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Carnatic Music LEARNING

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Carnatic Music LEARNING

Something to Cheer about and
Something to think about

By S Anantraman, Bangalore

Thanks to the talent search through Sa-Ri-Ga-Ma, Star Idea Junior Singer contest etc., a good number of young ones who have emerged in the music field. What an impressive and incredible performance by little Vishnu Krishnan and Vishnu KG in the Star Singer contest! When the latter sang a piece on ‘Devi’, it evoked standing ovation from even the judges. There is no need for any further comment on this.

At the same time there is a major lacuna, almost a trend. Even some experienced and renowned maestros are more interested in exhibiting their talent with ‘acrobatic variations’ while singing kritis of saints like Thyagaraja and Purandaradasa and there is very little clarity in expression. I am of the opinion that the thrust should be on devotion. This can be had only when the singer knows the meaning of the song and contemplates on the same. There should therefore an attempt to first know the meaning of the songs before they are sung in public. By the process of ascertaining the meaning, there will be perfect word-clarity and separation of syllables from words while singing.

By singing perfectly, at the same time enjoying the essence and import of the songs, one can transform the very singing into spiritual Sadhana and achieve remarkable results in scaling unimaginable heights in spirituality.

These days, children learn music from teachers many of whom do not know the meaning of the kritis. Some do not know even the author of the kritis. Even the wordings are not properly taught. Children therefore learn the songs without these essential basics with the result their exposition lacks clarity and depth of devotion. Claps are not the need but the renderings must be able to evoke devotional feelings in the hearts of the singer and in the listeners.

It is time to prescribe text books for music wherein kritis and kirtans are properly given with not only the swara positions but also the word meanings. This must be made compulsory. It will be a boon to the society and will surely enrich the standard of music in the future. Will the Chembai School of Music and similar institutions please take this up?
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