Manodharma Sangita is generally believed to be totally based on the knowledge and creative abilities of an individual. The popular notion is that it can neither be taught nor learnt. More over, many are used to write much about Manodharma Sangita praising its greatrness but nothing clear in which way it could be acquired by a perfect plan of action. Some are used to say that it should be started cultivating right from the Saralisvaras singing them with all the required Gamakas. But, unfortunately, they don’t realise that it is suicidal to initiate a newly born kid to run fast. Many are used to harp on learning as many compositions as the aspirant can in each Raga. But, unfortunately, they don’t realise that it is absolutely foolish like collecting 10 grams of rice from each shop and thus to collect rice from 10 different shops to make it 100 grams in total and the same applies even to Ragas also. More over, can’t the music-teacher, having already learnt many compositions in the same Raga and being more knowledgeable, ably bring out the full picture of the Raga by any means and give it in a nutshell to the aspirant?
More over, the adament conservatives are dead against either to ably notate the compositions or even to listen to and follow the pre-recorded cassettes or CDs. Very sadly, none of our musicians never strived hard even to symbolise all the different oscillatiions of notes either to bring them nearer to the common music-teacher or even to preserve these compositions along with the true notations for the posterity. Ultimately, due to the fanatic and lunatic musicians, we have umpteen number of different notations to the same composition on one hand and far more than 75% of the aspirants are being ditched into the monotonous process of quantitative teaching on the other. To tell the fact the real problem lies with our conservative musicians only. While the westerners strived hard to fully standardise the system of their western music, pitiably, none of our musicians did so in fully standardising the system of our music though our system is older than any other system of music on the globe. Unfortunately, each and every musician in our country resorts to teach whatever little he knows and wants to, somehow, throw the responsibility of acquiring the knowledege of Manodharma Sangita on the aspirant only very conveniently escaping away from it. But, my extensive research obviously revealed that the aspirant could very easily and very quickly acquire the knowledge of Manodharma Sangita if an efficient, honest and reliable teacher properly initiates him/her in doing things on his/her own by going through the respective audio and video files consisting the needed rhythmical and musical lessons regularly and vigorously pacticing them under the guidance and supervision of this able teacher. As this music is a performing art, right from the beginning of the process of teaching or learning, it must be made perfomance oriented and the aspirant must be initiated in doing things of this performance on his own.
In our country no Indian even dreams anything against the Guru or the husband. To tell the truth, the teacher, the Guru is treated even more than the mother. For example, if a mother has to feed her five children among which each one eats of different quantity, different taste and at different timings she always feeds only highly energetic food of her knowledge but not any husk at all to each and every kid with more quantity than what he/she eats in general. That is the greatest quality of every mother in nature. In the same manner, the Guru should also feel his/her responsibility to feed his student only energetic food removing the non-energetic stuff. Even in respect of feeding him/her the knowledge of music the knowledgeable Guru must feed him/her the energetic number of musical-items only like 6 or 8 Nos. of Saralees, 4 Nos. of Jantas and Datus, only 6 Nos. of Gitas (which need not be exihibited on any dais) to give him/her acquaintance with all the 12 different notes and select Varnas only to give him/her proper acquaintance with all the different oscillations. Thus, the teacher, the Guru who makes the process of learning more easy, quicker, efficient and energetic always stands the best. I never teach directly to my student beyond Varnas but make him efficient to proceed further from even the first Kriti and I cannot call him/her a Guru who directly teaches even beyond Varnas. As most of our music-teachers are more eager in fully utilising the modern technologies like creating their own websites or blogs etc., etc., for their own benefit but not in modernising the methods in teaching music at all for the benefit of the aspirants or their parents or even the art, mostly impotents are being produced by many of our music-teachers or music-institutions or music-departments in Universities. Fortunately enough many are not aware of it.
While properly analysing this aspect, one must take into consideration, the five divisions of Manodharma Sangita which are the Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi, Niraval and Svarakalpana. It is evident that all these five divisions are bound by rhythm. While Rhythm is inherent in Ragam, it is metered in all other divisions except in Tanam. This corroborates the basic importance of rhythm and also calls for a methodology which is rhythm oriented. It is vital to understand that a proper base in the aspects of rhythm is fundamental to one’s training. It stimulates the blossoming of one’s creative abilities which is the essence of our Manodharma Sangita. A strong Laya is also crucial to the rendering of finer musical attributes such as the production of Gamakas and other subtle nuances. A Laya-oriented training instils tremendous confidence in the aspirant and equips him/her to face any musical challenge. To facilitate the same, intricate rhythmical exercises are formulated and taught as per the easy, effective, innovative and qualitative methods in teaching music. In the novel system of training these exercises are introduced at the very beginning of the curriculum so as to lay a strong foundation even among the kids unlike in the past.
My extensive research obviously revealed that the regular practice of certain intricate rhythmical exercises even from the very beginning of the curriculum enables the aspirant get the required acquaintance and control over rhythm. For this, at the first instance, even before the first Saralisvara, it is most essential to assess the instinctive rhythmical abilities of the aspirant and in strengthening them the aspirant must be initiated to follow the Jati-alankaras, newly formulated for the first time in the history of music, starting with Eka-tala (4-units) with only beats of both the hands but not with Talangas at all and proceeding further with Rupaka (6-units), Mathya (10-units) and Dhruva (14-units) which are devoid of longer-units and later with Jhampa (10-units) and Ata (14-units) each carrying longer-units and lastly the Alankara in Triputa having odd-number of Kriyas, all with beats only, in a gradually increasing order of value of the Kriyas. To make it easier to the aspirant even the seriatim of these Alankaras has thus been modified accordingly.
By constant listening to any fixed pre-recorded music the listener can imitate the same perfectly. That is why many are able to listen to the readily available CDs of the inspirative and even intoxicating film songs several times and perfectly imitate them. By this we can very well understand that many are having the required instinctive talent to follow the readily available CD of any film song and reproduce it very easily, quickly and efficiently. In the same manner more than 75% of the people can very easily, quickly and efficiently reproduce even classical compositions if they are given in the form of a fixed pre-recorded audio CD along with its exact notation. That is why, even though the conservatives cry out aloud against me, I have tried my level best to standardise our crucial Gamakas by properly symbolising and bringing them within the reach of the common music-teacher unlike in the past. We are enlightening our students in all these symbolised Gamakas initiating them to sing along with the Varnas supplied in the audio CD in which the select Varnas are sung @ one note per each second magnifying all the oscillations in a disciplined manner to be helpful to the aspirant. The able music-teacher who sings each and every Varna @ one note per each second magnifying and demonstrating all the respective oscillations can only make the aspirant sufficiently efficient not only to proceed further in learningf Kritis on his own but also in singing Svarakalpana and Ragalapana even without learning more number of compositions in that Raga as believed and insisted by all our performing musicians. At the end of learning Varnas if the aspirant is unable to learn Kritis on his own it obviously reveals only the inefficiency in teaching.
Here at Hyderabad, in our music-institute, Svarabhangima, the only music-institute of its kind on the globe, I can proudly tell, this novel qualitative method of teaching and learning is being followed successfully. While there were only 8 kids learning Vocal music in 2009 now there are nearly 80 kids of very high standards. While all of them are able to render both Chaturashra and Trisra-gatis of all the Alankaras efficiently, 50% of the students are able to render 4, 6 & 8-units of both Purvanga and Uttaranga of all the 9 Varnas they have learnt, 30% of the students can render all the 27 Special Laya-exercises in Eka & Dvi-kalas and all the Alankaras @ 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, & 8-units efficiently and 16 students are able to sing a concert of 30 to 45 minutes with Ragalapana and intricate mathematical Svarakalpana efficiently.
In this connection, a special mention must be made about the ‘Mullapoodi School of Mridangam’ here. As per my knowledge, it started from late Shri Mullapoodi Lakshmana Rao of Vizianagaram (1904-1970). Chi. Mullapoodi Shreerama Murthy, the recently retired Top-grade Staff Artist of Mridangam, All India Radio, Vishakhapatnam, is the son and successor of this great school. Accidentally, I happened to learn a little from this school and it has become handy to formulate different intricate rhythmical patterns for the aspirants and to train them accordingly. Later, I have even codified, symbolized and furnished, in detail, three kinds of them for six-talas of our daily usage, in my book, Sangita Svararaga Sudha (Telugu & English) in the 6th chapter. They are also included as the 28th SLE in the list of Special-laya-exercises. The audio-files of some of them have even been furnished in my CD, AMS Easy Methods-2007, under the head ‘Jati & Svara-muktayis’.
Now, for the benefit of our aspirants, I have demonstrated few patterns of them along with few other exercises pertaining to the ‘Prastara-muktayis’ in terms of Jatis and Svaras and started uploading the respective videos to the playlists, AMS-Kalpanasvara-exercises-1, 2 & 3 of ‘Youtube - msakella’s Youtube’. The relevant details along with the respective pdf files in Telugu and English languages are also uploaded to http://www.sangeethamshare.org/chandra/ ... hods-2007/
1.AMS-Kalpanasvara-exercises-1: 01.Trisra-rupakam - 5 video-files 02.Rupakam - 6 video files 03.Triputa - 7 video files (5+6+7 = 18) further consisting of 3 varieties of files each (18 x 3 = 54) and 2 files each for Jati and Svara (54 x 2 = 108) pertaining to ‘Jati & Svara endings with Tala-cycle’, are furnished for easy comprehension.
2.AMS-Kalpanasvara-exercises-2: 01.Trisra-rupakam 02.Rupakam 03.Chapu and 04.Adi (medium-tempo)-each one of them carrying 10 video-files (4 x 10 = 40) in which Prastara-muktayis i.e., Muktayis based on Prastaras, rendered in both Jati and Svara (40 x 2 = 80) are furnished to make it more comprehensible.
3.AMS-Kalpanasvara-exercises-3: 01.Trisra-rupakam 02.Rupakam 03.Triputa and 04.Adi- three symbolised Muktayis pertaining to the ‘Multiples of Tala-cycle syncopated with Jati’ Muktayis (4 x 3 = 12) are rendered in each of the above Talas in (a) 5 (Khanda) (b) 6 (Divya-sankeerna) and (c) 7 (Mishra) jati-units (12 x 3 = 36).They are rendered both in Jati and Svara (36 x 2 = 72) and are furnished for better understanding.
Interested aspirants can also refer my book, Sangita Svararaga Sudha for more patterns of the same and their respective details. Based on regular and strenuous practice, the aspirant must gain abundant acquaintance with all these Jati and Svara patterns and should be able to create his own patterns. Every aspirant must also practice to sing all these patterns in terms of Svaras in all other Melakarta ragas and Janya-ragas having 6 notes and 5 notes along with their relevant combinations such as Charukeshi, Sarasangi, Lathangi, Vachaspati, Malayamarutham, Shreeranjani, Mohana, Hamsadhavani .They should also be practiced in Varja-ragas and Vakra-ragas. It is strongly recommended that the aspirants should practice rendering all these Jati and Svara patterns right from Gitas and Varnas very strictly along with the Metronome in order to get better acquaintance with different patterns of Laya and Svaras.
Now, we shall see how many of our music-teachers sincerely and honestly come forward to follow this novel methods of teaching for the benefit of our kids and their respective parents and upload the relevant videos of their talanted students to ‘Youtube’ bringing out their truthfulness towards this sacred fine-art. amsharma