maya malavagoula

This is for general discussions of Indian music and dance.

Moderators: povster, s1owpoke, cabernethy, coughcapkittykat

sung
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:06 pm

maya malavagoula

Post by sung » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:50 pm

Dear all,

When one starts to take lessons in carnatic music, maya malavagoula raga is used for initial swara practices.

I think the reason the initial swara practices are given in this raga has to do with the fact that the swaras (S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2) follow the pattern, 1 3 1 2 1 3 1 (namely 1 half step, 3 half steps, 1 half step, etc.).

However, this raga does not appear to be a popular one and the students are not taught any songs later in this raga. Is the choice of this raga for initial lessons a basic flaw (given that there are basically no songs taught later)? Or, are there any stronger reasons for its choice for initial swara practices?

Thank you in advance.

User avatar
ragamala
Posts: 1730
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:37 am
Location: UK?ITALY/INDIA
Contact:

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by ragamala » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:07 pm

sung wrote:Dear all,

When one starts to take lessons in carnatic music, maya malavagoula raga is used for initial swara practices.

I think the reason the initial swara practices are given in this raga has to do with the fact that the swaras (S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2) follow the pattern, 1 3 1 2 1 3 1 (namely 1 half step, 3 half steps, 1 half step, etc.).

However, this raga does not appear to be a popular one and the students are not taught any songs later in this raga. Is the choice of this raga for initial lessons a basic flaw (given that there are basically no songs taught later)? Or, are there any stronger reasons for its choice for initial swara practices?
I know next to zilch about carnatic, I enjoy, thoroughly, listening to carnatic performances although I have to close my mind and just enjoy the music. Hindustani is more than enough for me to try and understand...

Having said that I think that's an interesting question, because the hindustani raga with corresponding intervals and scale would be Bhairav.

Bhairav was certainly the first raga that I was taught on sarangi. I don't know the reason why, this may also be standard for sarangi learning because by its intervals it challenges the beginner, once you have mastered the Bhairav scale you can fairly easily assimilate using varied finger positions for other scales, in my experience. The first finger position helps you realise fairly quickly the basic hand positioning at the top of the sarangi, and the komal dha and the leap to ni get that third finger working (as I was taught). So I can see some logic on sarangi.

But I haven't heard of a vocalist being given Bhairav as a first exercise, so maybe that is just coincidence.

A bit sad if you start out on practising maya malavagoula scales then find no more ragas to extend your knowledge on...

CarnaticConnection
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:55 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by CarnaticConnection » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:27 pm

I don't really know anything about carnatic music either, but to shed some light on the "why" for choosing a beginning raga, it may have to do with the time of day. Some teachers will choose a raga based on the time of day that they teach the student. For example, bhairav may be used for morning students, and multani or bhimpalasi in the afternoon. I know that's not always how it works, but sometimes this is taken into consideration. Just my two cents.

sung
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:06 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by sung » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:18 pm

CarnaticConnection wrote:I don't really know anything about carnatic music either, but to shed some light on the "why" for choosing a beginning raga, it may have to do with the time of day. Some teachers will choose a raga based on the time of day that they teach the student. For example, bhairav may be used for morning students, and multani or bhimpalasi in the afternoon. I know that's not always how it works, but sometimes this is taken into consideration. Just my two cents.
Well, in Carnatic tradition, to my knowledge, there is no concept of a connection between a raga and the time of the day or the season of the year (as it happens to be the case in Hindustani). So, I really think this cannot be the reason.

why
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:47 am

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by why » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:14 pm

It has to do with distance between the notes on the particular set of steps. Great practice..
No expert on the Souths genius in Music either... Its funny Ikram Bhai is always making some joke about how "Carnatac" or Dangerous South Indian Musicians are. He means if Music were actual WARFARE in which the strongest best prepared side wins ~ they destroy most everyone here. When it comes to sheer technical wizardly and a VERY STRICT style and practice regime ~ well the South Indian Musicians kinda have that.

Back to the topic. They start tough. Distance in between the notes is a main reason

User avatar
ragamala
Posts: 1730
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:37 am
Location: UK?ITALY/INDIA
Contact:

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by ragamala » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:33 pm

CarnaticConnection wrote:I don't really know anything about carnatic music either, but to shed some light on the "why" for choosing a beginning raga, it may have to do with the time of day. Some teachers will choose a raga based on the time of day that they teach the student. For example, bhairav may be used for morning students, and multani or bhimpalasi in the afternoon. I know that's not always how it works, but sometimes this is taken into consideration. Just my two cents.
I read something just recently that made me think about this more. And which corresponds with this suggestion.

In the book "The Lost World of Hindustani Music" Kumar Prasad Mukherji said that of some 50 vocalists he'd raised the issue with, almost all of them said they had started learning Yaman and Bhairav. I can't find the exact quote right now, but that's the gist.

This is very interesting, precisely because it overturns my ideas of sitar and sarangi having different starting points, for differing instrumental reasons, it is and was there in vocal music. Little to do maybe with intervals.

As you say , CC, this has everything to do with the fact that people were trained on a morning and an evening raga.

jaan e kharabat
Posts: 1401
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:26 am
Location: australia

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by jaan e kharabat » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:26 pm

What is missing is in-depth documentation of the syllabus for a student in paramparaic pedagogy, whether in the Karnatic or Hindustani traditions. All I have come across are hints and broad sweeps in biographical works, such as when the great Bade Ghulam Ali Khan says that he started learning the 12 notes which he managed by such and an age and then was moved on to bandish and ragas, what is not clear is how this was achieved, what were the exercises, whether they were all basic scale based work, paltas etc or was there an early teaching of Raga to accompany them, and if so, which ones (indeed Bhairav and Yaman are traditional 'beginner's ragas" but it is not always clear at what stage they were introduced to the student in the gharanas), and indeed, the philosophies behind the sequence of the various stages and the material to be learned.
If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?

sung
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:06 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by sung » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:52 pm

why wrote: ... They start tough. Distance in between the notes is a main reason
Makes sense to me.

Now, the follow-up question is. After starting it so tough (which is understandable in a way), why is it that no strong focus is placed on this raga (namely maya malavagoula) when it comes to the next stages of geetams, varnams and kirtans? I really wonder why. I believe the masters who set up the system originally had some important reason(s) for this. I really like to know the reason(s), which I have wondered about in a long time.

Thanks in advance for any responses.

why
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:47 am

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by why » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:19 am

I am going to visit someone today whom i hope can answer these fascinating and great queries into the richness of the South Indian Classical Music... Hopefully we get answers and I will video so then you guys will know who it is... There does seem to kinda have to be another reason beside distance ~

Uttara
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by Uttara » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:46 pm

I have written a little bit about this issue here:http://www.likhati.com/2008/12/17/mayam ... mment-5491

There are many geetams taught in Malahari (in fact they are the first geetams taught), which is a janya raga of Mayamalavagaula and quite close to it in feel . Though Carnatic music does not follow a times of the day system for ragas, Malahari is associated with the morning.

Personally, I find it easy to warm up in the morning with the MMG scale and Malahari geetams than with a raga with higher notes, though if you look at what I have written in the link above Mohanam (Bhoop equivalent) is preferred by one guru as the first raga. There have been others who have preferred Shankarabharnam and Kharharapriya...and instrumentalists dont necessarily start with MMG

I suspect the initial geetams are in Malahari and not MMG, just to make them easier, though I may be wrong.

Malahari is an audava-shadava raga ie arohaṇa: S R1 M1 P D1 S avarohaṇa: S D1 P M1 G3 R1 S

why
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:47 am

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by why » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:04 pm

Sorry but What? I really do not understand at all though I am certain it is all accurate... Explain possibly?
Anand

Uttara
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by Uttara » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:52 pm

Anand are you addressing me? I am assuming you are.

The scale of the Raga Mayamalagaula is often taught first to students of Carnatic vocal music.

The reasons adduced for why Mayamalavagaula is taught first I have written about here: http://www.likhati.com/2008/12/17/mayam ... er-ragams/

Some other teachers prefer using ragas like Mohanam, Shankarabharnam and Kharharapriya

Geetams are small, simple compositions taught to beginners. There are no geetams in Mayamalavagaula, but the first few geetams one is taught are in the raga Malahari which in the classification scheme of Carnatic ragas, called the melakarta system, is a "janya" or baby raga of Mayamalavagaula. The melakarta scheme classifies ragas under "parent" (mela ragas) and One could say perhaps that Malahari belongs to the Mayamalavagaula "thaat."

While MMG has all seven notes, Malahari has five in the ascent and and 6 in the descent.

sung
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:06 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by sung » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:58 pm

Uttara wrote: The reasons adduced for why Mayamalavagaula is taught first I have written about here: http://www.likhati.com/2008/12/17/mayam ... er-ragams/.
Uttara, it is a nice compilation. Thank you.

I would like to make some observations on the five reasons listed.

The first reason says that mayamalavagaula is a melakarta. This is obviously not a strong reason, because there are 71 other melakartas and a choice of any of them is equally valid.

The second reason says that mayamalavagaula does not have dual swarasthanas. It is true it doesn't. But, can you please explain further in what ways this helps a beginner? I am very eager to know. And, what are the disadvantages associated with learning the dual swarasthanas in the very beginning? I am not questioning this proposition. I am just not able to imagine the possibilities and I like to know what they are.

The third reason points to the symmetry of the tetrachords. Of course, in my original post I pointed to this symmetry. Yet, I am not too clear on its advantages for a beginner. I would appreciate if you can explain this also.

I assume reason 4 is more significant than reason 3 (since, I think, reason 4 leads to the symmetry pointed out in reason 3). I personally feel this might be the major reason why this raga was originally chosen. But, according to Smt Seetha Rajan this seems to be a major disadvantage of this choice. I don't know what to say.

Again, reason 5 does not seem to make mayamalavagaula a unique choice. 32 out of the 72 melakartas do not have vivadi swaras. So, a choice of any of the 32 is obviously equally valid.

And, a related question that seems to arise is: are the 5 advantages strong enough to more than compensate for the disadvantage of not having geetams, varnams and kirtans in mayamalavaguala itself (I understand there are geetams in the janya raga of malahari)?

Thank you in advance.

Uttara
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by Uttara » Sat May 01, 2010 4:29 pm

Hi Sung,

I too don't think that being a melakarta is enough. I think the fact that it is a melakarta along with the other reasons that are given may have made it preferable for beginners. A reason that isn't mentioned, but one I feel is important, is that MMG is easy to sing in the morning. Personally, I find it easier than Mohanam to "open the throat."

Though Carnatic musicians don't tend to follow the time theory of ragas, I have heard it mentioned that MMg is a "morning" raga.

Learning a ragam with dual swarasthanas right at the beginning would be confusing. I know I would have found it confusing. The names of the notes in the Carnatic system and their classification can be a little difficult to remember(I have talked about them here: http://www.likhati.com/2010/04/25/intro ... es/)...and some of the notes overlap. The overlap is what is referred to as "dual swarasthanas" i.e. some notes have double names. It's just simply easier to learn about these placements gradually and not have to remember that R2=G1etc

I agree-other ragas too don't have vivadi swaras-however again, I suspect this too must be taken with the other reasons. Must be remembered here that MMG is considered "auspicious."

As for geetams not being in MMG, it may have been considered too "tough" a raga for geetams (I am just guessing), or maybe its just to give one a break from it! Because when one is learning geetams, one does continue practicing the MMG exercises, so its not that one gives up on it at that stage. There is certainly a varnam in MMG and there are many kritis.

On the question of the tetrachords and symmetry-I'm sorry I'm not able to explain this very well, but the symmetry has helped me. it's helpful for a beginner to get the feel of the "shape" of a scale easily in the brain.A picture of it forms in your mind and its a nice even one! This, along with the fact that the notes neatly pair up does help. I know Seetha Rajan doesn't agree!

Maybe for young and very young students Mohanam is indeed a better ragam to start with, and maybe I prefer MMG because I started with that. But small geetams and shlokams in Mohanam are taught to those who have started with MMG as well-side by side, not every teacher waits til you have MMG absolutely perfect.

Finally, MMG has a lot of janya ragas, and perhaps it is later easier to learn them, by virtue of having learnt MMG first. Malahari itself, is very like MMG.

If I find more answers (as some of mine are clearly guesswork) I will come back to you.

sung
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:06 pm

Re: maya malavagoula

Post by sung » Tue May 04, 2010 3:10 am

Uttara wrote:Hi Sung,

I too don't think that being a melakarta is enough. ... If I find more answers (as some of mine are clearly guesswork) I will come back to you.
Hello Uttara,

I really appreciate your genuine response. Thank you very much. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest