Kirya wrote:Sometimes things are difficult to define without reducing them to something much lesser. Maybe we need to be wary of the need to define -- I wonder why we have to define things?
This makes a lot of sense to me. Definitions are created to have a common ground on which to converse, write, communicate etc. A problem with definitions is that they can be confused with that which they seek to define. Does anyone actually believe, after understanding raga, that verbal explanations can convey it?
With ICM, there are some definitions I know. Things like vadi, samvadi, aroha, avaroha, murki, alap, bandesh, drut, komal, tivra, taal, bol etc etc.
When I sat ((and still plan to sit) before my teacher, he may explain a few basic ideas of a particular raga: the scale(s), vadi, samvadi, etc. Then the mimicry or copying of what the teacher is playing begins. Over and over and over. THEN there are two main concepts used: "yes" or "no" - you got it or you did not get it.
When I took lessons with my teacher's teacher, Gokul Nag, things went invariably like this:
I would enter his home and be greeted by Gokul Nag. I would greet him in return. He would say to me "Tea? Biscuit?". I would smile, nod, sit and have some tea and biscuits (always rather tasty). Then he would lead me into his music room and gesture me to sit. I would sit. He would say the name of a raga. I would nod. He played a phrase or a scale etc. I repeated. Many times. Sometimes he would say "yes". More often he would say "no" and repeat it. On occasion he would use a hand gesture for emphasis.
He could have sat there all day long and made quite verbose explanations of concepts, principals, etc. But he didn't. The lessons I got from him contained literally only the words "namaste, tea, biscuit, yes, no, a raga name". And then phrases to copy. What I took away from those lessons was far and away more impacting to my progression and understanding of raga than if I had just sat there and listened to speech upon speech about the various aspects of the raga.
One simply cannot learn what a raga is by words and definitions. One can read books and web sites site day in and day out, but without the many examples of various musicians, actually performing a raga, the words convey only the intellectual. And, to me, to my training and understanding, a raga is really NOT an intellectual entity.