chalan. The Raga is sung with a Khayal. The khayal will have sthayi and Antara. It varies from Raga to raga. Pandit Bhatkande was the first to document this enormous task. There are some legends and world famous singers and instrumentalists who have mastered this art form to a great extent. Their entire life time is spent in exploring a small part of the music. There are some Gharanas or singing styles in this . They are Mewati, Kirana etc.,. Some vocal and instrumental artists have popularized some Ragas. Even filmi music has many songs on popular ragas. The Drupad style of singing is now a days rare, but one must hear it at least once to understand its greatness. Dagar brothers have made it popular.

Let me explain how twelve swaras are formed from the basic seven Swaras.
Without going into intricacies of pronunciation, let me give the basic fudas.

Hindustani Western

Saa C
Ri D
Ga E
Ma F
Pa G
Dha A
Ni B

In the above 7 sawras, Ri, Ga, Dha, Ni have mandra (lower octave) swaras, while Ma has Tivra(Higer Octave) swara. Thus there twelve notes in all.

Taal:

This also can be called as rhythm . This is the easiest of the three and comes by instinct to many. We clap our hands when we hear a good rhythmic music. Even our heart also beats in a rhythmic way. Even marching will follow it like left, right or a band etc., There are many instruments that are solely used for keeping rhythm or also can played as solo. The main instruments are Tabla, Mrudangam, Pakwaj, Dolak, Dolu, Morsing, symbols . Some of the instruments have very extensive Sastra behind them. There are cyclical patterns repeating intricately to create and play on the instrument. While the Raga is based on the twelve Swaras, The Taal is based on some syllables that are nearer to its basic sound.
These are:

Na, Ta, Tin, Dha, Dhin, Ka, Ta, Trak, Kat, Ri, Ga, Ge, Ti, Tit, Dhit , Tuna etc.,

These sounds are produced on beating the instrument with fingers as in Tabla or Mrudangam or with sticks and hands as in Dolu, Nagara etc., The tempo varies depending on the Laya. The tempo should match with the laya of the song or instrument.
The rhythmic patterns are divided into Taals. These Taals are usually known by clap of hands with clap or no clap i.e Tali or Khali.
Most popular taals are divided into

6 Dadra
7 Rupak
8 Kherwa
10 Jhap taal
12 Ektaal
16 Teen taal,
.

Let me illustrate a simple taal called Dadra. It has 6 beats with first beat is tali and 4th beat is khali.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Dha Dhin Na Dha Tin Na
+ O

The + at 1 indicates taali and O at 4 indicates Khali.

Let us understand a few more terms:

Taal: a group of beats.
Laya: an equal difference in between beat
Matra: The number of beats in a taal
Sum; The first beat of a taal
Vilambit: a low speed of rendering
Madhya: The medium speed
Drut: The fast speed
Dugun: Putting two letters in a matra
Chougun: Putting 4 letters in a matra
Vibhag: The divisions in taal

Some of the popular Tabla players at present :
Zakir Hussain
Samta Prasad
etc.,

While Sur is a basic component of Raga and Tala, Raga and Tala can be independently studied depending on your choice.

.

REGRET IT – WHAT NEXT?

August 28, 2006

REGRET IT – WHAT NEXT

After more than two years of my retired life, I have come across this guilt feeling a number of times. The reason is that I quit the job when I had still ten months to go. This made me ineligible for the medical benefits at a nominal cost.

Today, my feeling is very intense and I am completely overwhelmed by it. I was trying recapitulate why I acted like stupid fool that time. The result of my hurried decision to quit is leaving a lifelong scar on my psyche. In retrospect, I wonder why I took such an irrational and egoistic decision. Here is a true story for you to read.

The background:

I was almost stuck up in my career for a very long time, to be specific for 18 long years, with no hope for elevation. During the process, even going to job each day was an uphill task. I had to put a false appearance of a normal employee, with deep frustration and utter disinterest in work.

Before that, I eagerly waited for a scheme for voluntary retirement. After a long wait the employer announced a Voluntary retirement scheme which I was eagerly waiting. I was utterly disappointed that I am ineligible to apply for the scheme. The disappointment was so severe that I had physical heart pain and had to go for ECG. To vent my anger, I joined a group of employees who were denied this scheme.

Then I got an outside job offer and served 3 months notice. But, last minute a false hope of VRS coming again made me withdrew my notice. Then I was having just 2, 3 years to go for normal retirement. My second daughter was diagnosed as having major affliction. This has crippled my confidence. To overcome the frustration, I asked for a change of duties. Normally just requests are ignored, but in my case unfortunately, they considered transferring me to another place. I personally welcomed the change, but had to concede family request. My deep frustration and mental agony was showing up in our day to day life.

Over and above that my *&%$^@ boss was refusing to even sanction me casual leave. He has threatened me that he will take action if I go on leave. This had unnerved me a little. So far, I had no adverse remarks in my career. It was a mental torture of third degree used by my boss. I was feeling terribly miserable after getting up by the thought of going to office.

This feeling was lingering for months on. The thought of taking retirement prematurely was etched in my mind. I was telling family and friends who used
casually remark to drag on for a few more months. This suggestion was obvious but I am no mood to heed the advice. The dilemma grew into a crisis. I am no longer a normal person. My response to advises had become curt and egoistic, and people stopped giving advises.

I gathered enough courage to see the boss and tell him about my plan for premature retirement. The sadist boss must have felt happy that I walked into his trap. I immediately gave notice to office about my quitting after 3 months. He was pretending to be generous that he would relieve me after notice without substitute. First, I was expecting that he will not agree to my request and do some counseling.

I had an option to withdraw during notice period, but I had grown stubborn and would not yield to any advice. Then I retired in the middle of a month after expiry of 3 months notice.

This had made me poorer by Rupees 5 laks on account of medical assistance.
I am still trying my best to get out of the regret. Any Way, friends, please suggest!

CARE PARENTS!

August 27, 2006

CARE PARENTS! 

The recent increasing incidents of crimes against senior citizens in India is higly deplorable. Here are some observations on that.

There used be an unwritten code of conduct that the resposibilty and burden of old/ ailing parent/parents whether rich or poor was being taken care ususally by the eldest son in thier family. Incase of any aberations, the neibhours or society would keep a watch on them. Thus they used to lot importance of having a son. That was their old age insurance and support system.

With emerging changes in social values,small families,migration to other countries for jobs and  consumerism, the family systems have undergone  a sea change. Now, How many parents are confident that their children will come to their support incase of their emergency  needs? I have observed that the situation in many old age homes is equally pathetic.

With the increase in population of elderly people,very little is being done to redeem the problem. It is not too late that the Government, Society and NGOs  take some concrete steps to help the needy elderly parents. These old parents only wish would to die happily and cared! Let our younger generation made to learn to be more greatful and caring to their parents. 
Ramakrishna Addanki