Changing Sa's revisited

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ragamala
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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by ragamala » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:56 am

In the light of the new info here, received (although second-hand) from the Bahauddin Dagar video, I've had another attempt to understand the shifting sa.

In doing so I revisited
http://www.dhrupad.info/article2.htm
and
http://www.dhrupad.info/article4.pdf

articles by Ashish Sankrityayan.

also the last long discussion here, and eg
http://www.dhrupad.org/article.htm
which although less helpful in explanation, now seemed consistent with the first two references.

My understanding now goes like this. Hopefully I am now a lot clearer than before and will remain so. But feel free to bamboozle me again.

-----------------------------

Sa has seven specific microtonal variations which are employed to help establish the mood of a raga.
The other notes also move with sa and retain a "consonance" with it, (ie their "normal" relationship with it).

The mood of the raga is established by the interaction of all these notes with the set and non-moving sa which is fixed by the tanpura drone, specifically by the tuning of the middle two strings of the tanpura.

The tuning of the tanpura is also effective on its own in producing the swarup of the raga.

The sa moves upwards as the day progresses.

-----------------------------

All well and good, relatively straightforward now as a theory, but some niggling questions remain.

For example-

1. How exactly is the fine tuning of the tanpura achieved to generated the required overtones to be consonant with the notes of the raga to be sung, ie establish its swarup through the tanpura tuning alone? Does this depend on the tuning of the first and fourth strings, or minute bead/thread changes including of the middle two sa strings?

2. How is the swarup recognition achieved on the been without tanpura?

3. If the sa goes up as the day progresses how come Marwa has a high re and Puria (a little later) a low one?

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by beenkar » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:46 pm

Well my take on it is this -

The confusion arises because we omit the distinction between the 'Swara' and 'Sruti'.

I have heard exactly the identical views regarding 7 srutis/shades for every note from Chote Ustad.

Now in the video clip Bahauddin puts the finger on the fixed Sa fret and uses pressure of finger and pull at the same time to add extra tension on the string to increase the frequency of the sound minutely. So, if his Rudra Veena is tuned to G sharp that is around 415.30 Hz , then according to this view the seven shades would be around 418 , 423, 427, 432,436, 440 HZ.. till he reaches the komal rishabh.

His assertion that as the result of above the Todi Sa is a microtone 'more' when used in Todi ( say 418 Hz ) creates a little confusion because it appears that we are speaking of Shadaj 'Swara' as if it is almost the same entity as the 'Sruti' of 418 Hz and are treating the two notions being at par and on the same footing.

Now, as per Sarangadeva Swaras are DERIVED from Shrutis. Shrutis can be 'fixed' frequencies but NOT Swaras. Swaras are 'derivatives' of shruti-usage. Once we are clear about the distinction we discard the view that there is nothing called a 'fixed' frequency of a 'Swara' . Because Swara is a usage of Srutis and can be a range of frequencies.

This is so clear from the fact that he pulls the string at Sa tuned to G# in order to play a range of subnotes from 415.30 Hz to 418 Hz while asserting that he is playing the shadaj SWARA of Todi. He is correct is application because he plays the Shadaj of Todi NOT as a fixed note at 415.30 Hz but a RANGE OF NOTES between 415.30 Hz-418 Hz.
But, in my opinion he has not clearly expressed in words what he correctly played.

therefore, my opinion is that Swaras of a Raga are "RANGES OF FREQUENCIES" and are derived from Sruti though varying usages.

The Shadaja swara of two Ragas like Todi or M"arwa are different because of different "usage" of Shrutis and not because the Swaras are higher or lower.


Finally, he is saying that we need to look at the instruments like tanpura to see how the notes employed in the raga during in the 24 hour cycle. As the temperature rises during the day the instruments' vibrational mode gets altered because of temperature. So, when we play a wooden musical instrument during morning and during afternoon the swaras like Sa and other notes are brighter because of the altered vibrational modes of the instruments. Especially in case of tabli-instruments you can notice that during the day time the sound becomes brighter because the tabli gets affected by the rise in temperature. Thus, the notes have a brighter shade for the daytime ragas like Bilawal , sarang and duller shade for the night and evening ragas. This is perfectly fine and I am also of the same opinion.
रंग भरयौ मुसकात लला निकस्यौ कल कुंजन ते सुखदाई
टूटि गयो घर को सब बंधन छूटि गौ आरज- लाज- बड़ाई

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:44 pm

It still doesn't make any sense.
If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by beenkar » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:30 pm

what does not make sense?
रंग भरयौ मुसकात लला निकस्यौ कल कुंजन ते सुखदाई
टूटि गयो घर को सब बंधन छूटि गौ आरज- लाज- बड़ाई

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by westsea » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:22 am

I found Bahauddin's workshop discussion fascinating.

I came across something today, that really seems to connect with this discussion.
--------
http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classe ... ectra.html

The first person to realize that white light was made up of the colors of the rainbow was Isaac Newton, who in 1666 passed sunlight through a narrow slit, then a prism, to project the colored spectrum on to a wall. This effect had been noticed previously, of course, not least in the sky, but previous attempts to explain it, by Descartes and others, had suggested that the white light became colored when it was refracted, the color depending on the angle of refraction. Newton clarified the situation by using a second prism to reconstitute the white light, making much more plausible the idea that the white light was composed of the separate colors. He then took a monochromatic component from the spectrum generated by one prism and passed it through a second prism, establishing that no further colors were generated. That is, light of a single color did not change color on refraction. He concluded that white light was made up of all the colors of the rainbow, and that on passing through a prism, these different colors were refracted through slightly different angles, thus separating them into the observed spectrum.

In 1752, the Scottish physicist Thomas Melvill discovered that putting different substances in flames, and passing the light through a prism, gave differently patterned spectra. Ordinary table salt, for example, generated a "bright yellow".
Furthermore, not all the colors of the rainbow appeared - there were dark gaps in the spectrum, in fact for some materials there were just a few patches of light. By the 1820's, Herschel had recognized that spectra provided an excellent way to detect and identify small quantities of an element in a powder put into a flame.

Meanwhile, the white light of the sun was coming in for more detailed scrutiny. In 1802, William Wollaston in England had discovered (perhaps by using a thinner slit or a better prism) that in fact the solar spectrum itself had tiny gaps - there were many thin dark lines in the rainbow of colors. These were investigated much more systematically by Joseph von
Fraunhofer, beginning in 1814. He increased the dispersion by using more than one prism. He found an "almost countless number" of lines. He labeled the strongest dark lines A, B, C, D, etc.

--------
Image

I started thinking about this, in relation to this topic. It all seems co-related.
A raga is an element, with unique properties.

Where the vibration frequencies of one "raga element's" properties occur, are different and unique from where the vibration frequencies of a different "raga element's" spectrum. The "Fraunhofer lines" of one "raga element" are different than the "Fraunhofer lines" of another "raga element".

I'm not sure that by raising the property of Sa, in a particular "raga element", by a certain frequency, requires raising the other frequency properties by an equal amount.
In fact, I would suspect it would not. When looking at spectrums and graphs of light and color, these properties do not seem have to have a fixed correspondence between each other.

Beenkar's comment,
therefore, my opinion is that Swaras of a Raga are "RANGES OF FREQUENCIES" and are derived from Sruti
though varying usages.
seems to agree with this theory.

Beenkar's further comments,
Finally, he is saying that we need to look at the instruments like tanpura to see how the notes employed in the raga during in the 24 hour cycle. As the temperature rises during the day the instruments' vibrational mode gets altered because of temperature. So, when we play a wooden musical instrument during morning and during afternoon the swaras like Sa and other notes are brighter because of the altered vibrational modes of the instruments. Especially in case of tabli-instruments you can notice that during the day time the sound becomes brighter because the tabli gets affected by the rise in temperature.
Thus, the notes have a brighter shade for the daytime ragas like Bilawal , sarang and duller shade for the night and evening ragas. This is perfectly fine and I am also of the same opinion.
also seems to fit nicely with the findings from spectrums.

Image

Spectrum of a blue sky somewhat close to the horizon pointing east at around 3 or 4 pm on a clear day.

Thomas Marcotty, in "The Way Music - How to conjure with sounds - Rudra Veena: The Theory and Technique of Tantric Music", discusses "The Light-Wave-Formation" and "The Sound-Wave-Formation". It all ties in.

I think these "shades" of "raga elements", these "Sound-Wave-Formations" were discovered... no, realized, by the ancient sages and seers. We're fortunate that a select few musical traditions and families have been able to pass this knowledge through the ages.

Listen to the Raag Darbari, by Shamsuddin, here:
http://www.rudraveena.org/shamsuddin.html
Those frequencies are unique to that "raga element".

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by beenkar » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:30 am

Yes, the SPECTRUM notion of a Swara is correct. We can speak of a 'higher' spectrum of a Swara usage or a 'lower' spectrum of a Swara usage. One can understand it better if one is more tuned towards stringed instruments instead of fixed keyboard instruments. As a Veena player or Sitar player one can understand how the spectrum of frequencies come into play in various Ragas. Someone who plays a keyboard instrument can not understand this notion of shifting spectrums of swaras and is more likely to debunk the notion of Swaras having a spectrum.

Srutis are the fundamental atomic units of perceptible sounds. They are theoractical constructs based upon the human perception qualities. Infact that is how the Srutis are defined.
रंग भरयौ मुसकात लला निकस्यौ कल कुंजन ते सुखदाई
टूटि गयो घर को सब बंधन छूटि गौ आरज- लाज- बड़ाई

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by ragamala » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:19 am

westsea wrote:I'm not sure that by raising the property of Sa, in a particular "raga element", by a certain frequency, requires raising the other frequency properties by an equal amount.
In fact, I would suspect it would not. When looking at spectrums and graphs of light and color, these properties do not seem have to have a fixed correspondence between each other.
Thanks, first of all, for the contribution.

My interest has been to understand the theory (and related practice) as expounded by the Dagars and in particular as described by Asish Sankrityayan. Not to pass comment on its validity or to propose alternative theories. So I'll restrict my comment to this, which was a major point I found hard to appreciate in the past.

I think it is fairly obvious from the following -
AS wrote: The concept of the swarup of a raga comes from the fact that the sa is itself a variable and undergoes microtonal shifts from one raga to another. The two centre strings of the tampura establish the sa, and the sa of the raga varies in relation to this. Each raga employs a distinct shade of sa, which uniquely characterises its swarup, and all other notes employed are merely overtones of this sa.
that we are being told about pitch changes of sa between ragas, and that all other notes of the raga sung change correspondingly. This does not mean, of course, that all other notes change by an "equal amount" in terms of frequency. We are talking more about harmonics and overtones, I am not sure how much a light example is comparable.

Also Bahauddin Dagar obviously (I still haven't seen the video) fixes that sa has just seven versions. This rather goes against any continuous spectrum explanation of or comparison with the theory.

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by ragamala » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:36 am

Again, Beenkar, many thanks for your respected contribution to this.
beenkar wrote: Now in the video clip Bahauddin puts the finger on the fixed Sa fret and uses pressure of finger and pull at the same time to add extra tension on the string to increase the frequency of the sound minutely. So, if his Rudra Veena is tuned to G sharp that is around 415.30 Hz , then according to this view the seven shades would be around 418 , 423, 427, 432,436, 440 HZ.. till he reaches the komal rishabh.
As I have said, I am in the unfortunate position of not seeing the video. (In which case, some might say, I should sut up :lol: )
I had assumed that to demonstrate seven varieties of Sa the string was pulled from a lower note eg ni fret, to give microtonal varieties of sa below and above as well as at the tuned sa fret pitch. So I am surprised if all the "seven sas" are at and above the sa fret pitch.


beenkar wrote:
The Shadaja swara of two Ragas like Todi or M"arwa are different because of different "usage" of Shrutis and not because the Swaras are higher or lower.
If I understand you right, this does seem at variance with the position of Ashish Sankrityayan I quoted in the previous post.
beenkar wrote: Finally, he is saying that we need to look at the instruments like tanpura to see how the notes employed in the raga during in the 24 hour cycle. As the temperature rises during the day the instruments' vibrational mode gets altered because of temperature. So, when we play a wooden musical instrument during morning and during afternoon the swaras like Sa and other notes are brighter because of the altered vibrational modes of the instruments. Especially in case of tabli-instruments you can notice that during the day time the sound becomes brighter because the tabli gets affected by the rise in temperature. Thus, the notes have a brighter shade for the daytime ragas like Bilawal , sarang and duller shade for the night and evening ragas. This is perfectly fine and I am also of the same opinion.
OK that makes sense, but not so much when taken within the context of singing dhrupad, when (again with the earlier quote from Ashish S) the sa varies AGAINST the tanpura sa as tuned on the middle two strings, irrespective of whether that tanpura sa is varying because of environmental conditions. And the singer varies his/her sa of the raga against the tanpura pitch.

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by CarnaticConnection » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:45 pm

ragamala wrote:Also Bahauddin Dagar obviously (I still haven't seen the video) fixes that sa has just seven versions. This rather goes against any continuous spectrum explanation of or comparison with the theory.
Well technically there IS a continuous spectrum of sorts. Bahauddin is simply saying that there are seven DISTINGUISHABLE shrutis of Sa. After a certain point, the human ear can't separate the sounds if the frequency change is too little. If you look at the numbers, lets say there's a frequency set that goes between 418-440 hertz, as Beenkar stated. You can technically have an unlimited variation within those set values (418, 418.1, 418.01, 418.000000001, etc...) but the human ear can't hear the differences clearly unless the frequency gap is big enough.

And yes, all seven are ABOVE the Sa.

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by DrKashyap » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:48 pm

What is tuned in tanpura as P,s,s,S - swars or shrutis ?
Is individual string tuned to range of frequencies or fixed frequency ?
Are they tuned subject to perception by human ears or by some alternate means ?

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by panchamkauns » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:39 am

beenkar wrote:Now in the video clip Bahauddin puts the finger on the fixed Sa fret and uses pressure of finger and pull at the same time to add extra tension on the string to increase the frequency of the sound minutely. So, if his Rudra Veena is tuned to G sharp that is around 415.30 Hz , then according to this view the seven shades would be around 418 , 423, 427, 432,436, 440 HZ.. till he reaches the komal rishabh.
Hi, Beenkar.

The highest shade of Sa will be very high. Almost a komal re. Are those really high shades of Sa ever used in the music?
We are 3

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by beenkar » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:19 am

"he highest shade of Sa will be very high. Almost a komal re. Are those really high shades of Sa ever used in the music?"

Once the Spectrum-view of Swaras is accepted then you approach the Sa as a SPECTRUM of frequencies rathar than a fixed frequency.

Then higher Sa is played by adding extra pressure on the Sa fret in an infinitesimal musical movement of what appears like a simple putting of finger on the fret and plucking the string on Sa fret to others.

In this infinitesimal musical activity one plays the entire gamut of frequencies in the higher Sa spectrum and thus playing the 'higher' Sa.

Now, in the ragas where the higher Sa is played like Bhairav, its relative configuration with other Swara-spectrum comes because even Re Swara-spectrum is higher for Bhairav. Infact, the komal-Re Swara-spectrum for Shivmat-Bhairav is so high that is looks like an andolit-Re to komal Gandhara.

If you look at all the good players of sitar or Veena you would find then making those infinetesimal movements on the frets while playing a Swara-spectrum in what appears to a layman like an ordinary movement of putting the finger on the fret and plucking the string.
रंग भरयौ मुसकात लला निकस्यौ कल कुंजन ते सुखदाई
टूटि गयो घर को सब बंधन छूटि गौ आरज- लाज- बड़ाई

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by ragamala » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:32 am

CarnaticConnection wrote:
ragamala wrote:Also Bahauddin Dagar obviously (I still haven't seen the video) fixes that sa has just seven versions. This rather goes against any continuous spectrum explanation of or comparison with the theory.
Well technically there IS a continuous spectrum of sorts. Bahauddin is simply saying that there are seven DISTINGUISHABLE shrutis of Sa. After a certain point, the human ear can't separate the sounds if the frequency change is too little........................

And yes, all seven are ABOVE the Sa.
Thanks for that, CC,

Yes, I should have been clearer in what I wrote in my reply there. I think we all agree on continuity of the sound spectrum - Dagars too, as reading two of the three articles I quoted will confirm. What I am trying to understand is a "shifting sa for beginners" and accept a 7-shades of sa as a basis for that understanding raher than widen the debate to include scientific theory etc which confuses the simpler questions I have on the shifting sa theory and practice.

But from your post arises a pertinent a basic question -

If sa starts from the tanpura sa and only goes upwards, then this is at complete odds with the statement of Ashish in the article 2 I referred to -
AS - article2 wrote:It is the consonance between notes that changes the character of the tonic or the sa, making it either tivrang or komalrang- that is higher or lower. And this changed tonic defines the character of the raga.
Ashish goes on to give examples of lowered notes as being "lajjit" or shy, eg in Puria, and raised in Marwa. And has stated that the komal re in both these ragas is high or low because of the sa itself being high or low.

This had led me to believe that the theory allows for, or demands, the "raga sa" being either higher or lower than the tanpura sa. It does not make sense to me if there is a median sa half way between tanpura sa and tanpura komal re! And higher/lower than tanpura sa makes more sense to me than the possibility of having only a raga sa that can rise almost indistinguishable from a komal re).

Of course Bahauddin just COULD be tuning his been string to 3 of his sas below tanpura sa, to have the played sa on the sa fret played low without pressure or high with pressure but I can't believe this, and I don't think anyone on this board would, so there is a dilemma here. Maybe we will not get a clear answer to this aspect of the theory. Maybe Bahauddin is not explaining a theory but just giving examples of the theory practice. Perhaps there is another batch of low sas in addition to the 7 sas :) !


-------------------------

The other question, which Dr Kashyap has taken up and repeated, is not about the theory but about the practice. How the tanpura tuning is achieved to create a raga's swarup.

Let me rephrase this so it is clearer what I am asking and puzzled about.

IF the middle two sa strings are tuned accurately to the desired "tanpura sa" pitch, are the lower sa and (eg) pancham strings tuned precisely to this same sa or are they tuned slightly differently to achieve the required overtones?

If the first case, (ie all strings tuned accurately to the same pitch and its fifth), then are all strings adjusted until somehow the jawari threads manage to achieve the required result? Produce not only a raised or lower sa shade but the appropriate shades of significant notes of the raga?

Either there is a way of doing this that can be explained, or it's done by a trial-and-error process (combined with experience). I'm curious to know which.

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by ragamala » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:43 am

beenkar wrote:"he highest shade of Sa will be very high. Almost a komal re. Are those really high shades of Sa ever used in the music?"

Once the Spectrum-view of Swaras is accepted then you approach the Sa as a SPECTRUM of frequencies rathar than a fixed frequency.
Thanks beenkar - you'll see from my last post I accept a spectrum of sa. And I can accept even a very high sa almost reaching komal re. BUT I am surprised if that spectrum does not extend below "tanpura sa".

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Re: Changing Sa's revisited

Post by westsea » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:32 pm

ragamala,
What is the answer you are seeking?
Are you wanting to know, in exact Hz, what the ascending and descending
frequencies are, for a particular raag?

My examples of spectrum analysis were not intended to widen the shifting sa debate to include scientific theory. Rather, they were just offering a different way of thinking about the same debate... a visual view.
I think it's all one topic.

You keep bringing things back to Ashish Sankrityayan and his discussions (which are very
good, thank you for reminding us of those articles).
Have you considered contacting him and asking?

I think that's the only way any of us are really going to get this. Go directly to someone
who knows; be able to ask questions and listen to the verbal and musical answers.
Oh, and spend years getting to the point where it actually becomes knowable,
let alone doable.

I thank Bahauddin for stretching the limits of our thinking.

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