Singapore Workshop June 2006


Dear friends,

Aneesh and I are delighted to hear that we will have the opportunity to meet with you again at the workshop in June this year. Please find below a short description of this year’s workshop and please start using this blog to ask us questions, send us requests, and to help us fine tune the menu for this year’s workshop.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Shubha and Aneesh

APPRECIATING HINDUSTANI VOCAL MUSIC

The four-day workshop held for two groups (children and adults) will focus on the main forms of Hindustani vocal music such as dhrupad, khayal, tarana, and thumri. The characteristics of each of these forms will be discussed and some examples will be taught to the groups. Aspects such as raag, taal and instrumentation will also be discussed with demonstrations of recorded and live samples. The participants will be expected to carry stationary to take notes at all times. The fifth day will feature a practical and theoretical presentation by the participants. Please note, that no audio or video recordings of the workshop will be allowed at any time.

Shubha Mudgal

Shubha Mudgal

28 Comments

  •    Reply

    Great Idea Shubhaji to have reactivate this blog. Hopefully all of us will contribute and make this workshop an even more pleasurable experience than last years.

    The last bit on “no recordings” is a bit baffling. We did do some recordings last year, so is this a change from that?

    About the theme, it is quite similar to last year’s as well. I’m not sure about the kids, but this year, since most of us in the adults workshop, are repeat participants, we hope to carry on from last year or atleast benefit from you and Aneeshji by more in depth discussions.

    I will forward your mail to the others and perhaps we can all use this blog to come up with something?

    Can’t wait to see you and Aneeshji

    Regards

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    Kiran ji, thanks for being the first of the workshop participants to start using the blog again!

    We have asked all of you not to record for a variety of reasons.

    1. No one bothered to seek our permission last year with regard to recording, and we have still to receive a single copy of the recordings from last year, although we were promised copies.

    2. We would like to give you a recording for your reference, but only after you have learnt the compositions in the ‘shruti-smruti‘ tradition. We would also like to encourage all of you to try and notate the compositions too.

    Last year, the theme of the workshop was seasonal song forms such as kajri, chaiti etc. This year, we were hoping to also look at khayal compositions. But please do indicate what you and the other participants would prefer.

    Regards

    Shubha

  •    Reply

    Dear Kiranji,

    Greetings to you and to all the other participants.

    A quick reply to your question related to recording the proceedings of the workshop. In fact, we had communicated this point even before we did the last workshop, but it was somehow missed out. Recording hampers the rate at which one retains what is taught in a session and in many ways also causes a distraction. It also allows you to fall back on other media, thereby letting a lethargy creep in when it comes to notating compositions. Notating compositions is a great way of analysing for yourself whether you have understood the composition or whether you are only singing along. This has been our experience and has been witnessed in other situations too.

    We can perhaps work out a way, whereby all the participants can record in their own voices (in unison) each composition that has been taught. This can be done on the day before the presentation, by which time all of you would have understood the compositions.

    Shubha and I are looking forward to our meeting and the session with all of you.

    Best wishes,

    Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear participants,

    Would you able to arrange a Kali 4 (G#) tabla, which I can play during the workshop. I think the school already has bayans, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I can of course get my own instrument, but since we aren’t doing a concert there, I thought of using an instrument from there and would also perhaps use one of the school pairs for my own practice in the hotel (if time permits!!!). We would also like to know if any of you have a electronic tanpura which can be used during the workshop sessions. We’ll need both the instruments for the morning and evening sessions, so we would appreciate if you can leave both at the school for all the days.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,

    Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear Aneeshji

    I don’t know if Prabha of GIIS has read this message, but I’ll check with her about the tabla and tanpura. We can also check with the Temple of Fine Arts if they have any of these instruments that can be spared for the entire week.

    Secondly, which actually should be firstly – please do accept my most sincere apologies for being one of those who did do recordings of the workshop last year without explicitly asking for your and Shubhaji’s permission. I am trying since the last 3-4 days to upload the recordings of the 4 days (which i have on my computer)but have been unable to do so due to the fact that they are very heavy. If I cannot do it within the next few days, I will give you a copy on a CD when you get here. Once again, I’m truly sorry for this lack of courtesy on my part.

    Finally I have sent the link to this blog to the other participants (those whose address I have) and hope they will post their messages soon.

    Regards

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji and Aneeshji
    looking forward to another inspiring workshop with you.Our deep apologies for recording without your permission,never meant to offend.I guess we all were a bit overwhelmed at the thought of learning from someone of your stature.This time we all are a bit more confident of our own ability and do share a degree of comfort with you both.Whatever you decide to share with us will be received with great joy.You mentioned about sharing ‘khayal’forms this time,perhaps you could give us one which is your favourite and previously recorded so that we have a couple of songs that we can follow up later after the workshop.This will help us to understand if we are going wrong when we sing it later on.
    Look forward to seeing you soon
    regards,
    Mayura

  •    Reply

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for accepting our suggestions regarding the recordings. Kiranji, I don’t think you should upload last year’s recordings, but we would certainly like a CD of it.

    As for the tabla, I think one of you had brought a tabla on the last day for the presentation. I don’t think the school has a Kali 4 tabla, as I checked with the tabla teacher there.

    Best wishes,

    Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji and Aneeshji,

    I am truly delighted and consider myself very lucky to be able to participate in one more workshop with you.I learnt so much from you last year and have tried to apply that in my music through the last year.

    It seems that many of this year’s participants were there last year too.If that is the case,it would be good if you could do a khayal composition where we could spend some time learning from you how you develop the composition further with alaaps,variations,perhaps a few taans etc . I personally would be happy to also learn some more compositions on last years theme of seasonal song form.Here once again,perhaps we could spend some time learning to develop these further .

    Look forward eagerly to the 12th of June.
    Warm regards,
    Sarita

  •    Reply

    Dear all,

    I am delighted that the blog is being used now to try and work out how best we could utilize the 4 teaching sessions Aneesh and I are going to get with all of you. I understand from Sarita ji’s mail that she is keen on learning ‘badhat’ and ‘vistaar’ for khayal compositions. Is everyone happy with this? Or would you prefer to learn just compositions?

    Let us know soon, and we will draw up a plan in the next couple of days. Also, are you people upto doing a little preparatory work before th 12th?

    Let me know.

    Regards

    Shubha

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji,

    My response to your last question -I will be happy to do any preparatory work you suggest.Going by last year’s experience,those 4 days of learning are so valuable that any suggestions that will help us get the most out of them are very welcome.

    Warm regards,
    Sarita

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji, Aneeshji

    I was trying to email the recordings to you. Never mind, I’ll give you a CD when we meet.

    I’m very excited about this workshop and am ready to do any preparations as per your suggestions so that we can derive maximum benefit from your workshop. BTW, my 2 sons (aged 14 and 8) are attending the children’s workshop. They have been learning hindustani music for the last 4-5 months and if there is any preparatory work that they can do as well, please do let me know.

    About the content itself, honestly I don’t have any specific suggestion – anything you teach us is accepted with joy. And I’m not talking just about the “songs” you teach us but about all the other insights you give us into the world of music – hindustani in particular. For me personally, I am hoping to kind of carry on from last year’s workshop or atleast discuss other aspects which we couldn’t for paucity of time. The idea of learning a “Khayal” composition sounds very exciting though.

    Regards

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    Since we are going to focus on khayal and improvisation in this workshop,let us start with
    the following:

    Please send us a small paragraph on what you know about khayal. Try and write a small note on what your understanding of khayal, who are the khayal singers you listen to, and any other details you would like to share with the group. In case you include information from a book you refer to, please provide details so that others too become aware of books and authors they could refer to.

    Have all of you learnt Yaman and Bhairav? If so, what are the compositions you have learnt in these two ragas?

    Looking forward to hearing from all of you, and those of you who have not registered on the blog yet, please hurry and do so.

    Regards

    Shubha and Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear all,

    We haven’t planned any preparatory work for the children’s workshop, as we aren’t certain how many have registered and in which age groups. Naturally, we have planned a schedule for them, but this will be explained to them when we meet in S’pore.

    I think we have two hour sessions each day. We could then focus on the learning aspect for an hour and a half or so, and leave the last 30 mins to questions-answers which may or may not be directly related to the material that is taught, but that may be concerning general aspects of Hindustani music.

    Regards,

    Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji and Aneeshji,

    Am making an attempt to define ‘Khayal singing’….
    Khayal gayaki is the main style of classical vocal performance in North India. More recent than the ‘dhrupad’form ,khayal places emphasis on presentation of compositions and on improvisation.Khayal (literally “imagination”) gives great scope to the imagination and individuality of the singer. Khayal singing is marked with melodic elaboration, decorative elegance, sensuousness and romanticism.

    While trying to put down what my understanding of khayal,I read several interesting pieces on Khayal and other aspects of Hindustani classical music on the Net,including Rajan Parrikar’s site http://www.sawf.org,the ITC Sangeet Academy http://www.itcsra.org etc.

    Khayal singers I listen to -Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande,Kishori Amonkar,Pt. Bhimsen Joshi,Kumar Gandharva,Malini Rajurkar…..the list goes on and on

    I have learnt Yaman and Bhairav.Compositions learnt…
    YAMAN -Eri aali piya bin
    Nit tero dhyan
    Main vari vari jaaoongi
    Mori gagar na bharan de
    BHAIRAV-Om namah shivaya
    Jago mohan pyare

    Hope this helps to set the ball rolling (exactly a week left for the workshop!)

    Warm regards,
    Sarita

  •    Reply

    Namaste Shubhaji and Aneeshji ,

    My understanding of khayal music is –
    Khayal which comes from the Persian for thought or imagination is a stylized form
    of rendering a raga. The essential component of a khayal is a composition (Bandish) and the expansion of the text of the composition within the framework of the raga. There are two forms of Khayal. Bada-Khayal in slow tempo and Chhota-Khayal in medium to fast tempo.
    A Khayal typically begins with the alap which is that section of music that plays with the notes to explore the melody being played. It precedes the lyrics.

    The khayal incorporated many embellishments of Persian music. Crisp and curly ornamentations which were a taboo in the more austere dhrupad had a free access to khayal. The use of Tan in the Khayal gayaki is one of the major features that distinguishes it from Dhrupad. The lyrics of the Khayal or Cheez also has two sections, Sthayi and Anthara.
    The nuances employed to improvise and embellish the rendition vary from singer to singer.

    The Khayal singers I like to listen to are Pt. Ajoy Chakroborty , Rashid Khan , Prabha Atre, Sulochana Brihaspati ,Ashwini Bhide Deshpande and of course, Shubha Mudgal !!

    The compositions I have learnt in Yaman –
    Piya ki Najariyaa
    Eri Aali Piya Bin
    Mori Gagar Na bharan de
    Shyam Sundar Manmohan Giridhar

    Bhairav –
    Jago Mohan Pyare
    Pratham Bhairav Raag Gaavat
    Ram ka Gungaan kariye
    Om namah Shivaya Gaurishvaraya

    My definition of Khayal is taken from the research work done for last year’s presentation .

    regards,
    Gauri

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji and Aneeshji,

    My understanding of Khayal is that it is a detailed description of a raaga. How you do it depends on the singer and his / her style. You describe its highs and lows, its typical nuances, with the help of the musical notes or swaras and techniques like meend, khatka, ghaseet, andolan etc.
    The overall effect is the raaga!
    And of course when you do it in brief it is chhota khayal and when you do it in detail it is bada khayal.
    To tell you the truth, I haven’t listened to any khayal presentations for a long time, other than Ashwini Bhide (live)when she came to Singapore. And before that, long time ago, when in college in Delhi Univ, have listened to Bhimsen Joshi, Kumar Gandharva, Dagar brothers, Kishori Amonkar et al thanks to SPIC MACAY. I love your light Hindi songs esp ‘Seekho na’, Hai pyar to musafir’.
    Regarding Yaman, have learnt-
    Kaun Sakhi ri,
    Shyam Sundar man mohan
    Guru Bina kaise.
    Bhairav have not really learnt anything much except ‘Jago Mohan pyare..’

    Looking forward to your workshop.

    Regards,

    Smita

  •    Reply

    A rather last minute request . Most of us have your CD ‘Rang Horee” which has the Horee in Pilu that you taught us last year . Are there any commercial recordings of the other three compositions that we learnt – ‘Chunaria laa de ” in Hameer,
    The Chaiti- “Kaun Maas Phulela Gulabwa” and ‘Langar Tohe Laaj na aayee re ‘ in Des .If so , could you tell us the names of albums we could find them in ?

    regards,
    Gauri

  •    Reply

    Dear Gauri ji,

    I’m sorry but I haven’t yet recorded the three pieces you mention.

    Apologies,

    Shubha

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji, Aneeshji

    I’m writing this to say sorry for suddenly disappearing from the scene and not sending a post with my understanding of khayal, the raags etc. I’ve had an intermittent problem with the internet in my house and hopefully this mail will get typed before the problem rears its head again. I hope to send the mail by this evening anyway and also hope it will not be too late for you to read it.

    Regards

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    I am trying to type this as fast as I can, since I can get logged out anytime, due to the internet problem in my house.

    About Khayals, I don’t know much indepth, but I do know that there are 2 basic genres of compositions in Hindustani classical music – Dhrupad and Khayals. Dhrupad is the older but Khayals are more popular today. Khayal – meaning imagination – allows the singer more freedom to improvise (ofcourse staying within the taal). I have learnt some Chota Khayals as part of my hindustani music education. I’m not sure i’m a mature enough singer as yet to be able to improvise by myself, but I believe I can understand and learn this kind of composition.

    In Raag Yaman I have learnt
    1. Shyam Sundar Man Mohan Giridhar (as part of my music class syllabus)
    2. Nigahen Milane Ko Jee Chahata Hai (Qawwali)
    3. Chupa lo yoon dil mein pyar mera (one of my favorite filmi numbers)
    4. Jare Badara Bairi Ja (a classical film song)
    5. Ranjish Hi Sahi (Gazal)
    6. Paanv Padoon Tore Shyam (Bhajan)

    As part of my “taleem” i have not learnt Raag Bhairav so the only song I know in this raag is Jaago Mohan Pyare. Actually to be honest I didn’t know it was in Bhairav until you asked, so I looked up Raag Bhairav and saw that I did indeed know 1 song in this raag.

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji and Aneeshji

    The big day is here! We are all looking forward to learning with you this evening.

    Apologies from me too for the late response. Have also had some problems accessing the blog – and have also been denied access to the computer due to my boys hogging it completely.

    What I understand about Khayal – Khayal as a form of Hindustani music was a result of Persian influence. It was also a result of the rigid conformation to set techniques of Dhrupad wherein there was less scope for spontaneity. While Khayal also operates within basic rules governing raga and taal, it is allowed more creativity, spontaneity and ornamentation making it more romantic/sensual. The ‘Vilambit’ or ‘bada Khayal’ is slower paced and explores the raga in leisure while the ‘Chhota Khayal’ is set to medium or fast tempo/madhya or drut laya.

    Some of the artists I listen to are Kumar Gandharva, Malini Rajurkar, Bhimsen Joshi, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Rashid Khan,Shruti Sadolikar, Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, Kishori Amonkar, Prabha Atre… And as Gauri wrote Shubha Mudgal!

    The compositions I have learnt

    Yaman

    Eri Aali Piya Bin
    Jayati Jayati Jagata Janani

    Bhairav

    Shankara Girijapati
    Anahatanaada Taako Prakashe
    Om namah Shivaya Gaurishvaraya

    Looking forward to this evening.

    Warm regards

    Anu

  •    Reply

    dear shubhaji and aneeshji,

    i’ve prepared the presentation on the tabla. I was wondering if i could take a video recording of aneeshji playing the tabla, to give people an idea of what a avartan etc. is

    see you tommorow,
    shloka

  •    Reply

    Hi Shloka,

    Welcome to the blog!

    Please feel free to make a video recording for the presentation. We are both looking forward to seeing it!

    Shubha and Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji,
    A version of the research that we have compiled . Will give you a copy in the evening,
    regards,
    Gauri

    Before we begin, lets take a quick look at two basic concepts in Hindustani classical music –the Thaat and the Raga.

    As we are aware,the saptak or octave consists of 12 notes which includes the shuddh,komal and teevra notes.
    The thaat is a musical scale or a Parent scale. It comprises of different sets of a complete scale of seven notes .
    For a performer, Thaats have little significance but for a student of music, the system comes as a great help to understand the classification of ragas.

    What, then, is a Raga? It is most simply described as a set of notes, usually from five to seven notes, together with a set of rules to combine them effectively and create a particular mood.
    or
    A Raga has a specific melodic structure with arrangement of notes. Certain essential features are extremely necessary to establish a Raga . Possibly the most prominent feature of the Raga is that it should ‘colour’ or please the minds of the listeners.

    Raaganga –

    The thaat is one way to classify ragas – another way is raganga – here rather than the parental scale or the notes in the raga, melodic characteristics or features define whether a raga belongs in a particular raganga. Of course many of our ragas are ancient and the raganga classification was created much later – but it helps music lovers tremendously by providing a powerful framework of the thought processes that have guided the musician’s mind through the ages.

    Let us look at the Raganga Raga Kalyan. In Hindustani music, it is called by different names – Yaman, Iman, Eman and Aiman. It is a sampoorna raga which means that it includes all the swaras– Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni. Let us look at the melodic characteristics of Raganga Raga Kalyan or Yaman

    Ni Re Ga Re Sa

    Ga Ma’ Pa Re Sa

    Ma’ Dha Ni Dha Pa

    Sa^ Ni Dha Ni Dha Pa

    Ma’ Pa Dha Pa

    These are the melodic characteristics that mark the Raganga Kalyan of which Raga Yaman is the flagship raga . Two other ragas that derive from this raganga are Raga Bhoop and Raga Shudh Kalyan.

    Khayal –

    Khayal literally comes from the Persian for thought or imagination. The essential component of a khayal is a composition (Bandish or cheez ) and the expansion of the text of the composition within the framework of the raga which is called ‘badhat ‘ or ‘vistaar’. A Khayal typically begins with the alap which is that section of music that plays with the notes of the Ragaang which show the typical characteristics of the raag being presented

    We will be presenting a chota khayal in Raag Yaman in drut teental to be followed by a Tarana.

    A Taraana is a fast paced composition which doesn’t have lyrics but uses pnemonic syllables like ‘nom’ tom’ ‘tanana’ . Taraana is a musical device that can be observed in sitar, sarod presentations as also in Dance . One of the theories of its origin we learnt during this workshop was that Dhrupadias who taught their art to the beenkars( instrumentalists/veena players) didn’t want to fully disclose all their musical secrets so instead of teaching lyrics taught in the form of pnemonics .
    Interestingly, Taranas can be observed in other forms of music as well. In jazz there is a technique called ‘ scatting’ where the singer tries to improvise with what the saxophone/trumphet is playing .

    We shall then move on to a Nirguni Bhajan in Adhha Teental . This a bhajan written by Swami Dharamdas , a prominent disciple of Sant Kabir who wrote in the 13th century A.D.

    (An interesting poem that we found by Sahajo Bai , disciple of Dharamdas ).
    “I can abandon God, but I would not forsake my guru.
    God is not the equal of my guru.

    God has given me birth into this world.
    My guru has freed me from the cycle of birth and death.

    God gave me five thieves.
    My guru freed me from them when I was helpless.

    God threw me into the net of family.
    My guru cut away the chains of attachments.

    God ensnared me in desire and disease.
    My guru has freed me from all this by initiating me.

    God made me to wander in the illusion of doing.
    My guru showed me my being.

    God hid himself from me.
    My guru gave me a lamp to illuminate him.

    Above all, God created this duality of bondage and freedom.
    My guru destroyed all these illusions.

    I offer myself, body, mind and soul
    At the feet of my Guru Charandas.

    I can abandon God, but I can never abandon my guru.”

    Sahajo Bai is singing in praise of her guru who liberated her from all the bondage and worldly illusions.

    We would like to present a beautiful composition that we learnt last year – this is a lilting Kajri in Maajh Khamaaj . Deepachandi Taal .

  •    Reply

    Dear Gauriji,

    We feel it would be better if you avoid definitions of raag and thaat. It would perhaps be better if you could make the presentation more personal, and therefore mention that you all decided to learn more about khayal and that we also suggested that you focus on raagang. Also, please mention that we looked at seasonal song-forms last year. And then move straight on to explaining what raagang is and to Kalyan. You have missed out on Bhairav, so please add that you studied that too, though you may not present that tomorrow.

    I also think Sahejobai’s poem doesn’t seem to fit into the scope of this presentation. You can mention that she was Dharamdas’ disciple and move to the piece that you will present, explaining its basic content.

    The use of tarana by dhrupadiyas wasn’t part of the interpretations of its origin. That was to do with the various spaces that you would find tarana in – qawwali, as part of a khayaliya’s repertoire. Scatting is used to improvise, but also uses mnemonic syllables to simulate the sound/music of the trumpet or other wind instruments from the jazz ensemble.

    More at this evening’s session.

    Regards,

    Aneesh

  •    Reply

    Dear Shubhaji & Aneeshji

    Thank you for a wonderful week. Again, I am left with a tremendous amount of knowledge (and i don’t mean just the songs/compositions we learnt from you) to digest and assimilate and to enhance my enjoyment of music in various forms.

    I particularly appreciated your advice on listening to all types of music and not be close-minded or judgemental about non-Indian or non-classical music. It is difficult for me to do so, but I certainly intend to try.

    Today I attended the “taal express” concert by the Temple of Fine Arts and enjoyed the music from the different states of India. After a long time I heard a lovely Bhangra and realised how much I had been hearing only the bhangra-pop numbers that are blaring out at most parties these days. Could you recommend some good CD albums or artistes to look out for in Bhangra music?

    I hope you had a good trip back home and have recovered from the hectic week here.

    Warm Regards

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    Hi

    When you were here you mentioned about a recommended list of reading books. Could you send that list across? I’d like to get my hands on them and start some reading.

    Thanks a lot

    Kiran

  •    Reply

    Shubha,

    I think it would be a good idea to copy the list of books that the school has ordered, so that everyone on this list knows the kind of catalogue that will be available at the school. They can check with the school if they will be allowed to use the material for reference work at the school premises, so that the children and adults have equal and quick access to all the material. In some cases, others may be interested in acquiring their personal copies and we would be happy to facilitate that through our website whenever possible.

    I think you have the latest list of books, so it would be best if you copy it here.

    Best wishes to all,

    Aneesh

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