Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Review of a piece of Indian music.

Indian music has many different forms, both traditional and modern. There are many different traditions and varieties of classical and folk music played, which vary greatly depending on where the music is being played and the influences behind it. In this post I will be reviewing a song I have chosen.

(Picture from A selection of the many instruments used in Indian  music, including the table (pair of drums), dhol (large cylinderal drum) sarangi (bowed string instrument) and bansuri (Indian flute)

The piece I am choosing to review is "Raga Keeravani" It is a traditional Carnatic (Southern) piece, performed on the bansuri, which is also used in the Hindustani or Northern tradition, using the notes  sa ri ga ma pa dha ni.  It also has many janya, or ragas derived from it. It is part of the 72 fundamental ragas known as melakarta.

The raga is known for its soothing effect and can be used for meditation. It is known for its enchanting effect and can be quite wonderful and suprising (adbhut). It is also quite close to the minor scale in Western music.

(Picture from The swara of the Raga Keeravani.)

You can listen to it below:

The piece is mainly an alap/jor; both are slow to intermediate improvised sections with no percussion or tal. The song is thus a very slow and contemplative piece which lends itself perfectly to the feel of the Raga Keeravani, The drone of the song is also slow and helps give the song a good rhythm. The breathy, somewhat constrained sound also sounds quite mystical. The overall sound fits the emotion of adbhut and is good quality for meditation.

However, there are some downsides. Notably, the music, being designed for meditation, is quite repetitive, mainly being an alap and jor without that much of a gat or a jhalp. The sound of the bansuri can also become quite grating. However, I enjoy this song for the most part since the sound is immersive and can reduce stress.

(Picture from A painting of Hindu meditation. The Raga Keeravani is especially good as a meditation aid.

No comments:

Post a Comment