Nadanamakriya and madhyamasruti (in gen, moving SA to a diff

All about Ragas

#1  Postby ppraghu » 19 May 2009 06:06

Dear Rasikas,

I am a regular reader of different threads in this forum/website and they are very informative and thought-provoking.

I am an amateur flutist, currently located a place abroad where I don't have access to any Carnatic instrumentalists in order to clarify this doubt.

This question is about Raga Nadanamakriya. It has the same notes as Mayamalavagoula, but it is sung in madhyama sruti due to its limited sancharas.

In my understanding, singing (or playing the instrument) in madhyama sruti means that you keep Ma (Sudhamadhyama) as Sa. You would shift the other notes based on this shift in the base frequency. So in the case of Nadanamakriya (and for the scale of MM Goula), the new scale therefore becomes M1 (Sudhamadhyama) M2 (Prathimadhyama) Dha2 (Sudhadhaivatha) N1 (Kaisikinishada) Sa (Shadja) R1 (Sudharishabha) G2 (Sadharanagandhara) M1.

If what I put as the new scale above is true, this does not translate to any melakartha scales (due to the presence of two madhyamas and absence of Pa). Is this really how Nadanamakriya is sung/played? Is it allowed to have two consecutive madhyamas like this ? (Again, not like Behag or Saranga which have clearly distinguished usage of both Ma).

In brief, any experience-sharing from an instrumentalist about how he/she plays Nadanamakriya in madhyamasruti is very much appreciated.

Regards
Raghu
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#2  Postby arunk » 19 May 2009 06:43

madhyama sruthi implies your (i.e. perfomer's) sa is tuned to the ma of the tampura/sruthi-box. So the tampura emits ma sa ma' and if you take that ma as your sa, it simply becomes sa pa sa. This is sort of like theory of relativity :) Basically you are playing the same tunes, same ragas - just at a higher pitch/shruthi.

Put another way. Say C shruthi (1-kattai) is approxly 120Hz. Then C sruthi tampura/sruthi-box for sa-pa-sa would emits something like 120Hz-180Hz-240 (there will be more/other components but this should suffice for simplicity sakes).

For madhyama sruthi, you set the tampura to ma-sa-Ma, and it would be something like

160-240-320 ( ma is 4/3 * sa and thus for a sa of 120, ma is 160. Here 240 is the original sruthi's tara shadjam. It now becomes pa)


Singing/playing in madhyama sruthi for say a male singer who normally sings at C sruthi, would be set the tampura above, and shift the sa higher in pitch to 160 i.e to his ma. The scales/ragas etc. all remain same - he would simply sing everything at a higher pitch.

Arun
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#3  Postby ppraghu » 19 May 2009 08:57

Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation, Arun.

However, I would like to know if your explanation is applicable to only vocal, or if it is for instrumental music as well. Do the instrumentalists shift their fingering to a completely different raga scale when playing a given ragam in madhyama sruthi? (while the vocalists just shift their frequency spectrum)

The reason for my question is this: When I learnt Yamunakalyani about 15 years ago from my flute master, he taught me it in the scale of Sankarabharanam, saying that it is how this ragam is played in madhyama sruti (Sankarabharanam being the madhyama grahabhedam version of Kalyani). He also mentioned that while playing Y.Kalyani in this scale, the bhava of Shanakarabharanam should not come at all ("You should think of Y. Kalyani and never of Shankarabharanam, even when you are using Sankarabharanam's swarams"). In this scale, the "Krishna Nee" keerthanam would start from madhya-sthayi Sudhamadhyamam rather than Shadjam.

I was thinking that the same thing would be applicable to Nadanamakriya as well until I realized that a Sa-to-Ma shift of MMGoula would constitute an obscure, probably illegal, swara scale.

Regards
Raghu
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#4  Postby vasanthakokilam » 19 May 2009 12:29

Raghu: What arun wrote applies to everyone. What your guru taught for Yamuna Kalyani in Madhyama Sruthi is Shankarabaranam fingering and not Shankarabaranam scale. Key difference!! ( no pun intended ;) ) .

On a related topic, try playing your flute treating the regular lower P fingering as S. Several gamakas involving transitions of the sort G-M, M-R, M-P, P-G, etc that are a major pain to play on the flute will become a piece of cake and will sound much sweeter. In my personal opinion, Sahana on the flute sounds much better with such a shift. Of course with such a fingering shift, you can not play below lower 'D' easily and that is a big trade off and so it would not work for pre-composed songs but can work for RTP.
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#5  Postby gn.sn42 » 19 May 2009 12:59

Vedavalli gives a crisp answer to a related question here.

My understanding of this is that for reasons of the raga's (or the kriti's) range, it might help the vocalist to shift their pitch temporarily for that song. With instruments, shifting the pitch is difficult or impossible, and shifting fingering or other playing technique is the answer. Of course, with flutes, it might be possible to simply keep a number of them at different pitches and switch as needed.

I do have a question - why the particular transition of Sa to Ma? That is, why does 120-180-240 shift to 160-240-320 and not say 150-225-300? Is it simply a matter of convention? Or is it because instrumentalists are limited to some fingering combinations, and to carry off a pitch change mid-concert the vocalist has to respect those limits?
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#6  Postby arunk » 19 May 2009 20:29

It could be because early (and today too?) veenas had an open string for ma. Also, chosing ma, means the already well established sa still figures in the equation (thus somewhat compatible). Thus switching to it, doesn't require too much effort .

Just a guess.

Arun
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#7  Postby gn.sn42 » 19 May 2009 23:09

That makes sense. It would also explain why 120-180-240 shifts to 160-240-320 (Ma) and not 180-270-360 (Pa) - not only is Sa more important, the Ma shift is smaller and more manageable.
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#8  Postby arunk » 20 May 2009 19:40

Yes and switching to pa also requires 270 i.e. r2 (atleast one manifestation of it) - for which you don't/didnt have an open string.

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#9  Postby ppraghu » 21 May 2009 04:24

Thank you all very much.

Arun, I liked the mention of "theory of relativity" in your post - a very rightfully put comparison it is!

Vasanthakokilam, I tried the Sahana with P fingering as Sa. The "Vandanamu" came out well (even though I had trouble in playing few gamakams that I was used to when I play in the normal way). The varnam Karunimpa didn't come up well due to the range from mandrasthayi Ma to tharasthayi Ma. Overall, it was a good exercise.

gn.sn42, thanks for the Smt Vedavalli interview link.

One additional question related to NNKriya being played "under the influence of" madhyamasruthi: Usually, sancharams beyond madhyasthayi Ni is not permitted in NNKriya. But when the tamburu is set to madhyamasruti, what is the top-most note one is permitted to use in this raga? Is it tharasthayi Ga? (which is now the Ni equivalent)

Regards
Raghu
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#10  Postby gn.sn42 » 21 May 2009 05:58

I'm outside my competence here, but hey, this is an internet forum :) so here's my take:
You are still playing the madhya stayi Ni. However, the actual frequency corresponding to the Ni is now higher (and corresponds to the OLD tara stayi Ga). A western musician would probably handle this as a formal transposing; but I don't know that a carnatic musician would.
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#11  Postby arunk » 21 May 2009 07:08

raghu,

As gsn.42 says it is still mandra stayi ni. All your nadanamakriya swaras remain as-is since their "labelling" is determined solely by the sadjam that you have set/playing-to. It is just that it is now to set to a certain pitch that happens to the madhyama relative to the original sruthi. But after the switch, in spite of the name "madyama sruthi", you shouldn't think of that particular pitch as madhyama at all - it is now the sadja for your nadanamakriya. This is because, after the switch, the pitch of that original sruthi is completely irrelevant to your nadanamakriya

Basically setting madyama sruthi for say 1 kattai (C) is simply the same as switching to F i.e. 4 kattai (Note: F is C's madhyama C C# (r1) D (r2) D# (g2) E (G3) F (M1) )

Say you play mayamalagowla on C sruthi. Then you switch to F and play nadanamakriya to F sruthi. Now your mandra-ni of nadanamakriya would remain ni - you wouldnt even think of what it is in terms of C-sruthi right? The C-sruthi is completely irrelevant to your nadanamakriya right? This is pretty much the same thing that happens when changing to madyama-sruthi.

Arun
Last edited by arunk on 21 May 2009 07:09, edited 1 time in total.
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#12  Postby vainika » 22 May 2009 18:08

arunk wrote:It could be because early (and today too?) veenas had an open string for ma. Also, chosing ma, means the already well established sa still figures in the equation (thus somewhat compatible). Thus switching to it, doesn't require too much effort .


Contemporary veena tuning does not have an open string for M. However, the second main string away from the player is the open mandra P_, the M fret position of which corresponds to S. Playing S on the M fret position is a necessary feature of using the second string, and this makes the S-M transpose easy even when you play on the main string.
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#13  Postby arunk » 22 May 2009 20:01

Thanks for the clarification ramki.

Arun
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#14  Postby vasanthakokilam » 22 May 2009 21:19

Nice explanation ramki.
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#15  Postby ppraghu » 26 May 2009 06:55

Thanks a lot for your replies, Arun and gn.sn42. This clarifies my question.

Regards
Raghu
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#16  Postby vasanthakokilam » 26 May 2009 09:09

>"Vandanamu" came out well (even though I had trouble in playing few gamakams that I was used to when I play in the normal way).

Raghu, can you tell me which gamakams you had trouble with? Also, is it because of the difficulty in translating the mechanics to the new fingering or due to sancharis in the mandhra sthayi?
Just curious. In my case, I do not even know if what I play is true sahana but the pUrvAnga sounds very sweet with the changed fingering which I don't have the skills to replicate in normal fingering.
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#17  Postby cmlover » 26 May 2009 19:21

Arun
In MMG when you shift Shadjam to madhyama shruti you get Simhendramadhyamam (by shruti bhedam). In otherwords while playing nadanamakriya in the madhyama shruti of MMG you are actually playing with the notes of Simhendramadhyamam. But then you never hear Simhendramadhyamam in nadanamakriya. I guess it is due to the special gamakas as well as phrases peculiar to Nadanamakriya which can never occur in Simhendramadhyamam. Could you explain what these special phrases/gamakama are? Am I right if I say that those prayogas will be 'illegal' in Simhendramadhyamam.
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#18  Postby arunk » 26 May 2009 20:27

cmlover wrote:A In otherwords while playing nadanamakriya in the madhyama shruti of MMG you are actually playing with the notes of Simhendramadhyamam.

No cml. This is NOT sruthi/graha bedham. You are simply playing the same mayamalavagowla scale at a higher pitch. Let me try to explain.

In MMG, from ma, you have M1 P D1 N3 S. Now if we look at the spacing/intervals between adacent swarasthanas we have
2-semitones (M1-P)
1 semi-tone (P-D)
3 semi-tones (D1-N3)
1-semitone (N3-S).

i.e. 2 1 3 1

When you do sruthi bedham of MMG on ma, i.e. take ma as sa, the spacing intervals of the succeeding notes of the original scale i.e. MMG, must remain the same (this rule/conditions defines sruthi bedham as pratised in cm). Our spacing of 2 1 3 1 then translates to simhendramadhyamam
2 semitones (S-R2)
1 semitone (R2-G2)
3 semitones (G2-M2)
1 semitone (M2-P)

But if you instead do madhyama-sruthi MMG, we do shift the adhara sruthi to the pitch of ma like above, but we instead still stick to S R1 G3 M1 P i.e. we stick to the spacing of S-R1 (1), R1-G3 (3) G3-M1 (1) and M1-P (2)i.e. 1 3 2 1 pattern of spacing/interval in semitones rather than the 2 1 3 1 in the sruthi-bedham case. So no simhendramadhyamam.

So raising the Sadja to a different pitch and sticking to the same scale should not be confused to a sruthi bedham to a different pitch of a constituent swarasthana of the same mela.

Arun
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#19  Postby gn.sn42 » 26 May 2009 22:31

arunk, I've said this before, but thank you again for your clear, precise, detailed explanations - here and elsewhere on the forum and on the web. I'm a fan!
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#20  Postby arunk » 26 May 2009 22:33

thanks gsn.42. I am flattered!
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#21  Postby cmlover » 26 May 2009 23:56

Got it Arun! Thanks a lot for the very clear explanation.
Hereafter I will never confuse madhyama shruti with shrutibhedam!
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#22  Postby srikant1987 » 29 May 2009 08:42

A In otherwords while playing nadanamakriya in the madhyama shruti of MMG you are actually playing with the notes of Simhendramadhyamam.

simhendra madhyamam doesn't have shuddha madhyamam at all.
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#23  Postby cmlover » 29 May 2009 09:05

The point has been clarified
madhyama shruti is not shruti bhedam!
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#24  Postby ppraghu » 03 Jun 2009 05:53

vasanthakokilam wrote:>"Vandanamu" came out well (even though I had trouble in playing few gamakams that I was used to when I play in the normal way).

Raghu, can you tell me which gamakams you had trouble with? Also, is it because of the difficulty in translating the mechanics to the new fingering or due to sancharis in the mandhra sthayi?
Just curious. In my case, I do not even know if what I play is true sahana but the pUrvAnga sounds very sweet with the changed fingering which I don't have the skills to replicate in normal fingering.


Vasanthakokilam, the places where I had difficulty were these (w.r.t. Karunimpa varnam in Sahana):

1) Pa Dha Ma Paa. In the new fingering, this would become Ri Ga Sa Rii. When Ma is played with Sa fingering, you don't get that Sahana raaga rasam!

2) The famous Sahana prayogam Pa Ma Ga Ma R Ga Ri Sa: In the new fingering, this becomes Ri Sa Ni Sa Dha Ni Dha Pa. Again, when Ga is played as Ni (Kakali Nishadam) fingering, you don't get the Sahana rasam. In normal fingering, Sahana Ga is taken with all fingers closed - like Sudha madhyamam - with an inward tilt/oscillation of the flute.

Regards
Raghu
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#25  Postby vasanthakokilam » 03 Jun 2009 11:57

(We will move the sahana conversation to another thread later on if needed ).

Raghu: I understand the trouble ;) Especially for Ga, I had to muck with the Ni position a bit to get it to sound right. The same 'High Ni' position does not quite work for me either.

I am not well versed in playing sahAna but when I try to imitate something that sounds sahAnAish with the new fingering it sounds better to my ears than with the traditional fingering.
This is mainly due to my lack of the required tilt-skills for smooth transitions for ma-pa and ma-ga and the reverse, the equivalent of violinists' smooth slide and vainikas' pull of the string.
The new fingering enables me to do those with finger movements and blow control.

I tried your two situations along with a few of my own. I have uploaded this short snippet to ensips here. I do not know if my way of doing 'ri' as 'ga ma ri' is kosher for sahAnA or not. I tried to play that gamaka a few different ways. In places, it sounds like the long drawn out bANi used in padams.

http://www.esnips.com/doc/8a75b0b9-e307-434f-8dbe-eb906eef4288/SahanaOnFlutewithPaAsSa

I can definitely use some feedback from everyone (with the cavest that this may not strictly adhere to sahAna.)
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