Lecture Demonstration on Hindustani Vocal Music at IIT-Madras

Pt. Shyamrao Kulkarni & Dr. Usha Arunachalam
IIT Madras, Chennai – Oct 25th 2012
Venue: CS25
Time: 4.30pm

Tea will be served before the lec-dem

Indian music has several Genres’ ranging from light to classical music. Although all Genres’ can be traced back to melodic patterns embedded in Raga-s, these Genres’ have fundamental differences. This will be explored. In classical music, instrumental music and vocal music are very different. Hindustani music, and in general Indian classical music is based on melody and rhythm, nevertheless it uses the Tanpura as its accompaniment (crucial for vocal music), which is an instrument that is based on Harmonics or “Samvada”. The human voice is like the Tanpura and moves on the basis of harmonics. We will explore the concept of Samvada, and how a Saptaka (scale) is derived from the Samvada.

In the Lecture-Demonstration on Hindustani Vocal Music, we will explore the elements of classical music, which are “Sadja” or the tonal note S from which all notes arise,” Raga” which is a melodic concept and “Tala” or rhythm. We will then explore the concept of Raga as conceived in traditional Hindustani music – one that is composed of a melodic phrase, with a nucleus that revolves around the Vadi. We will explore the difference between Laya and Tala and then explore tempos.

This Lecture will conclude with a 20 minute presentation of a single Raga.

Slides for talk: Lec-Dem-IITM.pdf

The video of the lecture is here.

Pt. Shyamrao Kulkarni (Dharmavrat), originally a musician of the Gwalior Gharānā, was born in 1936 in Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra-India. He was initiated into Hindustānī vocal music at a very early age by his Guru, Bhimrao Mama of Ichalkarnji. Over the years, he has extensively researched several other Gharānā-s including Alladiya Khan Gharānā as well as Gokhale Gharānā, also known as Miyāṅ Gharānā. His musical style is greatly influenced by Alladiya Khan’s Gāyakī. In addition to being both an accomplished musician and a prolific writer, Pt. Shyamrao-ji has a unique approach to vocal music and has developed his own unique style. Pt. Shyamrao-ji currently resides in California and teaches Hindustānī classical music to aspiring students in the Bay Area.

Dr. Usha Arunachalam, a Ph.D and a MBA, is a biotechnologist with over 20 years of business experience with biotech companies. Since 2008, she spends most of her time in learning, preserving and propagating classical Hindustani Music. In addition to learning music from Pt. Shyamrao Kulkarni, she has assisted him in writing his books on “Shyamrao Gharana” and continues to assist him with book translations and other publications.