european musical instruments in India
srini at engin.umich.edu
Mon Mar 31 22:38:30 UTC 1997
Dear Mr. Pichumani,
Everyone is entitled to his opinion. I confess that I generally find
Carnatic music less interesting technically and musically than Hindustani,
but my standpoint is that of a lifelong string player at a very competent
level, and I am very fond of Indian music--a former student of Ali Akbar
Khan. It is still considered good manners, I believe, to append honorifics
to a well-respected and beloved person's name....or am I out of the loop?
I apologize for the outburst... but I stick by the observations
in my post... what got my goat was your assessment of (S.)Indian
violinistry - just in terms of the technique, sound, that you are
looking for or are comfortable with, and in your easy approval of
Imagine how pointless my criticism of jazz trumpeteers would
be if I said that I find their tone very raspy... e.g. Miles'.
Similarly, what use is spiccato, pizzicato, <x>-cato, if
musicianship is sorely lacking ?
Now, as far as violin and Carnatic music are concerned, you
should understand that it has been quite a checkered history
thus far. Leaving aside historical personalities like Baluswami
Dikshitar, Vadivelu, etc, from the late 19th century onwards,
we know of many great violinists each of whom have adopted a
unique style in handling the instrument while displaying their
musicianship. A good many of them apparently used a "two-finger"
technique exclusively, which was supposedly derived from vINa
technique. Others used the "four-finger" technique for passage
work while resorting to two fingers for slow, ornamental lines.
There were/are violinists known for being -
technically superb and exquisitely musical like Dvaram
Venkataswami Naidu, MSGopalakrishnan,
less virtuosic but superbly melodic, and tops in their
accompaniment skills like TiruvAlangADu Sundaresa Iyer,
Papa Venkataramiah, Rajamanikkam Pillai, T.N.Krishnan,
technically and musically brilliant like Lalgudi Jayaraman,
experimenters and mavericks, nevertheless beloved to
their audiences, like Chowdiah (who built and played a
7 string violin), MarungApuri Gopalakrishna Iyer who
played with a horn sort of amplifier on his violin, and
Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan with his never ending bag of tricks.
M.Chandrasekharan needs special mention... despite being
blind, he is a violinist of amazing skill... and his
musicianship is fantastic.
It is not my contention that they have always performed impeccably...
suffice it to say that they have endeared themselves to general and
critical audiences by their performances over the years.
It is still considered good manners, I believe, to append
honorifics to a well-respected and beloved person's name...
or am I out of the loop?
Yes, it does apply still. But Pandit Subramaniam sounds
somewhat awkward... in S.Indian musical idiom, it is just
S'rI L.Subramaniam or VidvAn L.Subramaniam.
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