Basic ICM Concepts

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by povster » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:18 am

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.
...Michael
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Panini - the official bread of ICM

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:44 pm

Let's keep in mind also that Kishori Amonkar often talks major crap and stuff like rasa and other extra-musical values associated with ragas inform our response to the music but shouldn't be taken too literally.
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: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by OM GUY » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:17 pm

jaan e kharabat wrote:Let's keep in mind also that Kishori Amonkar often talks major crap and stuff like rasa and other extra-musical values associated with ragas inform our response to the music but shouldn't be taken too literally.
Please do elaborate, especially that part concerning rasa.. I want to hear more about your concept of this "major crap"...and " extra-musical values".

I often hear the responses one should have, regarding "rasa-s" and the like, so it would be interesting to hear your take on this.
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:18 pm

'Major crap' is not a concept, it's just what she talks a lot of time. For example, you hear her deriding singing of sargam (Atrauli-Jaipur singers don't do sargam) and yet she has done it many a times herself. In the excerpt above she pleas for emotionalism and freedom from performance structures yet it is well known that she's a serial rehearser and plans her concert set meticulously.

I don't understand the second paragraph. What do you mean by 'hear responses one should have'?
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: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by nicneufeld » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:36 am

Pov, your experience with Pt. Gokul Nag strikes a familiar note for me. In my lessons, my Ustad follows a similar pattern (although he is a bit more outgoing/jovial/chatty in general and so it is not quite as quiet and simple an affair). Once we actually enter the meat of the lesson, there is not usually too much talking...just playing and/or singing the notes to me, I play back, he corrects, and we work through raags and compositions that way. I think he sees himself as training players, not pundits, and so to him it is more important for me to develop skill in playing, and then develop intimacy with the raag through playing, rather than be able to discourse at length on the raag. Ie., he is not trying to turn me into an academic ala Mr. Parrikar. Although he does wax eloquent about Malkauns...but how could you not? :D

Sort of like the difference between a sports commentator and a sports player, or an arts critic and an artist...each have their strengths, one is academic and knowledge based, one is applied. Of course some folks have both strengths in full measure but I think this isn't that common. I'll settle for one or both in maybe 1/4 measure ;) someday...

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:55 am

In all the lesson I have had I don't think I've heard the words vadi, samvadi, pakad etc.
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: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by OM GUY » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:27 am

jaan e kharabat wrote:'Major crap' is not a concept, it's just what she talks a lot of time. For example, you hear her deriding singing of sargam (Atrauli-Jaipur singers don't do sargam) and yet she has done it many a times herself. In the excerpt above she pleas for emotionalism and freedom from performance structures yet it is well known that she's a serial rehearser and plans her concert set meticulously.

I don't understand the second paragraph. What do you mean by 'hear responses one should have'?
Well, since you brought up the "major crap" thing, I wanted to hear what you meant, is all.

As far as the second paragraph goes, I wanted your take on rasa, since I've heard that it is a major concept in raga. Often times an artist, such as Pt. Shankar was trying to play raags to make a particular rasa bloom. I didn't know if you agreed with the concept or not.
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:40 am

I think our emotional responses to a piece of music is rather subjective. Broadly speaking, I think some of rasa associations are valid, say how Kedar and Hamir are uplifting and joyous in character whereas Shivranjani and Lalit produce a plaintive, sad sonic ambiance, but I don't think anything is set in stone.

The associations do however add extra layers of depth to the entire experience of the music, be it from a performer or auditor perspective, as the late Pt. Shankar testifies to.
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: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by OM GUY » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:17 am

jaan e kharabat wrote:In all the lesson I have had I don't think I've heard the words vadi, samvadi, pakad etc.
I've heard it many times, even from my very first lessons. My teacher was nice enough to write out the parts (sorry jaan) and then bracket where these were, along with arohi, avrohi, asthai, antara, etc.

Just latched onto a cd-rom called.... "Raga- An interactive Guide Into Indian Classical Music" where it is discussed. It's also discussed in many books.
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:27 am

OM GUY wrote:
jaan e kharabat wrote:In all the lesson I have had I don't think I've heard the words vadi, samvadi, pakad etc.
I've heard it many times, even from my very first lessons. My teacher was nice enough to write out the parts (sorry jaan) and then bracket where these were, along with arohi, avrohi, asthai, antara, etc.

Just latched onto a cd-rom called.... "Raga- An interactive Guide Into Indian Classical Music" where it is discussed. It's also discussed in many books.
I'm aware that they're discussed in various written sources. Heck I may have even learned about them from those sources; it's just that they never came up in actual lessons. Asthai, antara, bandish, sargam, chalan, were often and perhaps you can't really do lessons without recourse to some of these but I don't think they were ever defined. Perhaps my teacher took it for granted that I knew some of these things or felt it was unimportant to expound upon them.
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: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by povster » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:23 am

nicneufeld wrote:Pov, your experience with Pt. Gokul Nag strikes a familiar note for me. In my lessons, my Ustad follows a similar pattern (although he is a bit more outgoing/jovial/chatty in general and so it is not quite as quiet and simple an affair). Once we actually enter the meat of the lesson, there is not usually too much talking...just playing and/or singing the notes to me, I play back, he corrects...
Nic, that is like my lessons with Peter. We have a little talk in the beginning and the end. The lesson itself is pure teacher plays/student copies.

Now Peter could be considered "academic" in that he got his doctorate (Sangitacharya) in music at Prayag Sangit Samiti in Allahabad, where he won Gold and Silver medals in instrumental music. He went on to be the Dean and then Provost of New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He has developed many classes in Indian and Non-Western music there, been president of the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, written numerous papers, delivered numerous lectures etc. His knowledge is vast and he speaks Bengali like a native. When we were in Calcutta, it was VERY funny to see the double-take of the cab drivers, waiters, shopkeepers etc. when he would speak Bengali. Invariably they would say the equivalent of "How the heck are you speaking Bengali like that?"

ANYWAY, when we would have lessons he would speak a bit of what he was teaching. Peter DID introduce to me the ideas of vadi, samvadi, pakar etc. He would not linger on them or make intellectual speeches about them. He was content to introduce the basic concepts and demonstrate them over time from raga to raga, hearkening back to a raga he had taught me and comparing it to the current one. This was, in retrospect, of tremendous help in getting me to understand the basic raga concept. It helped me be more aware of the danger of pulling characteristic phrases from one raga to another raga, and helped me be more aware that there are a core concept for ragas and for each raga.

But overall, our lessons were similar to Gokul Nag's lessons. Like they say on the shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat.
...Michael
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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by Kirya » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:10 am

This is an interesting documentary about Kumar Ghandarve but it is actually much more about the roots of this music and a lot about Kabir and the spirit of enquiry that underlies this music or any deeply serious artistic venture.

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/2833 (It is 96 minutes long)

To me, It suggests that all the talk about raga and even the Guru / Gharana system misses the whole point and "essence" of the intent of this music, where the musician matters very little and where the definitions matter even less.

In this day and age where we have so many people claiming lineage to Tansen maybe it is useful to remember that from the best that we know (and we know that knowledge is a treacherous path) Tansen learnt from a man who is mostly anonymous, and Swami Haridas's teachers remain anonymous to this day, and even Tansen was humbled by a man who was less famous and known (Baiju Bawra)

But these stories are all so mythical that it is hard to say what really happened, though it is much easier to say that maybe it does not matter as much as we often seem to think it does.

The fact that the music is alive and well today is enough, and it will flower in new ways that are still hard to say with the internet and as people from other cultures develop deep insights into the music.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Haridas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baiju_Bawra
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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by Kirya » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:07 pm

This is a very nice set of words that help one communicate what a Raag is from Deepak Raja's blog;

A Raga is a partially precomposed matrix of melodic contours, tight enough to remain recognizable and loose enough to provide substantial creative freedom.

Each Raga justifies itself as performance material because it makes a distinctive emotional statement. It can be described as a psycho acoustic hypothesis which relates qualifying melodic patterns to the associated quality of emotional responses.

At each rendition, a musician works on this hypothesis and deploys his creativity in an attempt to maximize the probability of communicating the associated emotional idea.


Raga-s are not “composed” by any particular musician. Their origins are mostly indeterminate. They evolve over a period of time from a variety of source melodies as plausible triggers for well-defined categories of emotional responses. It is estimated that the melodic grammar of about a 1500 Ragas has been documented. The music-scape of each generation sees some Raga-s coming into circulation, and some going out of fashion. The core of commonly performed ragas remains around 200.
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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by sureshkumar1249 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:45 am

Hello I am Suresh...new to this place...I am a GHAZAL and SUFI fan....i listen to various Indian ghazal singers and sufi singers

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Re: Basic ICM Concepts

Post by OM GUY » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:33 pm

sureshkumar1249 wrote:Hello I am Suresh...new to this place...I am a GHAZAL and SUFI fan....i listen to various Indian ghazal singers and sufi singers
Hari OM! Suresh! Welcome! Have a look around and enjoy!! Sit back and stay.... :D
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!

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