Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Mom says further

Now let us see the two styles of Indian Music:

The fundamental definition of music is, ‘svato ranjayati – srotruchittam vahaamyaham. This means: By its very nature it pleases the listener instantly.

Both styles are based on Raga system. Having this as the basic ground we shall see how the differences in the two styles happen. The differences are noticed on the following lines:
1. The Role of Lyrics in the system of Music.
2. The approach to the basic ragas and their janyas.
3. The application of gamakas.
4. The Role of Percussion in each system.
5. The Time Theory and the Rag Bhairavi.
6. The lighter classical forms.
7. The concert pattern.

Without my planning so, there are seven aspects just as seven notes!

Lyrics: The southern music system of today can be traced back to about 65 years as a strong deviation from what it was before. Along with the freedom movement a whole new concert pattern evolved with lyrics and lyrics and lyrics (Sigh..) The creative aspects were on the wane particularly in terms of subtler aspects or aesthetically refined aspects. That was because of a large size of the audience with an aggressive mood of freedom struggle or a temple festival of emotional charge. The leisurely sessions at an enlightened or a critically appreciating audience was on the wane. People were changing, ambience was changing, atmosphere was changing. The purpose and significance of silence was gradually lost. So it was easy to adapt our music to a song orientation to set patterns and plans. The natural flow and the expansiveness of the canvas is lost.

In the case of the northern system, when the dhrupad transformed to Khayal singing, it became a welcome transition. Ghazals originally was not of a mundane type. They were love poetries addressed to God. This is exactly what we call as Madhura Bhakti as portrayed by Andal or Mira or Jayadeva or Krishna Chaitanya. All of them stirred the heart, churned your soul to take you ultimately to Him. Be it Krishna or Allah. This way we have more relevance and relatability with Mughals art and culture, and precisely the reason why we should forget language and religious barriers and simply drop into the nectar of pure music and devotion.

You can not deny the fact that the Mughals were and are endowed with a great sense of appreciation for aesthetics and niceties. While I write this a friend of mine sitting next to me says I should add “in ruthlessness also”.

There is something India had been proud about which I want to remind about. It is its ethos. The Hindu (The knowledge) system recognizes only the positive approach in documentation and research. Therefore the last adjective can be ignored as not relevant and out of place. That’s how the main priest of Rameshwaram Temple and Honourable Mr. Kalam’s father could be the best of comrades and the Ramanathapuram district still enjoys this Hindu Muslim camaraderie. That is how Bismillah Khan Saheb and his clan are associated with the Benares Hindu Temples. The two most important worship places are indicating as to what exactly we should do. But somewhere the calculations are going wrong. Kanakku Thapparadu.

Now coming back to the point, it is the supreme sense of aesthetic appreciation in the Mughals which made the transition of the Dhrupad to Khayal. The Mughals who were used to the soul stirring music replete with bhava wanted that Sukhanubhavam in the music of India too. Therefore the more technique oriented dhrupad moved to a more lilting and enratpturing Khayal form. Too many adjectives no! Ya. If you had been soaked in the enjoyment of Khayal music, you are also generous with your adjectives.

So practically speaking, the Mughals brought forth an elemental change to the music of the north and not a change in the music itself.

The lyrical content is very less to the extent that it is negligible. It is the artistry and the imaginary vision that is expressed and explored in each musicians raag. Therefore never is a raga tiresome, even from the same musician.

Now the rest in a later Blog.


Baabooo... said...

Hi, am following your blog closely from the start.. why is it now there is a drought in articles.. I know you love music.. but why is it that all your recent posts are only regarding music.. a lot of technical stuff.. get back to your usual ways.. keep up the good work.. keep blogging.. cheers.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Hi Baaboo..
Its not just that I love music. Anyone can love music adore music whatever. I live music. Rather I am trying to live music. On the path I would say. Learning. People in the first place read my blogs because I am a musician. A singer. Chinmayi - The singer. I would be a nobody if not for my music that has been imparted to me. There aren't many blogs which cater to , answer questions the way it is done here. This is unique. Since it is not my cup of tea to answer technical questions regarding music, My Guru and mother, Padmasani comes in to answer them. And as of now I think more than the usual mundane stuff, about how I woke up and ate and drive my car and what went wrong with it, I think this is a more constructive way to use my space on the web. And this way, voila, I learn too. I hope I have answered your question, and wotsay to this people??

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
B said...


What you say is true. I guess since blogging is still a new thing for some might be interesting to peep into others lives. But in the end, what distinguishes oneself is not how well we can ramble on mundane stuff..but how one can raise above the situation. I think it will be interesting to know more about your work and people you work with along with your thoughts on other relevant stuff.

I started reading your blog since it was referred in the context of the Italy concert (I am an IR guy).

Arvind Srinivasan said...

The 'role' of lyrics has been brought out of wonderfully well. So has been the advent and the extent of change in Indian music vis-a-vis the mughal invasion. Can't wait to read the rest of the series :-)

As to what topics the blog (sh)would be about.... well, music is definitely on all of our minds i guess. But once again, a journal of celebrities would also be equally lapped up by a section of audience i guess.

My vote goes to music, anytime :-)

Gangadhar said...

Exactly,Chinmayi..I agree wid you..
Music or the expression of music comes from deep within the individual artist. Shaped by experience, beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and inspiration, the music created captures the essence of the musician's soul. It is the musician's ultimate desire to communicate – perhaps to entertain – while speaking to the needs of the listener. This is a musician's purpose..Am I off the track?

Ganesh said...


Its rare and so noble of someone to take pains to explain the greatness of Indian music, my sincere thanks to you and your mom Padmasaniji.

To me music is not just for sense gratification, but a means of reaching Supreme being. A tapasya and Nadopasana.

I have now started listening more to Hindustani, my favourite singer is Sri Mala Gangulyji.
Have you listened to her ?

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

PADMASANI SAYS: Dear baaboo, I exactly thought about readers like you and was hesitant about writing in this column and only once I wrote and kept away. The persistence from Arvind and a few more at her gmail and yahoo account made me choose to write again. And Chinmayi is pre-occupied with an important project right now. To fill the empty space something worthwhile was done. There is nothing very technical there. Its a simple layman stuff written there. And these extracts are snipped from my writings. They are modified to suit the blog readers. Every such post is edited by Chinmayi which makes it compulsory to read and learn so that she can know what is going in her blog and answer too if necessary. She will of course write your types also but you cant expect events to take place every day in a person's life:))

DeaK.In.FroSt said...

hi chinmayi can your share your experience singing for Rahman in mangal pandey-the rising...thanks