SingingAspects


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 +* [http://taranaa.com/Tarang/index.php?title=Singing_Aspects_PART_II&rcid=15 Know The Aspects Of Singing Part II]
 +* [http://taranaa.com/Tarang/index.php?title=Singing_Aspects_PART_III&rcid=16 Know The Aspects Of Singing Part III]
--[[User:Shashikant|Shashikant Sharma, Grand Rapids MI USA]] 07:47, 17 May 2006 (EDT) --[[User:Shashikant|Shashikant Sharma, Grand Rapids MI USA]] 07:47, 17 May 2006 (EDT)

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Know The Aspects Of Singing PART I by Shashikant Sharma, Grand Rapids, MI USA


Image:Example.jpg


What is 'Swara'

Everyday we hear sound. Music is, that sound which is pleasing to ears. All of us, like either filmy songs, or bhajans, or ghazals or classical renditions. Basis of all these 'genre' is in 'swara' and 'taal'. Talking of 'note', a 'musical' note, not a promissory note or treasury note :), explores the boundless richness hidden in Indian Classical music (ICM). In dictionary.com, it is defined as (a) A tone of definite pitch (b) A symbol for such a tone, (c) A key of an instrument, e.g. Piano. These are rational, informative definitions, but lack the feel, romance, emotion. 'Swara' (Sanskrit word for note), or 'sur' is far from these definitions.

Swara is something to be relished and absorbed soulfully, more than merely defined. 'Swara' is like hidden colours in light, seen only through rainbow or a prism; 'swara' is like the inherent desire of sunflower to always follow the sun. It was percepted by cows and 'gopis' of mathura in Krishna's call by mesmerizing flute. It's not just one frequency, but the fullness and harmony along with ornamentations from side notes. Traditionally in ICM, 'swara' is often personified. Therefore, it has to be awakened by a very meticulous and carefully touched 'AvAhan' (call) and when that happens, it's like supplying current to the unlit bulb.

All over the world, people are either listening to 'swara', playing it, or vocalizing it. Human body is an amazing form of such an instrument. The human voice is the only instrument, which can be cultured. It can accommodate changes in tonal clarity, timbre quality, vocal range and the list goes on. Once a 'nAdyogI' (vocalist) attains it, he/she can experience the 'swara' and its resonance without force, but naturally.

Style or 'genre'

There are plenty of styles in music to explore. In vocal music, it ranges from folklores, bhajan, ghazal, filmy songs, thumri, dadra, tappa, to dhrupad and khayal. When asked, which one do you prefer, a well known maestro replied, 'it doesn't matter what you choose, all that matters is, how good and perfect it is'. The richness is abundant in Pt. Bhimsen Joshi’s thumris, Girija Devi’s kajris to sufi style qawalis by Nusrat sahab, Abidaa Parween or Begam Akhtar. This article will only serve as a small candle in front of bright sun and will fail to even scratch the surface of this richness contributed by many genuine great masters of music.

'Rasa'

I heard famous sarod player Amjad Ali Khan describing it once , 'when he feels the sound of the sound, sarod and him become one (ekras) and then feelings flow out in the form of melodies. Emotions or 'rasa' can come out in the combination of one or more of the following.

Tonal Quality

Technically, it's the frequency spectrum of the plucked note by instrument or singer, which is not just one frequency, like A is 440Hz. It does contain lots of partials or harmonics. And this is what makes it very rich. The tonal quality comes from construction, material used also. Like sarod has bronze strings, sitar has German wire (steel) etc. Violin strings are different from sarangi totally. Even the nylon bow Vs horse hair bow will sound different. Wood wind instruments similarly. The point is this small alankar 'R n S m, m p g m' of bhimpalasi, will sound differently to ears, when played on different instruments, and tonal quality is the key factor. Although when played together, everyone will be in harmony.

Voice Quality

This is probably easier to understand, as a voice is sweet, or soft or harsh or nasal or deep or serene or bird-like or hoarse (throaty) or rough.

Vocal Range

This is not so well defined. Technically yes, it is the span of notes or span of octaves. Like Dr. Balmuralikrishnan has a big range and so do Kavitha and Sadhana and Hariharan. Speaking of range, Beghum Parveen Sultana's name comes to mind, that defies the perceived limitations of human vocal mechanics. Without much diversion, it's better to define what we want. In stricter sense, it is defined as capacity to sing or produce the lowest and highest note in the range with full timbre, thus mere able to touch the notes doesn't mean anything. Touching them with full grace does.

Tune

It's not only NOT deviating from aroha-avaroha of chosen raga derived from it's thaat, but more importantly using the kaN swar effectively. Like in Yaman Re has kaN of G, .N GRe Ga...(Ga being vAdi. Well...we are building new vocabulary now, and will describe vAdi, samvAdi shortly)

Rhythm

Being in rhythm is like marching together in simplest terms. Heart has a beat rate, flow of air, waterfall, birds chirping, trains moving, everything in nature is 'gatimaan'. And they have a 'laya', which is not just tempo. Tempo is part of laya.

Diction/Pro

It's not only reading and speaking them audibly, but clearly as well. More important is the voice throw or delivery of it. Like, sometimes you have to hatch a word or two inside mouth or even in guts before delivery. Sometimes, you have to bite a word hard or soft, or sometimes just let go. Of course, we have seen cases of strongly accentuated renditions, e.g. ra being .Da (as tree being t.Dee)

Voice Throw

Through my limited vision, I see Voice throw, as related to volume control while making a speech. Think about, pushing air from your wind pipe, this air goes through vocal chords and makes sound, but this sound has to be interpreted in terms of language, and then we shape the sound by teeth, tongue, lips, mouth, jaws, nose etc. right? So imagine, you are throwing a word out of your mouth. You can do it, in variety of ways. Voice throw is an important aspect in bringing emotions too. I wish I could explain more just by black ink :) Pl. do some simple exercises. Try calling your kid or younger sibling or dearest with lots of affection, and watch your voice. Next time, when you are angry, and call them, watch your voice, similarly when you are frustrated, watch your voice.

If you are still reading :), try doing some more exercises. Can you sing something (say just alaap). · you are pleading to god · you are praying to god · you just missed your appointed train to attend important meeting · you are waiting for your dear ones’ arrival · you want to scold your child's innocent mistake sweetly · you are extremely happy on receiving a coveted gift. The situations can be infinite. I hope you get the point.

Emulate

This is something GOD has gifted only to few selected ones, otherwise to me, it's better to stick to certain songs or develop your own style. Like someone’s voice suits to Rafi, or Kishor or Mukesh for males and, similarly to Lata, or Asha or Geeta for females.

Variation/Personal touch

Varying the composition within the boundaries of being melodious. You may blend to another raag from one and then come back, but it has to gel/transition properly.

Mood/Expression

Technically these are done through meend, kaN, andolan, sparsh, murki, gamak etc. But most importantly as Khan Sahab told me, you have to pretend to be in that situation and feel it and then do it. I think it's a long way for me yet. Pl. visit http://www.adwaitjoshi.com/icm/icm11.php for illustration on kaN, gamak etc. and much more at http://www.it.iitb.ac.in/~hvs/Veena/ by selecting mp3 samples.

Voice control

It's the ability to deliver the notes/pair of notes as slow or as fast in demand, including all the gamak or travel from one note to another consecutively or skipping.

Acknowledgement

It’s my great pleasure to be able to pen down some thoughts in this periodical. It has only been possible due to great efforts by my mother, my gurujan, my musical friends and family. – Shashi

coming soon: rasas type & ragas, more on gayaki, vocal health…stay tuned.




--Shashikant Sharma, Grand Rapids MI USA 07:47, 17 May 2006 (EDT)

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