I recently had the opportunity to discuss sound production as a subject with senior indian classical instrumentalists.
I recently read Steve Martin’s autobiography : Born Standing Up
Part philosophical treatise, part how-to guide, it’s a deep dive into how a performance is created-an intersection of art and science, intense honesty and brutal self examination. He delivers an elegant and sophisticated analysis of his journey from Disneyland to sold out shows and hit movies with not a single gripe against anyone, solely focusing on improving his art using audience reaction as his guide. Whether you play classical music or hard rock or dance Bollywood and are serious about your art form, this book delivers invaluable insights.
Key points for me were:
1. A performance requires special planning and treatment, especially if you have a paying audience
2. It takes time to develop your own style – you will inevitably start out with someone else’s material, but with hard work and honesty, you can develop your own
3. This is a long hard slog
4. Complaining about how the world is sabotaging you is probably not a good strategy – no -one owes you a living.
5. Intense and brutal self examination is important, as is the advice of mentors and seniors.
I’ve got the Kalyan work off and running by discussing in brief, the wonderful raga Nand Kalyan…also known simply by its shorter name, Nand, or Anandi….
I’ve recorded and uploaded a new video with a drut teentaal (fast 16 beat) composition in Bhimpalasi to round out the collection…
The video can be seen here:
For details of this composition, please see the Raga Bhimpalasi in the Free Raga Guide:
After Raga Marwa, the next raga is Raga Bhimpalasi, which is equivalent to the raga Aberi/Abheri in the Carnatic system.
I’ve just kicked off the page on this raga, which can be viewed here:
Will continue to add more material on this raga….
I’ve finally managed to get the first full page of the free raga guide up, starting with my current area of study: Raga Marwa
You can find the full text here:
A most pleasing and enjoyable raga, Bihag is at once a very popular and common raga. On the sarod, practically everyone has played this at some time or the other. Associated ragas include: Maru Bihag, Nat Bihag, Hem Bihag and Pat Bihag (I heard the last one once, and have no idea of the repertoire…. will find out if I get the time)….
Bihag, also spelt Behag etc… is a straightforward raga
Aarohan: N(lower) S G M P N S(upper)
Avrohan: S (upper) N P, G M G
Bihag employs both the Major (Shudda) M and Teevra (Sharp) M…
The phrase GMG is a signature of Bihag …..
It evokes feelings of happiness, joy and celebration. According to some musicians (notably Ud Vilayat Khan), this is a raga for weddings.
Here’s a quick compostion in Vilambit Teentaal
Followed by a few compositions in Drut Teentaal (16 beats)
I really should move these to their own page-…
Bihag Jhaptaal composition is still in the works…
(Picture above: my hometown of Varanasi, India, famous for Indian classical music, especially tabla)
Ever wondered what musicians play after the main composition and how it’s structured?
Especially in the slow (vilambit) part of the composition, there are a number of devices and pathways available to the artist.
As a short example, I start with a very standard composition in slow 16 beat cycle in Raga Marwa-(notations provided below)…
The main composition is repeated a few times:
(italics: lower octave) Bold: Upper Octave, lowercase:komal, UPPER CASE: Shuddha
Starts from 12th beat.DD N rr G m D-, D m G r SS, N r N D
It is essential to maintain a very prominent Dha in the lower octave, to bring out Marwa’s mood.
Thereafter, the following expansion pathways are demonstrated:
-Vistaar (expanding upon the notes, with our without metre)
-Aamad: Rhythmic variations
-Bol – Taans with Bols
– Peshkar (rhythmic phrases)
Only a few short samples are provided, and the main composition is played over and over again – but these are just few pathways which can be explored in playing the raga…