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Ramasubramanian M.K wrote:I agree with PMI on the pitch aspect-- he tried to avoid playing when the vocalist--no matter how great a Vidwan he may be (a la MDR)--had a sruthi below Oru Kattai--First the mridangam would sound like "as if the instrument was immersed in a deep well for days"--his own words. At the same time his reason for avoiding female vocalists was that the pitch was on the other side high side--only when even the female vocalists like DKP and MLV--due to aging--had lowered their pitches he began accompanying them -not because of any other ulterior(financial) motives attributed to him by detractors !!
PMI was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT especially given the TERRIBLE ACCOUSTICS of halls & the ANTIQUATED PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS still being used in CHENNAI. VKV
Re; his objection to the mike ( in addition to the pitch aspect he riled about) was due to his penchant for preparing his Mridangam for a concert--the work on the Meettu Chapu and Thoppi parts that he does prior to the concert--no last minute rushing to the stage and tuning the instrument -- should be seen to be believed.His point against the mike(as expressed to me by his son Rajamony--no self-serving statement --I can assure the readers) was that without the mike his playing and his instrument would sound far superior to others--whereas the mike plays the role of leveller(sort of dumbing-down if you will) and that his distinctive playing may not be really distinguishable(I am no acoustic expert and as such I have to take his statement @ face value!!).
Ramasubramanian M.K wrote:...
As an aside about vocalists'pitches; I HAVE HEARD A STORY ABOUT T.CHOWDIAH'S EXPERIMENT WITH 7 STRINGS(VS NORMAL 4)--he found the vocalists' pitches(of his times!!!) too low that it was not possible to display of his talents --hence he invented the 7 strings that gave the volume that would "drown" out the low pitch!!! Imagine he accompanied Chembai,Naina Pillai and others of his times whose pitch was far higher than the ones that followed them. if even these pitches were considered low by accompaniments,PMI's views on pitch seem to be justified!!!
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