Everyone has their own perspective and choice in genres of Music. Some like listening, some like dancing to the tunes, some like learning it, some like practising it while some like to take it as a career too. I am sure, every one of us would fall into any of the above-mentioned categories. One thing is common, it gives you contentment and makes you forget the world you are in at least for that very moment. We all have a myth that it is some art form or a cultural attribute but it’s beyond bodily experience and relates to the human psyche.
Not completely knowing its effect on human behaviour, I have started learning Indian Carnatic vocal Music along with its theory. For about this time, I discovered that experience with-in me. In Carnatic Music (or for that matter) any art form in India should be learnt by seeking blessings from a Guru by offering pranam (salutation). It is believed that blessings are very important to gain expertise in any art form, according to Indian culture. So, my salutations to Guru Dr Sowmya Sanak Kumar Athreya.
I live in a place where there is limited access to such learning experience. I took a course on the basics of piano from one of the online sites and happened to meet Edgars, a bachelor’s student of piano at his concert. To my surprise, I see the same involvement in him while playing it. Now, I have realized the concept called Music is Universal! Then comes the idea of collaborating the common ideas/ theories, different approaches to Music from east and west. Purists may not accept this as they consider Carnatic Music to be divine. However, knowing the limitations of a piano( basic instrument to learn western classical Music) its, not a sin.
Anything good you see and appreciate in this series of articles is because of the musical knowledge from my Gurus and errors you come across is because of my inability to interpret it.
I mentioned before about Music theory. Why the theory is important?
You as a reader might be wondering, what’s my intention in writing this article. Before making this clear, I want you to think it for yourself and I am sure you would get the answer by pondering over the below questions.
- Do we watch movies or for that matter can we be promoted to next class in school without learning alphabets?
- Can you see yourself cooking a delicious dish without even knowing what ingredients make up that dish?
- Can we all take big decisions such as career choices in childhood itself without even knowing/ able to decide what our favourite subject is?
So, what’s common in all the above examples is the basic knowledge of getting deep into a subject. In other words, I call it learning theory.
In this series of articles from my understanding through various sources, I want to convey that Music is easier to study and share if it is written down.
The Trinity of Carnatic Music
It is believed that Carnatic Music has very old footprints and is still ruling this world of fast beats because of its depth in knowledge. Purandaradasa, a devotee of Lord Vishnu is a singer and composer of Carnatic Music in Medieval India. Recognizing his contributions, he is referred to as “Sangeeta Pitamaha” which means father or grandfather of Music. He formulated basic lessons of Music in the form of exercises as Saralivarisai, a Tamil word (Sarali = easy, varisai= in a line) and Alankaras which means decoration in a literal sense, a Musical decoration. Next, in line is the origin of “Trinity of Carnatic Music.” Tyagaraja Swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri contribute to the name in the 18th century. They together created a new era of classical music through their distinct compositions but each of them has individual significance.
On the other hand, Western classical music is the one which emerged or developed by Europeans or European immigrants in other western parts. It has its roots from the early 19th century, though other forms of Music in the west existed much before. The symphony ensemble and compositions were the predominant features of that period.
With these different approaches being said, I would end it here for this article and the next article would bring the basic terms in both the Music.