Lapses In Raaga Rendition

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Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#1  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 31 Mar 2012 07:43

I have been listening to (and practicing to some extent) carnatic music for about five decades now.

I have noticed that in raga rendition by many a singer (including front liners), many lapses occur especially in bhriga execution or kalpanaswaraprastaara. The average listener mostly does not take cognizance of them and others often pardon in view for the 'otherwise excellent presentation'!

Bhrigas in raga aalapana by nagaswaram artists (except doyens like Tiruvaduthurai, Karukurichi and the like ) have been potential sources of slips.

Mistakes in laya aspects by percussionists are also comfortably ignored.

While such artists need not be 'blatantly exposed' in reviews, they must be made aware of the lapses by gurus or by responsible rasika-s by talking to them in person.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#2  Postby ganeshkant » 31 Mar 2012 11:07

Sivaramakrishnan,your point well taken.But unfortunately most of the artists are thin skinned.Already hindu N.rAm made a comment and we all know the repercussions.But this I am writing from my personal experience.Even in FB if you convey your feelings of this nature (i.e shortcomings of some nature or other) which is totally private the artists don't reply.What they (most of them)want is only flattery.Because if you send them a message flattering about their performance they sure send you a reply in 2words 'thank you '.But even if you point out some thing very genuine which is not flattery they won't reply you.It is really a sorry state of affair.What to do ?
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#3  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 31 Mar 2012 13:18

Thanks Ganeshkant for pointing out the truth.

But the 'taken for granted' attitude of artists needs to be controlled at least by influential rasikas/vidwans.

I am forced to compare us with Hindustani musicians whose swara placement is near perfect. At least they do not experiment on the stage.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#4  Postby karthikbala » 31 Mar 2012 17:01

One should be thankful for small mercies...our standards are so low in Carnatic music! If the singer of the day even has a serviceable voice and can deliver good music at least sporadically, it is your luck day mate! All sorts of voiceless wonders are passed off as "singers". There is no retirement for Carnatic singers; they can perform long past their prime, the consequences be damned.
One should not expect too much of a performing art in which there is not even a single professionally managed institution with any credibility, or where ticket sales are largely irrelevant (indeed a paying public barely exists for CM). If CM keeps going on the path of ignoring audience outreach and performance standards, it will also be reduced to the status of a quaint cultural curiosity, such as "Poi Kaal Kudhirai Aatam", Morris dancing etc.
Our sabha system is patronage driven. Very few artistes regardless of talent, can just blaze their way to the top in CM. They have to scratch and slime their way up. They are consequently not dependent on you, your continued buying of their tickets or recordings, whatever.
You, my friend, are irrelevant!
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#5  Postby VK RAMAN » 31 Mar 2012 19:24

WOW! blanket statements do not add credence. Please add some audio recordings without artists name and then analyse frame to frame. Probably rasikas can understand and learn from your expertise. Learned rasikas among us can add to your observation.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#6  Postby vasanthakokilam » 01 Apr 2012 02:37

karthikbala, I understood Sivaramakrishnan's point to be about the slip-ups that are noticeable by the cognoscente but you are painting a much bleaker picture about performance standards in general. Is the current state of CM, as heard in major sabhas, really that bad?
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#7  Postby karthikbala » 01 Apr 2012 08:28

When it comes to the few professional and gifted artistes we have, I am actually more tolerant than the OP. With the emphasis on improvisation in CM, I do not mind the occasional slip provided it is not too jarring or embarrassing. What I find disappointing is the all too prevalent ineptitude when it comes to voice production, negotiation of high pitched notes, tonal quality, and overall aesthetics. Shouting, screeching, humming, nasal tone, and otherwise unpleasant singing is brushed under the carpet in the name of vidwat, acquired taste and whatnot. CM is not a nascent art form for heavens sake! There have been enough vocally resplendent singers over the decades who have shown the way!

EVERY major sabha bar none, has a good chunk of moonlighting amateurs who really do not have the vocal resources to be singing in public, let alone in primetime concerts. EVERY major sabha bar none, every year presents way too many concerts that are unlistenable, as is evident from the near-empty halls that are common for some singers who have lost it vocally, or never had it to begin with. Some totally unlistenable singers, with the connivance of the organisers sing to an empty hall barring a handful of family members and friends. They don't care as long as they get their name on enough season schedules, their NRI students and sponsors are not going to be any wiser!
Forget about identifying and grooming new talent etc., if sabhas just stop propping up the embarrassments, CM will get a well-deserved facelift!
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#8  Postby varsha » 01 Apr 2012 20:28

I am perplexed at the idea of looking at a concert as though we are admiring a finished painting , to marvel at .
The reference to HM artists being less guilty is more amusing .
Right now ,
I am listening to an old concert recording of Veena Sahasrabuddhe in Yaman . The opening phrases were not to my taste ( I quipped to myself that she was yawning to loosen her jaws .) The finale in the tharana is not great too . But the intervening 30 minutes of the raga , she creates a magic spell with her disciples .

My point is that Concerts will always be like a curates egg .Always good in parts . Especially when the process of calling it Good /Not Good is as complex as in the Review benches of Cm . It is in the nature of the creative process of this art .
I go to a concert fully believing that the artist sincerely has worked at the art and if lucky , I will have a good day .
The rest of the discussion is immaterial - as to who sponsors etc . If there is a room for change , it is there in the sense there has to be a more level playing field for all kinds of artists , many of them who dont know how to push their envelopes . Based on merit .
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#9  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 02 Apr 2012 22:11

varsha, you are just in your attempt perhaps to round off the discussion.
I maintain that if artists find that seniors/rasika-s are able to recognise lapses, they will be more responsible on the dais.

Once during the tani for his concert, Chembai found that the aspiring percussionist had a tendency to accelerate ('Oattam'). After joining him at the end of the tani, Chembai made a subtle remark: "he's young and you could notice the speed". And that worked!

A 'filmy' instance. The film Sankarabharanam released in the eighties was a shot in the arm for carnatic music. One number is a sloka by SP Balasubramaniam 'Manikyaveenaam upalaalayantheem' set to kalyani. But after the line 'Chaturbhujey chandrakalaavatamse', SPB sings a phrase which 'sounds' like kedaragowla. The story goes that someone had pointed out this to him and he corrected himself humbly.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#10  Postby shripathi_g » 14 Apr 2012 13:05

How does one get to listen to bad music? As someone living outside of India, I get to attend only a few concerts and even then I'm very picky about who I listen to. With more options in India, wouldn't you always try and listen to good music? Even when I listen to music on sangeethapriya, I'm very picky and will not hesitate to switch the music off if the rendition is bad. One thing I find with the current generation is that there's no originality in their music. Most students seem to follow the Semmangudi bani and render the same old songs in the same manner with no bhavam whatsoever. Staying in shruthi and keeping the talam seem to be the biggest challenge. Hardly any scope for innovation. The current generation struggles with too many distractions (I know since I'm part of it) and probably finds it difficult to devote their complete attention to music.

I was listening to a MDR-LGJ-VR RTP-Saveri on my way to work this morning. The way MDR started the thanam and the way LGJ responded gave me the chills. I wanted to go back home and spend the rest of the day listening to music. I don't experience anything close to that with the current day musicians though I must admit that MDR had been singing for 40+ years at that point.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#11  Postby rajeshnat » 14 Apr 2012 15:17

shripathi
Are you the same shripathi_g , the jogger who has MDR and MMI as his favourites.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#12  Postby vasanthakokilam » 14 Apr 2012 21:57

>But after the line 'Chaturbhujey chandrakalaavatamse', SPB sings a phrase which 'sounds' like kedaragowla.
> The story goes that someone had pointed out this to him and he corrected himself humbly.

Sivaramakrishnan, I am confused a bit. Does the corrected version sounds like Kedara gowla or we do not hear that since he corrected it from KG to Kalyani before the song was released?

Also, can you elaborate what you mean by 'Shankarabaranam movie was a shot in the arm for CM'? Thanks.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#13  Postby shripathi_g » 14 Apr 2012 22:01

@rajeshnat, yes I am. I forgot the password for the other account and created this one a while back.

Favorites would be an understatement. Gods would be more appropriate since I consider music as my religion.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#14  Postby rajeshnat » 15 Apr 2012 06:19

shripathi wrote:@rajeshnat, yes I am. I forgot the password for the other account and created this one a while back.



Mods
Possibly you can contact shripathi and reset his password of shripathi_g , so that he can continue without any lapses and continue jogging in his original id.

(Mod note: Sripathi, you should be able to reset your password using this link: ucp.php?mode=sendpassword )
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#15  Postby shripathi_g » 16 Apr 2012 02:32

Thanks. It didn't work back then. Seems to work now.
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Re: Lapses In Raaga Rendition

#16  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 22 Apr 2012 06:06

vasanthakokilam,
The wrong version was of course carried in the soundtrack as well as in the recordings!

The correction must have been a subsequent development and I have never listened to SPB singing it in any platform.

You may listen to the song and enjoy Kedaragoula in the company of kalyani!

I am unable to provide any link - sure it must be available on the net.
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