Friday, July 08, 2005

My Mom Padmasani writes the following:

Arvind, I had written extensively about the Hindustani and Karnatak systems for this blog, but unfortunately the whole thing was lost as an unsaved document due to some error and I lost interest in redoing it. Because seldom does it come out as the same. Since you are not forgetting it, let me try again. By the by I am too small a person to give any verdict on Hindusthani vs Karnatak.

Hindusthani Music and Karnatak Music systems an Analysis

This is exclusively my view on the History of Indian Music after sustained research for so many years. It is time that we understand the core India and its ethos and unite together as Bharatvasis than fragmenting ourselves on a hundred thousand issues. It is time that we appreciate anything which is nice for the sake of its being nice rather than this vs. that or that vs. this. -Padmasani

Before going into the study let us know the meaning of these two very Indian terminologies.

Hindu means the knowledge system that prevailed in India. Sthan means the place. So Hindusthani Music means the music of the place where the Hindu system of knowledge prevailed.

And Karnataka can be interpreted at least in two different ways. a) Karnataka means of the people and the country they inhabit. b) Karna means ear and the old. Ataka means, that of the teacher- which means the karnaparampara or the aural tradition handed down from guru to pupil as an unhindered chain.

When the western authors like Day or Popley interpreted our music they called the music of the south as that which prevailed in the Deccan plateau. Unfortunately the sons of our soil prefer to go by the western authors on our music rather than probe the simple meaning from a Sanskrit dictionary. J

Anyway if you probe History there were only two distinct writers in Indian Music who could be traced as the earliest. They were Bharata and his Natyashastra and Ilango Adigalar who wrote the Silappadikaram. Both wrote amazing details about music and dance. Ilango also relates astrology with music. It is interesting to know that a man from a Royal Kingdom from the extreme south and a man from the extreme north have thought on identical lines. To them both, music was an umbrella term encompassing drama, dance and music. Anyway that shows the Aryan and the Dravidian cultural heritages as highly evolved. By and by the Dravidian tradition of the south was swallowed by the advent of Naik and Marattha Kingdoms. The dominant Telugu and Marathi literature and art forms took sway with which the music of the south also took a tumultuous turn. The Tamil music was replaced by the Aryan form with the Kannada, Telugu and Marathi regional musical and linguistic influence.

The north was no exception to this change. The Mughals brought a fair deal of influence of their own over our music. While the classical art form remained more or less the same, there were other forms like ghazals etc. which came into vogue. North also moved from Dhrupad to Khayal over the period of time. But it retained the originals intact. The music was intact in terms of predominantly creative and not set music.

To trace the textual origin, between Bharata (Natyashastra) and Sarngadeva (Sangita Ratnakara) the music was one Indian Music. By and by the bifurcation started to take place into two different styles of music. While the North retained the original Hindu Music which is raga oriented, the south adapted itself to a confluence of more than one regional influence. Now the music of the south was more lyrically emphatic and descriptive of a theme or subject. It is because the Harikatha was a famous musico-discourse form; the Bhajana Paddati with Radha Kalyana Mahotsav was of a thematic nature. The Kriti form itself served a multipurpose of being used in the above art forms than sailing as a pure musical entity. But one can not refuse that the Kriti form has served as archives of southern raga format. The kriti pool in each raga consolidates the scope of that raga under grammatical peripheries and aesthetic exuberances.

This will be evident if you would analyse the Dhrupad and the Ragam Tanam and Pallavi forms. They are similar.

In dhrupad style the tanam singing is kept alive and the pakhavaj almost equal to our mrdangam was the percussion accompaniment. Khayal is a form with akar alap and tan developed into a more attractive form with tabla as accompaniment.

This much on the short historical side of the two styles of Indian Music. The rest in a later blog.


Anitha Mani said...

Man, i was about to tell you that why can't you write about hindustani and Karnatic and today you wrote it. Thats really nice!! :).

yeah, as you said you don't have to say Hindustani Vs Karnatic, cause both are sweet in there own ways and there's not comparision for it.

I think, this would be a great knowledge sharing for guys like us who just have a birds eye view about music.

I really want to appriciate about you voice. You are too good !!!!

May be you can call yourself "Innaiilla Chinmayi".

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Anitha It is written by my Mom Padmasani. She also signs so. All articles on music is written by her.

Arvind Srinivasan said...


Please convey my thanks to your mom for patiently responding to my nags ;) Eagerly awaiting the other parts :-)

Ganesh said...

Thanks to your mom.
I was about to write to you on this,
I will link this article in my tamil blog
where I am comparing similar ragas in both carnatic and hinudstani .
This is great!!
BTW have a question
Do you know Indu (Indu from Jaya TV) ?

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Yup I do Ganesh

Anitha Mani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anitha Mani said...

Is there any way you could post your songs on the net, specially your songs in Serial(Sarada, maraka mudiyu) ?

When you sing a song for a movie or classical which plays the important role? the ragam or the lyrics. do you feel the songs by the depth of the lyrics or swaras

Ganesh said...

so you know Indu :)
she is my friend as well wife of my best friend Maha.
Just yesterday I was talking about a new album I am planning and mentioned about you and your blog to them.
small world indeed

Vijay said...

Thanks for posting this writeup.Expecting more from your mother.

Chinmayi, if you find the time and would'nt mind the strain, please consider my request from few weeks back of writing your experiences in working with music directors like say Rahman, how they communicate tunes to you(like say the humming in "ennuyir thozhiye", how much you had to improvise and in general the challenges and experiences involved in recording the songs. Any one song like say Ennuyir thozhiye can be taken up for writing this.Later, you can also briefly compare and contrast the working methods of music directors if you dont mind it. Thanks in advance :-)

Chez said...

Whoa! Interesting read Jimmy, Thanks to ur mom for the wonderful enlightening...

PreethZzZ The Original said...

hey chinmayi,

say a big thanks to ur mom for writing so much about music. it was a very interesting read, and i have never actually read about music that way before!

i thoroughly enjoyed reading about both types of music although i have not heard so much hindustani before. my patti was an excellent carnatic singer and recevied prizes from Mahatma Gandhi for her singing. and also my mom and aunt sing and teach carnatic.

chinmayi, when u record a song... what do the music directors tell you? like they want the song sung in a particular way. do they sing a bit and show u the way it has to be sung or do they just say they want it it a particular way and make u interpret wat they are saying? if u get what i mean...

thanks again to ur mom!

indolentcreature said...

elegant post chinmayi. i dont have much to say abt the origin of music/musical terminology, as i'm quite the ignoramus :) . But have to say, I feel like picking up my violin and practising some krithis on it. Have to renew the musical pursuits.

IBH said...

Wow! wonderfully written...

what a wonderful duo u and ur mom...
how long have u been learning music?what forms other thancarnatic do u listen and know?

Unknown said...

That was a great post. Thanks to ur mom.

Neways, Chinmayi, do u do classical concerts ??

Gangadhar said...

thanks from my side to your Mom...very interesting!!

Desi@Heart said...

Hello Chinmayi,

I happened to stumble upon this blog. The article on Hindustani/Carnatic music is very informative.

I would like to add my two cents on the topic: If not for the millennium-long influence of Muslim rule, all of India would probably have had the same kind of music.

I am not too much of a music enthusiast, but I know that Hindustani music has deep influences from Persian/Arabic music. Despite that, Indian music in general shares the same system of raga, taal etc.

The problem with us Indians is our total lack of respect for our own history. Sadly, almost all of our history is written by outsiders.

Snowbeak said...

Hey! Totally irrelevant to the post, but have to tell you, thats one pretty photograph :)

Teshu said...

Is this article copyright protected? :) Can I cut and paste it in my blog too with due reverence to your Ma?