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Posts published in October 2017

Mandolin U Srinivas – Mozart of Indian Classical Music

“Music is a divine gift. Whatever you play, it should touch the soul. How does it come? If you enjoy what you play, then you can make others enjoy”. Career in the classical arts is not often remembered for courage. Too many other elements tend to intrude into the discussion, and to be prized heavily by purists: a stickler to tradition, for example, or the flourishes of genius, or capacious knowledge. But it is courage that most plainly marks out…

Progression in basic lessons in Carnatic Music

What next after the varases? This is one question that pops into the mind of every beginner. Once a student is through with the basic lessons i.e. sarale varase, janti varase, taggusthaayi varase, taarasthaayi varase, dhaatu varase and alankaara, before proceeding to learn the pillarigeethe and sanchari geethe, one litmus test to see if he/she is ready to learn different types of geethe is to sing the basic lessons in three speeds continuously. If possible, the three speeds can be…

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar: The Trailblazer

“I was greatly influenced by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. I do not want another life. But if there is one, I want to be able to sing like Ramanuja Iyengar” exclaimed the doyen of Carnatic Music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar popularly known as Ariyakudi, was born in  Ariyakudi, a town in Karaikudi district near Tamil Nadu, in 1890, to Tiruvenkatacharya, who was a famous astrologer and veda exponent. Music Initiation Ariyakudi started learning under Pudukoti Malayappa Iyer at the…

Music beyond boundaries: The story of Jon B. Higgins

“It was a grey chilly morning on December 7th, 1984. Jon Higgins rushed to my house carrying his cassette recorder and folders containing sheets of swara-notated music and his electronic shruti box. We sat together cross-legged on the rug preparing to begin our music lesson, but first turned to a discussion of our forthcoming trip to South Africa and to the political problems there that warranted some concern. Jon expressed his feelings as to why he thought we should take…

Importance of practising basic lessons in Carnatic music

This article introduces you to the fundamentals of Carnatic music. It also tells you the relevance and importance of practising the beginner lessons such as sarali varase/varisai as part of your everyday practice. An introduction to swaras Swara is the most fundamental concept in Carnatic music. It plays a similar role to that of a ‘note’ in western music, but has a distinct character. There are seven swaras in Carnatic music: S for Shadja (sung as Sa), R for Rishabha (sung as…

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