Saturday, November 13, 2010

North Indian vocalist Dr. Laxmi Ganesh Tewari

I went to hear Tewariji sing tonight. It was great to see him after a long time!


I was privileged to study with him during the late seventies/early eighties.

Laxmi G. Tewari performing, February 2007, photograph by Linnea Mullins

Pandit Laxmi Ganesh Tewari is a renowned Hindustani vocalist from India. He is an exponent of the Gwalior gharana (tradition) of vocal music. After studying with Dr. Lalmani Misra at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, he pursued education and teaching opportunities in America. At Sonoma State University since 1974, his career has combined performance, scholarship and teaching. (click for more at Wikipedia)
Click for a video of him performing in the Classical Style several years ago - a really nice intro to the depth of his practice >> Rāga Bilaskhani Todi

Tewari has been on the faculty of Sonoma State University in California since 1974. Today he is one of the leading ethnomusicologists with an exemplary body of work on Indian, Buddhist, Arabian and Gamelan music. He has also made numerous recordings of his music; chief amongst them is his rendering of Sameshwari, a Raga created by Dr. Lalmani Misra to preserve the notes of Samagana of Sama Veda period. He has conducted field research in India, Turkey, Trinidad & Tobago, Thailand, Fiji, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. In addition to his books and recordings, Tewari's articles have appeared in South Asia Research, South Asia Journal, and Asian Folklore Studies.

हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत

Hindustani classical music (Hindi: हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत, (Urdu: شاستریہ سنگیت ہندوستانی) is the Hindustani or erstwhile North Indian style of Indian classical music. It is a tradition that originated in Vedic ritual chants and has been evolving from the 12th century AD, in what are now northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and also Nepal and Afghanistan, and is today one of the two parts of Indian classical music, with the other one being Carnatic music, which represents the music of South India.

Pani Bina (Kabir Bhajan) - (bhajans are devotional songs; Pandit Tewari sings this in light classical style)

• The Gwalior Gharana is one of the oldest Khayal Gharanas and one to which most classical Indian musicians can trace the origin of their style. The rise of the Gwalior Gharana started with the reign of the great Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605). The favorite singers of this patron of the arts, such as Miyan Tansen, first amongst the vocalists at the court, came from the town of Gwalior.
Khayal (or Khayal, Hindi: ख़्याल, Urdu: خیال) is the modern genre of classical singing in North India. Its name comes from an Arabic word meaning "imagination." Like all Indian classical music, khyal is modal, with a single melodic line and no harmonic parts. The modes are called raga, and each raga is a complicated framework of melodic rules.

The origins of Indian classical music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition. Indian classical music has also been significantly influenced by, or syncretized with, Indian folk music and Persian music. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. The Samaveda was derived from the Rigveda in order that its hymns could be sung as Samagana; this style evolved into jatis and eventually into ragas. Bharat's Natyashastra was the first treatise laying down fundamental principles of dance, music and drama.

Indian classical music is both elaborate and expressive. Like Western classical music, it divides the octave into 12 semitones of which the 7 basic notes are, in ascending tonal order, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, similar to Western music's Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do. However, Indian music uses the just intonation tuning, unlike most modern Western classical music, which uses the equal-temperament tuning system.

Indian classical music is monophonic in nature and based around a single melody line, which is played over a fixed drone. The performance is based melodically on particular ragas and rhythmically on talas. Because of the focus on exploring the raga, performances have traditionally been solo endeavors, but duets are gaining in popularity.

Indian Classical Music Core Concepts:
Shruti · Swara · Rāga · Tāla

The shruti (Sanskrit "thing heard", "sound"; also written as śruti) is the smallest interval of the tuning system in Indian classical music.

The seven notes of the scale (swaras), in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, usually shortened to Sa, Ri (Carnatic) or Re (Hindustani), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam (the word is an acronym of the consonants of the first four swaras). Sargam is the Indian equivalent to solfege, a technique for the teaching of sight-singing. Sargam is practiced against a drone. The tone Sa is not associated with any particular pitch. As in Western moveable-Do solfège, Sa refers to the tonic of a piece or scale rather than to any particular pitch.

A raga (Sanskrit rāga राग, literally "colour, hue" but also "beauty, harmony, melody"; also spelled raag, rag, ragam) is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.
It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs or ghazals sometimes use rāgas in their compositions. The two streams of Indian classical music, Carnatic music and Hindustani music, have independent sets of rāgas.
The Sanskrit noun rāga is derived from the verbal root rañj "to colour, to dye". It is used in the literal sense of "the act of dyeing", and also "colour, hue, tint", especially "red colour" in the Sanskrit epics. A figurative sense "passion, love, desire, delight" is also found in the Mahabharata. The specialized sense of "loveliness, beauty", especially of voice or song, emerges in Classical Sanskrit.

The term raga was defined by Joep Bor of the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music as "tonal framework for composition and improvisation." Nazir Jairazbhoy, chairman of UCLA's department of ethnomusicology, characterized ragas as separated by scale, line of ascent and descent, transilience, emphasized notes and register, and intonation and ornaments.

Although notes are an important part of rāga practice, they alone do not make the rāga. A rāga is more than a scale, and many rāgas share the same scale. The mood of the rāga and the way the notes are approached and used are more important than the notes it uses.
Many Hindustani (North Indian) rāgas are prescribed for the particular time of a day or a season. When performed at the suggested time, the rāga has its maximum effect. During the monsoon, for example, many of the Malhar group of rāgas, which are associated with the monsoon and ascribed the magical power to bring rain, are performed.

Tāla or Taal (Sanskrit tālà, literally a "clap", also transliterated as "tala") is the term used in Indian classical music for the rhythmic pattern of any composition and for the entire subject of rhythm, roughly corresponding to metre in Western music, though closer conceptual equivalents are to be found in other Asian classical systems such as the notion of usul in the theory of Ottoman/Turkish music.

The most common instrument for keeping rhythm in Hindustani music is the tabla, while in Carnatic music, it is the mridangam (which is also transliterated as mridang).

Watch "Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha - Tabla Solo in Jhaptal" video at youtube for an exciting intro to Tabla by Ustad Alla Rakha playing a ten beat cycle (Jhaptal), introduced and counted by the legendary sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar

Rhythm in Indian music performs the function of a time counter. A taal is a rhythmic cycle of beats with an ebb and flow of various types of intonations resounded on a percussive instrument. Each such pattern has its own name. Indian classical music has complex, all-embracing rules for the elaboration of possible patterns, though in practice a few taals are very common while others are rare. The most common taal in Hindustani classical music is Teental, a cycle of four measures of four beats each.

A taal does not have a fixed tempo and can be played at different speeds. In Hindustani classical music a typical recital of a raga falls into two or three parts categorized by the tempo of the music - Vilambit laya (Slow tempo), Madhya laya (Medium tempo) and Drut laya (Fast tempo). In Carnatic Music, there are five categories of tempo namely - Chauka (1 stroke per beat), Vilamba (2 strokes per beat), Madhyama(4 beats per beat), Dhuridha(8 strokes per beat), Adi-Dhuridha(16 strokes per beat). But, although the tempo changes, the fundamental rhythm does not.
Each repeated cycle of a taal is called an avartan. A tala is generally divided into sections (vibhaags), not all of which may have the same number of beats.

Taals have a vocalised and therefore recordable form wherein individual beats are expressed as phonetic representations of various strokes played upon the tabla. The first beat of any taal, called sam (pronounced as the English word 'sum' and meaning even or equal, archaically meaning nil) is denoted with an 'X'. The first beat is always the most important and heavily emphasised. It is also the point of resolution in the rhythm. A soloist has to sound an important note of the raag there, and the percussionist's and soloist's phrases culminate at that point. A North Indian classical dance composition must end on the sam.

Indian Music (Hindustani Classical) playlist at Robert Cherwink's Channel on YouTube

Ethnomusicology is a branch of musicology defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts.
Coined by Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos (nation) and μουσική mousike (music), it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music. Jeff Todd Titon has called it the study of "people making music." Although it is often thought of as a study of non-Western musics, ethnomusicology also includes the study of Western music from an anthropological or sociological perspective.

>>> links >

Pandit Laxmi Ganesh Tewari

(Rāga) Bilaskhani Todi - Dr. Laxmi Ganesh Tewari
Pani Bina (Kabir Bhajan) - Pt. Lakshmiganesh Tewari

Hindustani Classical Music | Khayal | Gwalior Gharana

Rāga | Tāla | tabla

"Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha - Tabla Solo in Jhaptal" video at youtube

Ustad Alla Rakha | Ravi Shankar


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