Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
A thaat is a musical mode in Hindustani music which always has seven notes (excluding the repeated tonic) and is considered the basis for the system of organizing and classifying ragas in North Indian classical music. The notion of thaat, and the ten basic categories, were created by Pt. Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande in the early decades of the twentieth century.
A thaat is a specific set of notes or swara. The idea for Thaat or mode originated in the Carnatic music tradition, where it was described as mela around 1640 A.D. by the musicologist Venkatamakhi. Bhatkhande visited many of the gharanas or traditions of Indian Classical music, and conducted a detailed analysis of the Indian Raga system, to come up with this set of ten thaats - this reflected a tradeoff between the degree of fit between a raga and its thaat, and the keeping the number of basic thaats small.
Each thaat contains a different combination of altered (vikrt) and natural (shuddha) notes. The flatting or sharping of pitches always occurs with reference to the interval pattern in Bilawal thaat. It is important to note that, as in the Western church modes, each thaat is a series of intervals, not a series of notes. That is, one can arbitrarily designate any pitch as Sa (the tonic) and build the series from there.
There are ten generally accepted thaats:
1. Bilawal (=Ionian mode): S R G m P D N S'
2. Khamaj (=Mixolydian mode): S R G m P D n S'
3. Kafi (=Dorian mode): S R g m P D n S'
4. Asavari (=Aeolian mode): S R g m P d n S'
5. Bhairavi (=Phrygian mode): S r g m P d n S'
6. Bhairav: S r G m P d N S'
7. Kalyan (=Lydian mode): S R G M P D N S'
8. Marwa: S r G M P D N S'
9. Poorvi: S r G M P d N S'
10. Todi: S r g M P d N S'
Bhatkhande applied the term thaat only to scales which fulfill the following rules:
1. A thaat must have seven notes
2. The notes must be in sequence S R G M P D N (whether suddh or vikrid position - both versions af a single note are not allowed
3. A thaat does not have separate ascending and descending lines (as do ragas)
4. A thaat has no emotional quality (ragas, by definition, have)
5. Thaats are named after a prominent raga in order to make then easy to remember
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas.
Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. Indian classical music has its origins as a meditation tool for attaining self realization. All different forms of these melodies (Ragas) are believed to affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the Kundalini. However, there is little mention of these esoteric beliefs in Bharat's Natyashastra, the first treatise laying down the fundamental principles of drama, dance and music. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, created out of Riga-Veda so that its hymns could be sung as Samagana, established its first pop.
Indian classical music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed. Like Western classical music, it divides the octave into 12 semitones of which the 7 basic notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, in order, replacing Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do. However, it uses the just intonation tuning (unlike Western classical music which uses the equal temperament tuning system).
Indian classical music is monophonic in nature and based around a single melody line which is played over a fixed drone. The performance is based melodically on particular ragas and rhythmically on talas.
The two main streams of Indian classical music are:
• Hindustani classical music, originally from North India
• Carnatic music (Karnataka Sangeetham), originally from South India
Ancient texts give fundamental rules of Indian music but modern writings of Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, Prof. Lalit Kishore Singh, Dr. Lalmani Misra, Acharya Brahaspati, Thakur Jaidev Singh, Prof. R.C. Mehta, Dr. Premlata Sharma, Dr. Subhadra Choudhary, Dr. Indrani Chakravarty, Dr. Ashok Ranade, Aban E. Mistry etc. have given a scientific basis to Indian music system. Besides these, scholars from other streams have also written about music. There are a number of biographies of Indian musicians although some critics feel that Indian litterateurs have not paid due attention to Indian classical music.