Basic of Carnatic Music

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Abhyasa gana are the basic lessons

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Index 100 rga rhaa avarhaa : : : mymavagaua s s> r! n# g# d! m! p p m!

r purandara dsa - abhysa gna - (1) [15] d! g# n# r! s> s ta : di

Version 1.0

The set of exercises given under the general title of Abhyasa Gana part (1) have the following sub-divisions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sarala Varase: Hechchusthayi Varase: Mandra Sthayi Varase: Janti Varase: Datu Varase: Sapta Tala Alankara: Learning the basic rendering of the seven notes in the arohana and avarohana Exercise to gradually reach the panchama in the Tara Sthayi Exercise to gradually reach the panchama in the Mandra Sthayi Exercise for rendition of double notes Exercise for rendition of swaras crossing over one or more intermediate notes Exercise for familiarisation with the seven basic talas.

The above exercises were developed by the saint Purandara Dasa (1494 1564), who is called the Pitamaha (Father) of Carnatic Music. These exercises have firmly established themselves as the standard for introducing the uninitiated pupil into Carnatic Music. The names of these exercises in Kannada have been retained. It needs approx. 25 hours of class to cover this (6 months with 30-min classes twice a week)

The Abhyasa Gana is rendered in the raga Mayamalavagaula. This is a very apt choice of raga due to the following reasons: 1. This is the only sampurna raga that contains four pairs of neighbouring notes, namely: sa-ri, ga-ma, pa-da, and ni-sa. Rendering this raga therefore gives control over the smallest difference of pitch between notes. 2. 3. 4. In addition, the raga also contains neighbouring notes with intervals of 2 semitones (ma-pa), and 3 semitones (ri-ga and da-ni) The raga contains swaras of the lower (komal) variety (e.g. ri, da), as well as the higher (tivra) variety (e.g. ga and ni). The raga is symmetric in its first half (sa ri ga ma) and the second half (pa da ni sa) with respect to the pitch relationship between the notes. In instruments such as the violin, this gives similar fingering on the first and second string. 5. 6. 7. The raga has few restrictions and lends itself to variations in rendering, e.g. plain, graced, gliding, repeated notes, and usage of various gamakas. The intervals sa-ga, sa-ma, etc. can be transposed to all other notes (e.g. ri-ma, ri-pa, etc.). The exercises can thus be designed as repeating patterns. The raga has antara gandhara, which gives it a steady and pleasing effect.AbhyasaGana_1-Mayamalavagaula-Purandaradasa-vers.1.0-Page 1 of 20

Swarasindhu

8. 9.

The first few Geetas are in raga Malahari, derived from Mayamalavagaula. Geetas are continuation of Abhyasa Gana after finishing part 1 It is an auspicious raga. Singing this raga, especially early in the morning improves concentration and sharpens the mind. All the exercises are practised in at least three speeds:

1. 2. 3.

Prathama Kala: Dvitiya Kala: Tritiya Kala:

one swara per tala count, except for Janti and Datu Varase, where two swaras are rendered per tala count two swaras per tala count, except for Janti and Datu Varase, where four swaras are rendered per tala count four swaras per tala count, except for Janti and Datu Varase, where eight swaras are rendered per tala count

The above description is valid for Hrasva swaras (short notes). Deergha swaras (elongated notes) would of course depend on the elongation. In Tritiya kala, if the exercise ends at half the tala cycle, then the exercise is to be repeated so that it ends at the completion of the cycle next time. Note: The speed of rendition increases further in the order of 2n. However, the higher speeds are normally not part of the beginner's exercise. More advanced exercises: 1. After the pupil has progressed well in the practice of the Abhyasa Gana in the raga Mayamalavagaula, the execises may be rendered in other sampurna ragas such as Shankarabharana, Kalyani, Todi, Harikambodi, and Kharaharapriya. With the first three, all the twelve swara positions are covered. 2. 3. For vocal training, the exercises - especially Janti and Datu Varase - are sung vocalising the sounds 'aa', 'ee', 'oo', and 'mm'. To gain a better control on the laya, the exercises can be rendered with a mix of kalas, such as the entire exercise completes within a whole number of tala cycles. Janti and Datu Varases as well as the Alankaras that comprise ten avartas in Prathama Kala, can be rendered as follows: 1st row in Prathama Kala => 1 Avarta 2nd and 3rd row in Dvitiya => 1 Avarta 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th row in Tritiya => 1 Avarta 8th and 9th row in Dvitiya => 1 Avarta 10th row in Prathama => 1 Avarta Thus completing the exercise in 5 avartas instead of 10. 4. Apart from above, there are several exercises by which one can gain a more precise control over the rendition of swaras. A few of these are given under the title "Swarabhyasa" at the end. 5. The above advanced exercises are to be practised by the pupil at the appropriate stage as guided by the teacher.

Swarasindhu

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1. saraa varase (swarvai) 1 s s> 2 s s s> s> 3 s s s> s> 4 s s s> s> 5 s s s> s> r n r r n n r r n n r r n n r r n n g d g g d d g g d d g g d d g g d d m p m m p p m m p p m m p p m m p p p m s p s> m s p s> m pa p ma m pa p ma m g d g d d g r d n g r d n g n r g n d r s n s> r pa n ma r s n s> r s r s> n s s> s> s m s> p s r s> n s

Swarasindhu

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6

s s s> s>

r r n n r r n n r r n n r r n n r r n n

g g d d g g d d g g d d g g d d g g d d -

m m p p m m p p m m p p m m p p s m s> p

p p m m p p m m s p s> m r p n m r p n m

m d p g m d p g m d p g g d d g g d d g -

g n d r d n g r g n d r m n p r s n s> r

r s> n s p s> m s r s> n s p s> m s r s> n s

7

s s s> s>

8

s s s> s>

9

s s s> s>

10

s s s> s>Swarasindhu

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s s> d s>

r n n n

g r> s> d

m s> r> p

p s> s> m drghaswara saraa varase

m n n g

d d d r

p p p s

12

s pa g g

r m m

g ; p p n p -

m d g d m d g r p p -

pa pa n m ni pa n m ga d d m p n g d g d g

g ; p r d pa p r g da d r

m m s p m s m p s -

13

sa> da g g m m r m p p

p p g pa d d

14

s p m m

Swarasindhu

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s g s> m -

r m n p r d n n

g p d m g pa sa> d

-

r m n g m p -

g p d m pa m s> m

m d p g -

g p d r pa

m d p s p s

16

s d d s>

m n g

pa d r

Swarasindhu

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2. heccusthyi varase - (1) 1 s d 2 s d d 3 s d d d 4 s d d d d 5 s d d d d dSwarasindhu

r n r n n r n n n r n n n n r n n n n n

g s> g s> s> g s> s> s> g s> s> s> s> g s> s> s> s> s>

m r> m r> r> m r> r> r> m r> r> r> r> m r> r> r> r> r>

p s> p s> s> p g> s> s> p g> g> s> s> p g> g> g> s> s>

d n d s> n d r> s> n d m> r> s> n d m> m> r> s> n

n d n r> d n s> r> d n g> s> r> d n p> g> s> r> d

s> p s> s> p s> r> s> p s> r> r> s> p s> m> r> r> s> p

sa> s> sa> s> s> sa> s> s> s> sa> s> s> s> s> sa> g> s> s> s> s> m> r> r> r> n r> r> r> n r> r> n r> n n

; d ; s> d ; s> s> d ; s> s> s> d ; g> s> s> s> d r> n n n p n n n p n n p n p p

sa> m sa> d m sa> d d m sa> d d d m sa> s> d d d m n p p p g p p p g p p g p g g

; r ; m r ; m m r ; m m m r ; d m m m r p p p p s p p p s p p s p s s

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heccusthyi varase - (2) 1 s s> n p2 s s> n pa r r> dm r r> dg g>p m g ga> p m d gm r> d gm p r> nm p r> ni m p d s>d p d s>n n d d n n d d s> s> pn s> s> pn sa> r>m s> sa> ri> m s> p n s> p n ; s> dd ; s> da d p nnp p sa> d p m sa> d p m n mg n mg ; s>g r ; sa> g r m s n m s

Swarasindhu

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3. mandra sthyi varase 1 s> g 2 s> g g 3 s> g g g 4 s> g g g g s> n r n r r n r r r n r r r r n d s d s s d s s s d s s s s d p n< p n< n< p n< n< n< p n< n< n< n< p m s m s s m d< s s m d< d< s s m g r g s r g n< s r g p< n< s r g r g r n< g r s n< g r d< s n< g r s m s s m s n< s m s n< n< s m s sa s sa s s sa s s s sa s s s s sa n< n< n< r n< n< r n< r r ; g ; s g ; s s g ; s s s g ; r r r m r r m r m m sa p sa g p sa g g p sa g g g p sa m m m d m m d m d d ; n ; p n ; p p n ; p p p n ; m m m s> m m s> m s> s>

Swarasindhu

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4 jai varase (yugma swarvai) 1 s s> 2 s g p n p 3 s r g m p s> n d p m s s> s g p n p s r g m p s> n d p m r n r m d d m r g m p d n d p m g r n r m d d m r g m p d n d p m g g d g p n p g g m p d n d p m g r g d g p n p g g m p d n d p m g r m p m