MUSIC OF INDIA
• BASIC FACTS:
– South Asia
– 2nd most populous country in world
– Birthplace of 4 major religions (Hinduism,
Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism)
– Official languages: Hindi, English and 21 other
languages
– Was British colony until independence in 1947
– Over 5,000 years of recorded history
– Largest film industry in the world; great source
of popular music
Indian Music
• Carnatic vs. Hindustani classical traditions
(music and dance)
• Raga and Tala
• Improvisation and Composition
Indian Instruments
SITAR
SAROD
TAMBURA
Indian Instruments
TABLA
MRIDANGAM
Sound Sample
• CD 2/20 “Engal Kalyanam” (Our wedding)
• 1969, from Tamil film
• CD 2/21 “ Devi Niye Tunai”
• Classical song (kriti) by 20th cent. Composer
(singer, mridangam, in Tamil)
• Medium and fast gats (sitar, tabla)
• Ghazal, by Zasar (vocal, tabla) (poetic
form, “light classical music”
Indian Classical Ensemble
RAGA
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Series of pitches
Rules for ornamentation
Rules for ascending
Rules for descending
Associated with mood, time of day and
– North India 200 ragas
– South India 72 main, several secondary
Raga Basant
TALA
• Fixed metrical cycle consisting of shorter
units, often of unequal length
• Basis for improvisation for soloist and
drummer
• Audience participates by counting time
with hands
Ata Tala
Ata tala 5 + 5 + 2 + 2 = 14 beats
1
2 3 4 5 /6 7 8 9 10/11 12 /13 14//
Clap *
*
*
*
Clap *
*
*
* Clap Wave Clap Wave
Tintal: 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 16
Clap 234/ clap 234 /wave234 /clap234
Sound example: “Medium and fast gats in raga
Yaman and tintal” EXC CD 1/1
The Kriti
• Most well known form of Carnatic music
• Originally vocal with religious texts
• Modern kriti repertoire composed in 18th-19th
cents.
Saint Tyagaraja (1757-1847)
Kriti Structure
• Alapana (improvised opening, introduces
the raga)
• 3 sections (no breaks):
– Pallavi: opening section and “refrain”
– Anupallavi: introduces secondary theme,
moves towards climax
– Caranam: final section (may be relaxed or
may be virtuosic restatement of previous
material)
“Banturiti” by Tyagaraja
• Voice, violin, mridingam
• Raga: Hamsanadam (c e f# g b)
• Adi Tala (4 + 2 + 2)
• Clap 2 3 4 / clap wave /clap wave
“Devi Niye Tunai” by Papanasam
Sivan (20th cent.)
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Voice, mridangam
Raga: Keervani
Tala: Adi Tala (4 + 2 + 2)
To the goddess Devi (with the fishshaped/always open eyes)
Sarasiruha
Pallavi: “O Mother who loves the
lotus seat,”
Anupallavi: “Save me who have
taken refuge in you!”
Charanam: “Complete Being, who
holds a book in her hand which
bestows all dominion.”
“Sarasiruha” by Pulaiyar Doraismy
(19th cent.)
• Instrumental but based on song with
words
• Vina, mridangam
• Raga Natai: ancient raga associated with
god Shiva in form of Lord of the Dance
• Adi Tala
• Alapana/Tanam//Pallavi/Anupallavi/
Caranam
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