Emoting in music - Can bhava of saHithya overwhelm the singe

Ideas and innovations in Indian classical music

#1  Postby paddu » 02 Apr 2007 16:40

Hi Everyone,
I am not sure, if I could put this under Technical Discussion... if not kindly pardon me.

I don't how many of you experience this, but some times, while singing (when I understand the meaning of the song and am totally involved in singing).... I am so overwhelmed, that I get chocked and I cannot continue to sing. For example, when I try, kurrai orndrum iLLai.. (though I do not completely understand tamil, but I know the essence of this song)... When I begin the charanam, I fail most of the times to complete it.

So my questions are two fold -
Is it essential to be involved with the sahithya, to get the bhava?
If so, should I switch to some instrumental music?
How does one over come this ..... short coming, if I may say?


Thanks
Paddu
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#2  Postby arasi » 02 Apr 2007 20:58

Paddu,
When disposing off of sAhityam in music seems to be a popular subject to discuss, it is refreshing to hear you say that you get carried away by the impact of sAhityA! I have a problem too. I get carried away to the point of forgetting the beat! Then again, it is worth it, because if tyAgarAjA's words elevate us, it is worth our while (and his). Yes, rAgAnubhavA can transport us too, but then, what about the value of viruttams?
Paddu, you would find words to the effect of what you are saying, in the lyrics themselves--the composers feeling the same thing that you seem to feel! So, consider it a gift, rather than a hinderance! Even the most able instrumentalists don't ignore the words. When they play, it is not just the beauty of the rAgA which impels them--it is the lyrics too. TNS, as beautifully as he can explore a rAgA, can also give new life to kamban's or tyAgarAjA's gem like words...
Last edited by arasi on 02 Apr 2007 21:00, edited 1 time in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 11877
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30

#3  Postby msakella » 02 Apr 2007 21:30

Dear brother-member, paddu, Yours is a very nice question and also the question of this hour. In the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ that Yogi delared that Music is fully philosophical. Even without any lyric if music itself is fully philosophical, what happens if philosophical-lyric is also added to such music - in fact, that is the criteria in singing the compositions of our Great Saints. While singing for yourself, if you are able to attain that kind of elevated level, really, you are a blessed soul. It is the only essential thing for a musician to be involved with the Sahitya along with its Bhava. This is not a short coming at all. Why should you try to overcome this, when it is the only essential thing to attain? While singing the Anupallavi - ‘Emi Neramamma Nanu Brochutaku Eeshwari Jagadeeshwari Shankari’ - of ‘Kamalamba Naa Chintadeerchavamma - Kanada - Adi’
the same thing happens to me even the 1000th time.
Long long ago, when I was regularly playing a number of concerts, I was searching many books containing Kritis in notatioin for new Krits containing mind elevating lyric. Once, it so happened that, in such process I came across ‘Talachinantane Naatanuvemo Jhallanera - Mukahri - Adi’ of Thyagaraja in one of the volumes written by Rangaramanuja Iyyengar. The lyric of it was so captivating that I re-tuned it in a different way than the given notation to suit my mood and sang it hundreds of times with over-whelmed effect. I have also taught this to my friend, G. Balakrishnaprasad of Tirupati and, in turn, he taught this to his Aunt, Smt. Play-back Janaki and at last she cut a gramophone record singing this Kriti with the same notation. This notation was acclaimed by many of our musicians and they have also learnt and sang it in many of their concerts without knowing this truth. In fact, in respect of the lyric of this Kriti I could not resist myself but have modified the Pallavi ‘Talachinantane Naa Tanuvemo Jhallu Jhallanera’, instead of a single ‘Jhallu’ I have added still another ‘Jhallu’ and got satisfied. You can also refer it if you are interested. With all the best wishes to get yourself over-whelmed both by music and lyric, amsharma.
msakella
 
Posts: 1458
Joined: 30 Sep 2006 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

#4  Postby paddu » 02 Apr 2007 21:37

Thank you arasi and amsharma , for the encouraging words.
But then what is the dharma of a singer? I mean, this feeling is so personal. You can never explain this to your listener. I know music can touch people at different levels. So, what is the first duty of the singer ....... Sing to the oneself or try to take listeners to your level. Sing only those songs which will give me immense pleasure (I really get high when I understand the song and sing) or sing those which the rasikas want?

I don't want to sound clichéd - but should I not be true to myself and sing ?

Am I taking this discussion ..... some where else?

Thanks
Paddu
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#5  Postby arasi » 02 Apr 2007 22:12

You are talking about performing. Yes, it is not the same. However, if you have not internalized the bhAvam, however perfectly you present your song, something would still be missing. There are those rasikas who don't mind it at all, but others like me, would still miss something.
We rasikAs come in so many varieties...:)
Last edited by arasi on 02 Apr 2007 22:14, edited 1 time in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 11877
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30

#6  Postby msakella » 03 Apr 2007 02:35

Dear brother-member, paddu, Every Shastra of our country is mainly based on philosophy and one has to sing his own music alone only for his self but not for others at all. But, in our mundane life, we do so many things for others half-heartedly or full-heartedly and in the same manner we should also sing for others as we have to struggle
for survival. In spite of all this, if we find the real time to do things in a manner they should be, we should sing music for our self alone. That is why, even though I am a top-ranking Violinist and also a Vocalist, 15 yrs. back I have given-up my concert carrier and if at all I have to sing I shall sing like a Lecture demonstration without any accompaniments at all and with my self-designed Electronic-automatic-tambura only. amsharma.
msakella
 
Posts: 1458
Joined: 30 Sep 2006 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

#7  Postby arasi » 03 Apr 2007 07:50

paddus happen to come in both genders--with shortened versions of the names Padma and Padmanabhan, for instance--wondering whether you are brother or sister...:)
Last edited by arasi on 03 Apr 2007 07:50, edited 1 time in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 11877
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30

#8  Postby msakella » 03 Apr 2007 08:56

Dear brother-member, arasi, However, hope, not the third. amsharma.
msakella
 
Posts: 1458
Joined: 30 Sep 2006 21:16
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ind

#9  Postby paddu » 03 Apr 2007 10:37

arasi wrote:paddus happen to come in both genders--with shortened versions of the names Padma and Padmanabhan, for instance--wondering whether you are brother or sister...:)

I am your sister Padmini :).
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#10  Postby coolkarni » 03 Apr 2007 11:27

Your question brings back memories of a fine video that I saw long long ago ( I have lost hope of seeing it again)
It was a recording of the after-dinner speeches when Hitchcock was given the award for Lifetime achievement.
All his noteworthy collaborators- actors, technicians etc - were seated at different tables , and as the path breaking sequence from his movies were screened , one after the other, the person closely involved with him gave a short speech about how Hitch made a difference to their art.

When Ingrid Bergmans turn comes , she tells of an interesting experience, quite early in her association.
In one of the movies , she is so overcome by the emotional attachment to the character , she goes to Hitchcock and says she cannot play that role .Hitchcock gives her a puzzled look , but listens to her carefully.
And and the end he advises here
- Just fake it .
From both ends of the spectrum , where one fails to identify with the character or gets overwhelmed, he had a simple solution.
It was the job of the actor to "fake it."

Ingrid then goes on to complete her speech with a magnificent gesture.She admits to having held back and retained a key used in one of the movies as a lucky charm -instead of returning it to the Director ,afer the movie was made.
(Hitchcock , was a fastidious man , collecting each and every single piece of equipment used in a movie and restoring it to its appointed place)

Ingrid closes her speech with these beautiful words :

So Hitch.Here is that key which you had been looking for, all these years.I had kept it for this day .May it open some wonderful doors for you...."
Hitchcock, already paralysed , and barely able to speak , is full of tears.

so Padmini.
you are not the only one with this problem.Once you are on stage , go ahead and FAKE IT !!
coolkarni
 

#11  Postby paddu » 03 Apr 2007 16:07

Kji,
I don't quite understand. Could you please elaborate on "fake it".
Does "fake it" means "pretend it". Kindly elaborate

Thanks
Padmini
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#12  Postby thenpaanan » 03 Apr 2007 17:54

paddu wrote:Thank you arasi and amsharma , for the encouraging words.
But then what is the dharma of a singer? I mean, this feeling is so personal. You can never explain this to your listener. I know music can touch people at different levels. So, what is the first duty of the singer ....... Sing to the oneself or try to take listeners to your level. Sing only those songs which will give me immense pleasure (I really get high when I understand the song and sing) or sing those which the rasikas want?

I don't want to sound clichéd - but should I not be true to myself and sing ?

Am I taking this discussion ..... some where else?

Thanks
Paddu

This is a hard question and you will probably find plenty of contradictory advice as on any substantial question in music performance.

It is (only) somewhat parallel to the question of whether you should shake your head or make other gestures when you sing. To some people this suggests total involvement, others think one should sit like a statue and let your music do all the gestures.

To make your question very stark, what is the difference between singing in a recording studio versus in front of a live audience. If there is no difference to you then you have nothing to think about -- that is your music and you are blessed. If you behave differently in front of a live audience then you are trying to communicate to your audience via channels other than your singing. Which is not a bad thing by itself but something to be aware of. Someone said to me a long time ago that a singer who does not cry himself but causes the audience to cry with the pathos in his music is better than the other way round. But this does not have to be either or, in my opinion. It is fundamental that you enjoy your singing, otherwise no one will enjoy it.

If you are overcome by the lyrical bhavam and the people who are listening to you are also overcome by the bhavam at the same time then you have hit the jackpot of music-making. So some risk of becoming overwhelmed yourself (to the point of disruption) may be quite worth taking.

-then paanan
thenpaanan
 
Posts: 356
Joined: 04 Feb 2010 19:45

#13  Postby coolkarni » 03 Apr 2007 17:55

Yes.That is what is exactly meant.That talent takes your art to a higher plane.After all , a Concert singer is an interpreter and one must learn to overcome those emotions , if one has to succeed in being able to get the message of the Composer across to the listener,in all its beauty.
Imagine a Surgeon , overcome by the beauty of the mechanism of the Heart when he cuts open to operate on !!

The ultimate test for a performer will be to move the listener as much as you yourself have been moved.So if you have to bottle up some emotions, the end will justify the means.
coolkarni
 

#14  Postby jayaram » 03 Apr 2007 18:27

I would call this mode of working as 'detached involvement' - i.e. be fully detached from what you are doing, but be completely involved! This is a skill that's very useful in acting - in fact also in life! If one can see all that goes around as just 'play' then one can do the acting of one's role in life with full passion. As the other bard said, All the world is a stage...

This topic actually goes very close to the idea of enlightenment, but that's for another day...
jayaram
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: 30 Jun 2006 03:08
Location: London, UK

#15  Postby arasi » 03 Apr 2007 19:24

Padmini, sister, (if you are not faking it) :)
Thanks to spring cuckoo and rAgA names, there are quite a few out there who are inspired to play (in) Twelfth Night!

msakella,
Sister member indeed, this Arasi.

Jayaram,
Wish we had met in London (better luck next time). You would have affirmed my sisterhood. By the way, it was nice seeing your picture. Now I can visualize you.
Sorry, brought you down to earth from higher planes.

Cool,
How do you find these 'gems'? You put us right there in the midst of Hitchcock's world (the real and the fake it of it)...

Thenpaanan,
You have said things which make a lot of sense. I bet Padmini is more than pleased...
Last edited by arasi on 03 Apr 2007 19:31, edited 1 time in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 11877
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30

#16  Postby coolkarni » 03 Apr 2007 19:43

Arasi
Can you believe that in the early 80s , the world was so innocent and terror-free that I could walk lazily into the US Consulate , enter the Library free of charge, be interrupted by a pleasant librarian's voice -while I was poring over a pile of Thurbers and Ogden Nash's -to be told that there would be a screening at the theatre - and would I Like to join ?

And I was there in that place on a saturday afternoon only because my Chief Executive had earlier ,bawled at me -"What are you doing here at office on a fine saturday afternoon, instead of enjoying your weekend ?

Ah ! How times change !!
As with every other thing . I owe every bit of my Rasa Yathre to this lovely city called Chennai.
coolkarni
 

#17  Postby jayaram » 03 Apr 2007 20:51

...I owe every bit of my Rasa Yathre to this lovely city called Chennai.

I'm sure you meant 'Madras', yes?
:)
jayaram
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: 30 Jun 2006 03:08
Location: London, UK

#18  Postby vasanthakokilam » 03 Apr 2007 22:10

I could walk lazily into the US Consulate , enter the Library free of charge, be interrupted by a pleasant librarian's voice -while I was poring over a pile of Thurbers and Ogden Nash's -to be told that there would be a screening at the theatre - and would I Like to join ?

You brought back some memories in me.. May be we were there at that theatre for one of those screenings. And the nice A/C helped on those hot summer days .
vasanthakokilam
Moderator
 
Posts: 9394
Joined: 03 Feb 2010 00:01

#19  Postby paddu » 03 Apr 2007 22:21

Thanks Then pannan, Kji and Jayaram for sharing your thoughts.
jayaram wrote:I would call this mode of working as 'detached involvement' -

Detached and Involved --- are they not mutually exclusive. Does it not finally translate to doing ones duty. So.... I guess, if your a performer, you are self aware - aware of your music, aware of your rasikas and aware of yourself . But one has to go to greater heights (in personal, professional and social life) to achieve this. This cannot be achieved in over night. I guess I need to work on this to achieve this. Thank you all for your insight and time.

Thanks
Padmini
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#20  Postby jayaram » 04 Apr 2007 03:23

Paddu -
lemme explain 'detached involvement' this way:
A really good actor who is on stage needs to get fully involved in the role he is doing, to give us a realistic performance. At the same time, he should not actually start believing he is the role, hence he needs to be detached from the role also. There's the story of the great Marlon Brando who had to go thru several months of psychiatric debriefing after his role in Godfather - he actually started to believe he was the godfather, after having spent quite a long time in that role! That's an example of what happens if you don't develop a sense of detachment from the role you are playing.

To extend this to life itself, each of us plays various roles like mother, father, brother, wife, friend, teacher, student, etc. etc. (including poster of articles on this forum!). Unless we develop detachment from the roles we play we could actually start believing we are the role. Detachment allows to go thru each of the roles as play, like Krishna's leela. This makes life very easy to go thru.

Hope that's clear.
jayaram
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: 30 Jun 2006 03:08
Location: London, UK

#21  Postby paddu » 04 Apr 2007 09:06

Thank you Jayaramji,
I see what you are trying to say. I see now, why you call it "road to enlightment". Yes I need to develop this detachment and play my role as an interpreter of the great composers, passionately. Only then, justice is done to the music, the rasikas, the talent. This is, if I may say..... submitting oneself completely to god.. saying I know I am here to do what you want me to do and I am happy to do this role and to fulfill this role, I will do to the best of my abilities.

Thanks
Padmini
Last edited by paddu on 04 Apr 2007 09:16, edited 1 time in total.
paddu
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 14:19

#22  Postby rishi » 13 Oct 2007 07:30

To end it all,

Ulagam Oru Nadagamedai. Vazkhai oru nadakam. Ellam Mayai.

rishi
rishi
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 09 Oct 2007 18:11


Return to Technical Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users