Flow | Practice within a shared vocal range of one octave

Vocal range varies greatly among individuals and over the lifetime of an individual. The ability to vocalize and have a sense of pitch on multiple instruments has proven useful in many cases.
Source © Wikimedia – view or download this illustration in full size here:
Choral Vocal Ranges – Piano – Guitar Staff and Fret-board >>

By choosing an octave based on G# or A for basic “Sa”, all types of voice will be able to join in comfortably.

This is demonstrated by a noted singer and vocal guru, Dr. Nookala Chinnasatyanarana: for this audio lesson1 he chose G# as basic “sa” to enable male and female voices to practice together; and this without unnecessary strain even when repeating a given exercise many times:

Matching sruti for practice
(2 min. recorded from Eswar digital tanpura)

Repetition with scope for expressive variation is, of course, the very idea behind getting into the flow: “Pursuing flow through learning is more humane, natural, and very likely more effective way to marshal emotions in the service of education. […] Whether it be in controlling impulse and putting off gratification, regulating our moods, so they facilitate rather than impede thinking, motivating ourselves to persist and try, try again in the face of setbacks, or finding ways to enter flow, and so perform more effectively–all bespeak the power of emotion to guide effective effort”.2

A simple way of testing such insights is to practice raga Sankarabharanam (with G# as basic “sa” as heard above):

Read like a text: left-to-right, top-to-bottom
Note: this pattern may be applied to
any melakarta raga (Hindustani that) | Learn more >>
  1. A series of similar audio and video lessons is freely accessible on YouTube. []
  2. Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books, 1995), pp. 106-8 []

“Only a tambura can bring in a tranquil aura”: Musicians comment on the convenience and compromise of digital tanpura

South Indian tambura
South Indian Tambura | ExperienceInstruments >>

The four strings of the tambura that provide sruthi or the basic swara (pitch) for musicians are considered the life force for any melodic exercise. Fixed in jack wood to enhance the naada, yesteryear musicians were stuck to this pitch provider because there were no alternatives. […]

While many are comfortable with the electronic gadget while practising, how does it feel to have an object there on the concert stage, bereft of human touch, minus the aesthetics of the real thing?

“The digital tamburas are handy for travel, but only a compromise. It’s like decaffeinated coffee,” says vocalist Aruna Sairam.

“Digital versions are comfortable to use, but only a tambura can bring in a tranquil aura.”

“We use both to get an effect. If it is only the tambura, sometimes we don’t hear the strings resonating as an open-air ambience often drowns it, thanks to decibel levels. So a good tambura along with a digital one can strike a good balance,” says Sriram Prasad of Malladi Brothers.

Doyen R.K. Srikantan says: “We were used to visualising a stage only with the traditional tambura both for aesthetics and aural synchrony. There is an art to playing the tambura, we were told, not just wielding one. But we get dependent on those who have to play it for hours. Technology assists us to meet urban demands.” […]

Even so, visually there is something elevating about a beautifully carved tambura, with its mesmeric resonance, being plucked in perfect timing by a resplendently turned out artiste.

And if it is the main artiste who is handing the tambura, nothing matches the picture of his or her face resting against the magnificent tambura, lost in sadhana. Bits and bytes can’t beat such chemistry.

Source: “Does the digitised tambura manage to hit the right note?” by Ranjani Govind, The Hindu, Bangalore, April 26, 2011
Address : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/does-the-digitised-tambura-manage-to-hit-the-right-note/article1767958.ece
Date Visited: 30 January 2022

M.S. Subbulakshmi © Dhvani Ohio
“Even at the peak of her career M.S.Subbulakshmi continued to learn from other musicians”
R.K. Shriram Kumar >>

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S Rajam and disciples sing Harikesanallur Bhagavatar

S. Rajam (1919-2010) is credited with defining the visual identity of South India’s classical music. The present recording was made at his Mylapore home on 12 December 1997 when rehearsing for a lecture-demonstration; an annual event serving to highlight rare facets of South Indian (Carnatic) music. More about this recording & Sangita Kalasikhamani S. Rajam >>

Total duration: 82 min.(2 tracks mp3): Cassette side A 46:24, Cassette side B 36:22); for free download options visit https://archive.org/details/rajam-harikesanallur-lecdem >>

  • S Rajam June 2009 © Jayan Warrier

S Rajam teaching and receiving visitors friends including singer Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam, pianist-educator Anil Srinivasan & Ludwig Pesch Photos © Jayan Warrier (June 2009)

A couple of years ago, musician-friend Ludwig Pesch invited me to a music lesson taught by S Rajam. One of the disciples there was Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam. The bond between the master and the student became evident as the lesson wore on. As the midwinter sun cast lazy shadows across the courtyard, I saw the guru lapse into proud silences, letting his disciple sing unaided. […] The memory of that master lesson at Rajam’s home remains etched in my memory. As the master and the student rendered a composition in Ananda­bhairavi, a curious butterfly lodged itself on my shoulder. The stillness of that moment lent me a certain delicate joy. It was something deeper than contentment—an ability to stay absolutely rooted to the music. The rest, as they say, is mere noise.

Anil Srinivasan in “Her master’s voice and more” (Indian Express, 18 June 2011) >>

Find additional information by typing names “S Rajam Harikesanallur”, “singer Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam”, “pianist Anil Srinivasan” (or similar combination) here:

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Anyone who is familiar with the world of Carnatic music, would recognise S. Rajam’s paintings of the Trinity—Syama Sastry, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar. They are probably his most popular creations. But his paintings of the seven swaras based on the visualisation of the swara personalities described in Sangeeta Kalpadrumam—the treatise by vidwan Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, are equally interesting and beautiful. That Kalpadrumam was the source of inspiration for these paintings has been acknowledged by the late Rajam himself, in the detailed notes that he has given to Sruti.

https://sruti.com/printeditions/sruti-back-issues-individual/amjad-ali-khan-amp-ustad-hafiz-ali-khan

Video | Triveni-A combination of “Muki-Prana” by TR Sundaresan

To watch this video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1373ssBLT6Y >>

A combination of “Muki-Prana”
Ragam – Tanam – Pallavi
Concept and Pallavi lyrics by TR Sundaresan – Mridangam
Tuned and sung by S Srivathsan

TR Sundaresan, on the occasion of India’s celebration into the entry of the 76th year of Independence, brings this humble presentation as a dedication to the country. Through the journey of Independent India there have been many great musicians  who have contributed to  Indian Classical music and its rich tradition.

The late Dr Sri Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna’s contribution is incredible to this field of Art. One among his contribution is the Tala System he invented through the  concept of ‘Muki’.  ‘MUKI’ gives a different form of 175 Talas to Carnatic Music apart from the existing 175 Talas.

‘Muki’ is applied over the ‘Kriya – Prana’ of Tala. The ‘Sashabhtha Kriyas of the Tala is explored with the relevent five different kinds of “Gathi” ( acknowledged by him as the ‘MUKI‘) and the Nishabtha Kriyas remain as 4 Mathras throughout the Tala cycle per Kriya.

On the event of Dr Balamurslikrishna’s  Anniversary TR Sundaresan takes the concept of ‘MUKI’ as a source of Inspiration to present a celebrating moment for the 76th year of Independent India. TR Sundaresan has taken the Ata Tala, which has two Lagu and two Drutams to explore this. The first Lagu with Tru Muki Trisra Jathi and the second Lagu with Pancha Muki in Kanda Jathi.

Two Drutams are set to Saptha Muki. In this Sundaresan has applied three different Mukis within the Tala Cycle and given a new Tala name called Triveni. This tala has 76 mathras per cycle to honor the 76th year of Independence. The lyrics for the Pallavi is written by Sundaresan himself to acknowledge Dr Balamuralikrisha on his remembrance day with the Tala Mudhra and Raga Mudhra to the lyrics. The lyrics are tuned by Vidwan S Srivatsan who will give vocal support for this Laya exploration.

Source: “Triveni-A combination of “Muki-Prana”
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1373ssBLT6Y
Date Visited: 16 March 2023

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Subscribe to TR Sundaresan’s video channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/@SundaresanTRS

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