viLari and tODi rAga (was Re: Q: Tamil literature)

S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 17 02:00:12 UTC 1997

>>To me the "mournful note" which is mentionned here
>>is probably not a single note (i.e. one of the seven notes,
>>as you advocate it is).
>>But, of course, this is subjective and the data is scarce.
>>-- Jean-Luc CHEVILLARD

DEvarakonda Venkata Narayana Sarma writes:
>Can a single note evoke emotions? Can a single note be mournful?

Well, I have seen this description in many of the commentaries on Ragas
written in recent years aimed at a knowledgable non-Indian audience in
the case of Hindustani ragas. The tivra madhyama, for example, invokes
the feeling of "gambhira", says one sleeve note
which features the work of Hariprasad Chaurasia, the flautist.I remember
reading a commentary a long time ago, by Ranade( I think) which says
that it is possible to work out the feeling resulting from a raga by
knowing the vAdi and the samvAdi, for each note has defined properties.
It is here,if my memory serves me correctly, he says the tivr gAndhAr ,
as in bhUp( Karnatic mOhanam) is full of exuberance. I had to agree with
him in that I never heard a raga which had the tivr gAndhAr and still
sounded forlorn. I believe people who have paid careful attention to
these things over a period of time become sensitive enough as to react
even to a single note which would allow them to ascribe properties to a
given note.
     Even for people whose knowledge of music is average( as mine), I
think the relative effect of a given note can be found out if we just
hum a fixed set of notes and change a single one amongst them i.e. komal
to tIvr or vice versa- as an example, Mohanam/bhUp( sung with higher of
the two g s) is full of joy, singing the same with the lower of the two
gas( everything else remaining same) makes me feel a little
sad. Likewise, Hamsadhvani with the higher of the two g s makes one feel
enthusiastic, singing it with the lower of the 2 g s puts one in a more
serious mood i.e. like sitting for an examination, an unpleasant yet
unavoidable situation:-)...if this were to happen consistently for a no
of cases, I would tend to think that involving a given note in the
fabric of a raga would have a specified effect, which in turn can be
attributed, atleast partly, to the note all by itself.


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