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Report On A Cyclone
Issue : 29
Published on : February, 1987

$.5.00

Nedunuri Krishnamurthi - Profile

Born in the year 1927 in Kothapalli, a small village, Nedunuri Krishnamurthi spent his early childhood in nearby Pithapuram, the birth place of many literary giants like Venkata Parvatesa Kavulu, renaissance poets like Devulapalli Krishna Sastry and musical luminaries like Tumarada Sangameswara Sastry.

His father, who held a very small job in the estate of the Raja of Pithapuram, earning just 20 rupees a month, was unable to provide any formal education to him. The only education he had till he was 10 to 11 years of age was learning Sanskrit and Hindi because they were taught free. "Learn anything—if taught free," his father had said. His elder brother was learning music and his uncle also used to sing in the house. Nedunuri had his early introduction to music from his mother. He remembers that his mother had a very good voice and used to sing ashtapadi-s, taranga-s and Adhyatma Ramayana kirtana-s beautifully. When he was around five or six years of age, Nedunuri could apparently reproduce any song after listening to its gramophone recording only once.

Other Features in this issue

Madras Festival Season; Interview - Palghat K.V.Narayanswamy

How do you teach raga, swaraprastara, niraval and such crea-
tive aspects to students ?

When Palghat Mani Iyer taught me raga, he would say, for example, Start singing Todi. I would start with a sangati. He would listen and say : OK. Now start differently. He would go on like that, getting out of me a number of starting sangati-s, a number of alternate methods of developing the raga and some sanchara-s. A sketch of the raga would emerge, with him adding on a few sangati-s of his own. Many raga phrases have come out of the great sangati-s in the various kriti-s played and sung by the masters of old—Papa [Venkatarama] Iyer, Ariyakudi and others. These are ageless, indestructible sangati-s which can help us in getting beautiful images of the raga.

To learn the raga, therefore, one should hear a great deal of good music and one should practise a great deal. The phrases will at first be all wrong and irregular, but slowly the distinct shape of the raga will emerge. One has to pass through the painful stage of apaswara-s and confusing passages. In the
[Government Music] College also, I used to structure raga teaching as I have described just now, starting with an outline, using a few well-worn sangati-s that can define a raga reasonably well. But some students thought the raga was just these few sangati-s, they sang only these and called that the
raga. I had to chasten them : These are only the guidelines, the framework within which the raga should be sung. It is important, that, after finishing college, a student should polish up his alapana with the help of the outlines taught to him and with hard practice. Anyone who thinks he or she can come out of the college and start performing is foolish. It should never be done. The chronology is : college, followed by practice, and learning the nuances, the technical finesse, from a guru. There is much to be learnt from an experienced musician. Click here to read more ...

SANGEET NATAK AWARDS FOR 1986

The Sangeet Natak Akademi awards for 1986 are being presented this month in Bhubancshwar, Orissa. where the Akademi is holding its awards function and festival.

Carnatic musicians receiving awards are B. Rajam Iyer (vocal), Nedunun Knshnamurthi
(vocal), M. Chandrasekharan (violin) and Rajeswari Padnianabhan (veena).

MB. Srinivasan, who is wellknown for his choral music compositions and direction receives the award lor creative and experimental music. Other recipients of awards in this category are Anil Biswas and Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadyaya. Click here to read more ...

THE TRAVESTY OF TYAGARAJA ARADHANA

T o any with a scientific bent of mind, which is the crying need of the hour, only Truth and Sincerity are—and nothing else should be—sacred ; anything which does not fall within these two broad categories must be reassessed. This is the spirit underlying the opinion voiced here.

In the name of Tyagaraja, a number of actions are being perpetrated by his devotees in India and abroad, which run counter to the very principles and ideals preached and practised by the composer. Even a cursory study of Tyagaraja's kriti-s should lead one to conclude that Tyagaraja, more than any other composer in the world, would never have approved of his being put on a pedestal or compared against various 'parama bhagavatulu', let alone the celebrations of Tyagaraja Day to the exclusion of
other composers and bhaktas, not to mention the idolization of him and the aradhana performed for him instead of for his ishta-devata. Click here to read more ...

Raga-s In Oblivion

On a very optimistic estimate, only about 100 raga-s-a small fraction of the thousands envisaged in the Car- natic music system-are popular today. Several others are rendered, but only infrequently. Hundreds remain on the fringes. Some musiciam have revealed a fondness for rare raga-s, presumably because they 'discovered' them, but most musicians are lackadaisical and display little interest in the explorative efforts needed to find, practise and present compositions in raga-s not often heard.

Why do many raga-s remain obs- cure? One of the answers seems to be directly related to the fact that a raga, to be delineated in a performance, must have body
and soul and not merely a skeleton. The melakarta classification has identi- fied
thousands of raga-s and raga possi- bilities but it offers basically only the ascending and descending scales. While the terms raga and scale are often equa- ted, there is indeed a difference, because going up and down the scale on permis- sible contours does not make a raga.

The term 'scale' can be understood as a combination of swarastana -s (posi- tions)
providing the raga skeleton. How- ever, a raga takes shape through a group of characteristic phrases grafted to the skeleton or scale. This shaping is largely aided by the touchstones ofjeevaswara-s and anuswara-s. For example, the scales of Kalyani and Sankarabharanam are sim~r except for the madhyama, but each raga has an identity quite different from the other. This is due to the diffe- rent jeeva and anuswara-s through which the two raga-s are shaped. Click here to read more ...

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