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?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?
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.