musings on music and life

June 19, 2012

Sunday’s lec-dem

Filed under: Carnatic Music — sankirnam @ 6:31 pm

I participated in a lec-dem last Sunday at UCLA with my friends Aditya Prakash and Shiva Ramamurthi. This was held at the Fowler Museum at UCLA; some details can be seen at this link: It was very fun; Aditya did a very good job covering the basics of Carnatic music for those unfamiliar with it. We began with Ninnukori (Mohanam varnam). This was followed by an explanation of the ragam concept by Aditya, and also a demonstration of how various ragams display different rasas (emotions). Shiva also talked a little on the role and nature of violin accompaniment. The fact that everything on stage is impromptu was stressed; while the songs are common, how they are delivered will vary each time. Alapanas will be sung differently, and niraval and kalpana swarams will always vary each time. Aditya also talked about the concept of thalam, and that it is a cyclic measure of keeping the time, which is often done with the hand. I played several theermanams (ending phrases) of varying lengths to illustrate the concept that phrases must land back on the proper eduppu (pick up point) on the thalam. We then played several rounds of kalpana swarams for the charanam of the varnam to illustrate improvisation in Carnatic music. Within this, Aditya switched to tisra gathi (3 counts per beat) to illustrate the concept of varying counts per beat. The program was then concluded with the popular Senchurutti thillana.

It was a very fun experience. Aditya has a very energetic style, and playing with Shiva is always fun, since we have teamed together in innumerable concerts so far. The only drawback was that this was held outdoors in the museum courtyard, under the blazing sun, and so my mrudangam went completely off pitch! Fortunately Aditya understood and was a good sport about it.

This gives me something to think about, regarding coming up with new designs for the instrument…

1 Comment »

  1. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, superb blog!

    Comment by Keshia Hyle — June 30, 2012 @ 1:16 am

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