Carnatic music

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Carnatic music_table_infobox_0

Music of IndiaCarnatic music_header_cell_0_0_0
GenresCarnatic music_header_cell_0_1_0
Media and performanceCarnatic music_header_cell_0_2_0
Music awardsCarnatic music_header_cell_0_3_0 Carnatic music_cell_0_3_1
Music festivalsCarnatic music_header_cell_0_4_0 Carnatic music_cell_0_4_1
Music mediaCarnatic music_header_cell_0_5_0 Carnatic music_cell_0_5_1
Nationalistic and patriotic songsCarnatic music_header_cell_0_6_0
National anthemCarnatic music_header_cell_0_7_0 Jana Gana ManaCarnatic music_cell_0_7_1
Regional musicCarnatic music_header_cell_0_8_0

Carnatic music, known as Karnāṭaka saṃgīta or Karnāṭaka saṅgītam in the South Indian languages, is a system of music commonly associated with South India, including the modern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and Sri Lanka. Carnatic music_sentence_0

It is one of two main subgenres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Sanatana dharma sciences and traditions, the other subgenre being Hindustani music, which emerged as a distinct form because of Persian or Islamic influences from Northern India. Carnatic music_sentence_1

The main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in gāyaki (singing) style. Carnatic music_sentence_2

The heptatonic scale is known to have its origins in Carnatic music, and later having been picked up by Pythagoras during his visit to India to learn mathematics, thus introducing it to the west. Carnatic music_sentence_3

The circle of fifths and several other popular concepts in western classical music have their origins in the theory of Carnatic classical music. Carnatic music_sentence_4

Although there are stylistic differences, the basic elements of śruti (the relative musical pitch), swara (the musical sound of a single note), rāga (the mode or melodic formulæ), and tala (the rhythmic cycles) form the foundation of improvisation and composition in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. Carnatic music_sentence_5

Although improvisation plays an important role, Carnatic music is mainly sung through compositions, especially the kriti (or kirtanam) – a form developed between the 14th and 20th centuries by composers such as Purandara Dasa and the Trinity of Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_6

Carnatic music is also usually taught and learned through compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_7

Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tambura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Carnatic music_sentence_8

Other typical instruments used in performances may include the ghatam, kanjira, morsing, venu flute, veena, and chitraveena. Carnatic music_sentence_9

The greatest concentration of Carnatic musicians is to be found in the city of Chennai. Carnatic music_sentence_10

Various Carnatic music festivals are held throughout India and abroad, including the Madras Music Season, which has been considered to be one of the world's largest cultural events. Carnatic music_sentence_11

Origins, sources and history Carnatic music_section_0

Like all art forms in Indian culture, Indian classical music is believed to be a divine art form which originated from the Devas and Devis (Hindu Gods and Goddesses), and is venerated as symbolic of nāda brāhman. Carnatic music_sentence_12

Ancient treatises also describe the connection of the origin of the swaras, or notes, to the sounds of animals and birds and man's effort to simulate these sounds through a keen sense of observation and perception. Carnatic music_sentence_13

The Sama Veda, which is believed to have laid the foundation for Indian classical music, consists of hymns from the Rigveda, set to musical tunes which would be sung using three to seven musical notes during Vedic yajnas. Carnatic music_sentence_14

The Yajur-Veda, which mainly consists of sacrificial formulae, mentions the veena as an accompaniment to vocal recitations. Carnatic music_sentence_15

References to Indian classical music are made in many ancient texts, including epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Carnatic music_sentence_16

The Yajnavalkya Smriti mentions वीणावादन तत्त्वज्ञः श्रुतीजातिविशारदः ताळज्ञश्चाप्रयासेन मोक्षमार्गं नियच्छति ( vīṇāvādana tattvajñaḥ śrutijātiviśāradaḥ tālajñaścāprayāsena mokṣamārgaṃ niyacchati, "The one who is well versed in veena, one who has the knowledge of srutis and one who is adept in tala, attains liberation (moksha) without doubt"). Carnatic music_sentence_17

Carnatic music is based as it is today on musical concepts (including swara, raga, and tala) that were described in detail in several ancient works, particularly the Bharata's Natya Shastra and Silappadhikaram by Ilango Adigal. Carnatic music_sentence_18

Owing to Persian and Islamic influences in North India from the 12th century onwards, Indian classical music began to diverge into two distinct styles — Hindustani music and Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_19

Commentaries and other works, such as Sharngadeva's Sangita Ratnakara, further elaborated on the musical concepts found in Indian classical music. Carnatic music_sentence_20

By the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a clear demarcation between Carnatic and Hindustani music; Carnatic music remained relatively unaffected by Persian and Arabic influences. Carnatic music_sentence_21

It was at this time that Carnatic music flourished in Vijayanagara, while the Vijayanagar Empire reached its greatest extent. Carnatic music_sentence_22

Purandara Dasa, who is known as the "father (Pitamaha) of Carnatic music", formulated the system that is commonly used for the teaching of Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_23

Venkatamakhin invented and authored the formula for the melakarta system of raga classification in his Sanskrit work, the Chaturdandi Prakasika (1660 AD). Carnatic music_sentence_24

Govindacharya is known for expanding the melakarta system into the sampoorna raga scheme – the system that is in common use today. Carnatic music_sentence_25

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Carnatic music was mainly patronised by the local kings of the Kingdom of Mysore, Kingdom of Travancore, and the Maratha rulers of Tanjore. Carnatic music_sentence_26

Some of the royalty of the kingdoms of Mysore and Travancore were themselves noted composers and proficient in playing musical instruments, such as the veena, rudra veena, violin, ghatam, flute, mridangam, nagaswara and swarabhat. Carnatic music_sentence_27

Some famous court-musicians proficient in music were Veene Sheshanna (1852–1926) and Veene Subbanna (1861–1939), among others. Carnatic music_sentence_28

During the late 19th century, the city of Chennai (then known as Madras) emerged as the locus for Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_29

With the dissolution of the erstwhile princely states and the Indian independence movement reaching its conclusion in 1947, Carnatic music went through a radical shift in patronage into an art of the masses with ticketed performances organised by private institutions called sabhās. Carnatic music_sentence_30

Nature Carnatic music_section_1

The main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in a singing style (known as gāyaki). Carnatic music_sentence_31

Like Hindustani music, Carnatic music rests on two main elements: rāga, the modes or melodic formulæ, and tāḷa, the rhythmic cycles. Carnatic music_sentence_32

Today, Carnatic music is presented by musicians in concerts or recordings, either vocally or through instruments. Carnatic music_sentence_33

Carnatic music itself developed around musical works or compositions of phenomenal composers (see below). Carnatic music_sentence_34

Important elements Carnatic music_section_2

Śruti Carnatic music_section_3

Main article: Śruti (music) Carnatic music_sentence_35

Śruti commonly refers to musical pitch. Carnatic music_sentence_36

It is the approximate equivalent of a tonic (or less precisely a key) in Western music; it is the note from which all the others are derived. Carnatic music_sentence_37

It is also used in the sense of graded pitches in an octave. Carnatic music_sentence_38

While there are an infinite number of sounds falling within a scale (or raga) in Carnatic music, the number that can be distinguished by auditory perception is twenty-two (although over the years, several of them have converged). Carnatic music_sentence_39

In this sense, while sruti is determined by auditory perception, it is also an expression in the listener's mind. Carnatic music_sentence_40

Swara Carnatic music_section_4

Main article: Swara Carnatic music_sentence_41

Swara refers to a type of musical sound that is a single note, which defines a relative (higher or lower) position of a note, rather than a defined frequency. Carnatic music_sentence_42

Swaras also refer to the solfege of Carnatic music, which consist of seven notes, "sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-da-ni" (compare with the Hindustani sargam: sa-re-ga-ma-pa-dha-ni or Western do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti). Carnatic music_sentence_43

These names are abbreviations of the longer names shadja, rishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama, dhaivata and nishada. Carnatic music_sentence_44

Unlike other music systems, every member of the solfege (called a swara) has three variants. Carnatic music_sentence_45

The exceptions are the drone notes, shadja and panchama (also known as the tonic and the dominant), which have only one form; and madhyama (the subdominant), which has two forms. Carnatic music_sentence_46

A 7th century stone inscription in Kudumiyan Malai in Tamil Nadu shows vowel changes to solfege symbols with ra, ri, ru etc. to denote the higher quarter-tones. Carnatic music_sentence_47

In one scale, or raga, there is usually only one variant of each note present. Carnatic music_sentence_48

The exceptions exist in "light" ragas, in which, for artistic effect, there may be two, one ascending (in the arohanam) and another descending (in the avarohanam). Carnatic music_sentence_49

Raga system Carnatic music_section_5

Main article: Raga Carnatic music_sentence_50

A raga in Carnatic music prescribes a set of rules for building a melody – very similar to the Western concept of mode. Carnatic music_sentence_51

It specifies rules for movements up (aarohanam) and down (avarohanam), the scale of which notes should figure more and which notes should be used more sparingly, which notes may be sung with gamaka (ornamentation), which phrases should be used or avoided, and so on. Carnatic music_sentence_52

In effect, it is a series of obligatory musical events which must be observed, either absolutely or with a particular frequency. Carnatic music_sentence_53

In Carnatic music, the sampoorna ragas (those with all seven notes in their scales) are classified into a system called the melakarta, which groups them according to the kinds of notes that they have. Carnatic music_sentence_54

There are seventy-two melakarta ragas, thirty six of whose madhyama (subdominant) is shuddha (perfect fourth from the tonic), the remaining thirty-six of whose madhyama (subdominant) is prati (an augmented fourth from the tonic). Carnatic music_sentence_55

The ragas are grouped into sets of six, called chakras ("wheels", though actually segments in the conventional representation) grouped according to the supertonic and mediant scale degrees. Carnatic music_sentence_56

There is a system known as the katapayadi sankhya to determine the names of melakarta ragas. Carnatic music_sentence_57

Ragas may be divided into two classes: janaka ragas (i.e. melakarta or parent ragas) and janya ragas (descendant ragas of a particular janaka raga). Carnatic music_sentence_58

Janya ragas are themselves subclassified into various categories. Carnatic music_sentence_59

Tala system Carnatic music_section_6

Main article: Tala (music) Carnatic music_sentence_60

Tala refers to a fixed time cycle or metre, set for a particular composition, which is built from groupings of beats. Carnatic music_sentence_61

Talas have cycles of a defined number of beats and rarely change within a song. Carnatic music_sentence_62

They have specific components, which in combinations can give rise to the variety to exist (over 108), allowing different compositions to have different rhythms. Carnatic music_sentence_63

Carnatic music singers usually keep the beat by moving their hands up and down in specified patterns, and using their fingers simultaneously to keep time. Carnatic music_sentence_64

Tala is formed with three basic parts (called angas) which are laghu, dhrtam, and anudhrtam, though complex talas may have other parts like plutam, guru, and kaakapaadam. Carnatic music_sentence_65

There are seven basic tala groups which can be formed from the laghu, dhrtam, and anudhrtam: Carnatic music_sentence_66

Carnatic music_unordered_list_0

  • Ata talaCarnatic music_item_0_0
  • Dhruva talaCarnatic music_item_0_1
  • Eka talaCarnatic music_item_0_2
  • Jhampa talaCarnatic music_item_0_3
  • Matya talaCarnatic music_item_0_4
  • Rupaka talaCarnatic music_item_0_5
  • Triputa talaCarnatic music_item_0_6

A laghu has five variants (called jaathis) based on the counting pattern. Carnatic music_sentence_67

Five jaathis times seven tala groups gives thirty-five basic talas, although use of other angas results in a total of 108 talas. Carnatic music_sentence_68

Improvisation Carnatic music_section_7

Improvisation in raga is the soul of Indian classical music – an essential aspect. Carnatic music_sentence_69

"Manodharma Sangeetam" or "kalpana Sangeetam" ("music of imagination") as it is known in Carnatic music, embraces several varieties of improvisation. Carnatic music_sentence_70

The main traditional forms of improvisation in Carnatic music consist of the following: Carnatic music_sentence_71

Carnatic music_unordered_list_1

  • AlapanaCarnatic music_item_1_7
  • NiravalCarnatic music_item_1_8
  • PallaviCarnatic music_item_1_9
  • RagamCarnatic music_item_1_10
  • SwarakalpanaCarnatic music_item_1_11
  • TanamCarnatic music_item_1_12
  • Tani AvartanamCarnatic music_item_1_13

Raga Alapana Carnatic music_section_8

Main article: Alapana Carnatic music_sentence_72

An alapana, sometimes also called ragam, is the exposition of a raga or tone – a slow improvisation with no rhythm, where the raga acts as the basis of embellishment. Carnatic music_sentence_73

In performing alapana, performers consider each raga as an object that has beginnings and endings and consists somehow of sequences of thought. Carnatic music_sentence_74

The performer will explore the ragam and touch on its various nuances, singing in the lower octaves first, then gradually moving up to higher octaves, while giving a hint of the song to be performed. Carnatic music_sentence_75

Theoretically, this ought to be the easiest type of improvisation, since the rules are so few, but in fact, it takes much skill to sing a pleasing, comprehensive (in the sense of giving a "feel for the ragam") and, most importantly, original raga alapana. Carnatic music_sentence_76

Niraval Carnatic music_section_9

Main article: Niraval Carnatic music_sentence_77

Niraval, usually performed by the more advanced performers, consists of singing one or two lines of text of a song repeatedly, but with a series of melodic improvised elaborations. Carnatic music_sentence_78

Although niraval consists of extempore melodic variations, generally, the original patterns of duration are maintained; each word in the lines of text stay set within their original place (idam) in the tala cycle. Carnatic music_sentence_79

The lines are then also played at different levels of speed which can include double speed, triple speed, quadruple speed and even sextuple speed. Carnatic music_sentence_80

The improvised elaborations are made with a view of outlining the raga, the tempo, and the theme of the composition. Carnatic music_sentence_81

Kalpanaswaram Carnatic music_section_10

Main article: Kalpanaswaram Carnatic music_sentence_82

Kalpanaswaram, also known as swarakalpana, consists of improvising melodic and rhythmic passages using swaras (solfa syllables). Carnatic music_sentence_83

Like niraval, kalpanaswaras are sung to end on a particular swara in the raga of the melody and at a specific place (idam) in the tala cycle. Carnatic music_sentence_84

Kalpanaswaras have a somewhat predictable rhythmical structure; the swaras are sung to end on the samam (the first beat of the rhythmical cycle). Carnatic music_sentence_85

The swaras can also be sung at the same speed or double the speed of the melody that is being sung, though some artists sing triple-speed phrases too. Carnatic music_sentence_86

Kalpanaswaram is the most elementary type of improvisation, usually taught before any other form of improvisation. Carnatic music_sentence_87

Tanam Carnatic music_section_11

Tanam is one of the most important forms of improvisation, and is integral to Ragam Tanam Pallavi. Carnatic music_sentence_88

Originally developed for the veena, it consists of expanding the raga with syllables like tha, nam, thom, aa, nom, na, etc. Carnatic music_sentence_89

Ragam Tanam Pallavi Carnatic music_section_12

Main article: Ragam Tanam Pallavi Carnatic music_sentence_90

Ragam, Tanam, and Pallavi are the principal long form in concerts, and is a composite form of improvisation. Carnatic music_sentence_91

As the name suggests, it consists of raga alapana, tanam, and a pallavi line. Carnatic music_sentence_92

Set to a slow-paced tala, the pallavi line is often composed by the performer. Carnatic music_sentence_93

Through niraval, the performer manipulates the pallavi line in complex melodic and rhythmic ways. Carnatic music_sentence_94

The niraval is followed by kalpanaswarams. Carnatic music_sentence_95

Tani Avartanam Carnatic music_section_13

Tani Avartanam refers to the extended solo that is played by the percussionists in a concert, and is usually played after the main composition in a concert. Carnatic music_sentence_96

The percussionist displays the full range of his skills and rhythmic imagination during the solo, which may take from two to twenty minutes. Carnatic music_sentence_97

Compositions Carnatic music_section_14

Prominent composers Carnatic music_section_15

See also: List of Carnatic composers and Musicians of the Kingdom of Mysore Carnatic music_sentence_98

There are many composers in Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_99

Purandara Dasa (1484–1564) is referred to as the Pitamaha (the father or grandfather) of Carnatic music as he formulated the basic lessons in teaching Carnatic music, and in honour of his significant contribution to Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_100

He structured graded exercises known as Swaravalis and Alankaras, and at the same time, introduced the Raga Mayamalavagowla as the first scale to be learnt by beginners. Carnatic music_sentence_101

He also composed Gitas (simple songs) for novice students. Carnatic music_sentence_102

The contemporaries Tyagaraja (1767– 1847), Muthuswami Dikshitar, (1776–1835) and Syama Sastri, (1762–1827) are regarded as the Trinity of Carnatic music because of the quality of Syama Sastri's compositions, the varieties of compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Tyagaraja's prolific output in composing kritis. Carnatic music_sentence_103

Prominent composers prior to the Trinity of Carnatic music include Arunachala Kavi, Annamacharya, Narayana Theertha, Vijaya Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Gopala Dasa, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Sadasiva Brahmendra and Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi. Carnatic music_sentence_104

Other composers are Swathi Thirunal, Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Neelakanta Sivan, Patnam Subramania Iyer, Mysore Vasudevachar, Koteeswara Iyer, Muthiah Bhagavathar, Subramania Bharathiyar, Kalyani Varadarajan, and Papanasam Sivan. Carnatic music_sentence_105

The compositions of these composers are rendered frequently by artists of today. Carnatic music_sentence_106

Composers of Carnatic music were often inspired by religious devotion and were usually scholars proficient in one or more of the languages Kannada, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil, or Telugu. Carnatic music_sentence_107

They usually included a signature, called a mudra, in their compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_108

For example, all songs by Tyagaraja (who composed in Telugu) have the word Tyagaraja in them, all songs by Muthuswami Dikshitar (who composed in Sanskrit) have the words Guruguha in them; songs by Syama Sastri (who composed in Telugu) have the words Syama Krishna in them; all songs by Purandaradasa (who composed in Kannada) have the words Purandara Vittala; while Gopalakrishna Bharathi (who composed in Tamil) used the signature Gopalakrishnan in his compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_109

Papanasam Sivan, who has been hailed as the Tamil Tyagaraja of Carnatic music, composed in Tamil and Sanskrit, and used the signature Ramadasan in his compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_110

Learning Carnatic music_section_16

Carnatic music is traditionally taught according to the system formulated by Purandara Dasa. Carnatic music_sentence_111

This involves sarali swaras (graded exercises), alankaras (exercises based on the seven talas), geetams or simple songs, and Swarajatis. Carnatic music_sentence_112

After the student has reached a certain standard, varnams are taught and later, the student learns kritis. Carnatic music_sentence_113

It typically takes several years of learning before a student is adept enough to perform at a concert. Carnatic music_sentence_114

The learning texts and exercises are more or less uniform across all the South Indian states. Carnatic music_sentence_115

The learning structure is arranged in increasing order of complexity. Carnatic music_sentence_116

The lessons start with the learning of the sarali varisai (solfege set to a particular raga). Carnatic music_sentence_117

Carnatic music was traditionally taught in the gurukula system, where the student lived with and learnt the art from his guru (perceptor). Carnatic music_sentence_118

From the late 20th century onwards, with changes in lifestyles and need for young music aspirants to simultaneously pursue a parallel academic career, this system has found few takers. Carnatic music_sentence_119

Musicians often take great pride in letting people know about their Guru Parampara, or the hierarchy of disciples from some prominent ancient musician or composer, to which they belong. Carnatic music_sentence_120

People whose disciple-hierarchies are often referred to are Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Syama Sastri, Swathi Thirunal and Papanasam Sivan, among others. Carnatic music_sentence_121

In modern times, it is common for students to visit their gurus daily or weekly to learn music. Carnatic music_sentence_122

Though new technology has made learning easier with the availability of quick-learn media such as learning exercises recorded on audio cassettes and CDs, these are discouraged by most gurus who emphasize that face-to-face learning is best for students. Carnatic music_sentence_123

Notations Carnatic music_section_17

Notation is not a new concept in Indian music. Carnatic music_sentence_124

However, Carnatic music continued to be transmitted orally for centuries without being written down. Carnatic music_sentence_125

The disadvantage with this system was that if one wanted to learn about a kriti composed, for example, by Purandara Dasa, it involved the difficult task of finding a person from Purandara Dasa's lineage of students. Carnatic music_sentence_126

Written notation of Carnatic music was revived in the late 17th century and early 18th century, which coincided with rule of Shahaji II in Tanjore. Carnatic music_sentence_127

Copies of Shahaji's musical manuscripts are still available at the Saraswati Mahal Library in Tanjore and they give us an idea of the music and its form. Carnatic music_sentence_128

They contain snippets of solfege to be used when performing the mentioned ragas. Carnatic music_sentence_129

Melody Carnatic music_section_18

Unlike classical Western music, Carnatic music is notated almost exclusively in tonic sol-fa notation using either a Roman or Indic script to represent the solfa names. Carnatic music_sentence_130

Past attempts to use the staff notation have mostly failed. Carnatic music_sentence_131

Indian music makes use of hundreds of ragas, many more than the church modes in Western music. Carnatic music_sentence_132

It becomes difficult to write Carnatic music using the staff notation without the use of too many accidentals. Carnatic music_sentence_133

Furthermore, the staff notation requires that the song be played in a certain key. Carnatic music_sentence_134

The notions of key and absolute pitch are deeply rooted in Western music, whereas the Carnatic notation does not specify the key and prefers to use scale degrees (relative pitch) to denote notes. Carnatic music_sentence_135

The singer is free to choose the actual pitch of the tonic note. Carnatic music_sentence_136

In the more precise forms of Carnatic notation, there are symbols placed above the notes indicating how the notes should be played or sung; however, informally this practice is not followed. Carnatic music_sentence_137

To show the length of a note, several devices are used. Carnatic music_sentence_138

If the duration of note is to be doubled, the letter is either capitalized (if using Roman script) or lengthened by a diacritic (in Indian languages). Carnatic music_sentence_139

For a duration of three, the letter is capitalized (or diacriticized) and followed by a comma. Carnatic music_sentence_140

For a length of four, the letter is capitalized (or diacriticized) and then followed by a semicolon. Carnatic music_sentence_141

In this way any duration can be indicated using a series of semicolons and commas. Carnatic music_sentence_142

However, a simpler notation has evolved which does not use semicolons and capitalization, but rather indicates all extensions of notes using a corresponding number of commas. Carnatic music_sentence_143

Thus, Sā quadrupled in length would be denoted as "S,,,". Carnatic music_sentence_144

Rhythm Carnatic music_section_19

The notation is divided into columns, depending on the structure of the tāḷaṃ. Carnatic music_sentence_145

The division between a laghu and a dhrutam is indicated by a।, called a ḍaṇḍā, and so is the division between two dhrutams or a dhrutam and an anudhrutam. Carnatic music_sentence_146

The end of a cycle is marked by a॥, called a double ḍaṇḍā, and looks like a caesura. Carnatic music_sentence_147

Performance Carnatic music_section_20

Main article: Performances of Carnatic music Carnatic music_sentence_148

Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, who sit on an elevated stage. Carnatic music_sentence_149

This usually consists of, at least, a principal performer, a melodic accompaniment, a rhythm accompaniment, and a drone. Carnatic music_sentence_150

Performances can be musical or musical-dramatic. Carnatic music_sentence_151

Musical recitals are either vocal, or purely instrumental in nature, while musical-dramatic recitals refer to Harikatha. Carnatic music_sentence_152

But, irrespective of what type of recital it is, what is featured are compositions which form the core of this genre of music. Carnatic music_sentence_153

Instrumentation Carnatic music_section_21

See also: Indian musical instruments Carnatic music_sentence_154

The tambura is the traditional drone instrument used in concerts. Carnatic music_sentence_155

However, tamburas are increasingly being replaced by śruti boxes, and now more commonly, the electronic tambura. Carnatic music_sentence_156

The drone itself is an integral part of performances and furnishes stability – the equivalent of harmony in Western music. Carnatic music_sentence_157

In a vocal recital, a concert team may have one or more vocalists as the principal performer(s). Carnatic music_sentence_158

Instruments, such as the Saraswati veena and/or venu flute, can be occasionally found as a accompaniment, but usually, a vocalist is supported by a violin player (who sits on his/her left). Carnatic music_sentence_159

The rhythm accompanist is usually a mridangam player (who sits on the other side, facing the violin player). Carnatic music_sentence_160

However, other percussion instruments such as the ghatam, kanjira and morsing frequently also accompany the main percussion instrument and play in an almost contrapuntal fashion along with the beats. Carnatic music_sentence_161

The objective of the accompanying instruments is far more than following the melody and keeping the beats. Carnatic music_sentence_162

The accompaniments form an integral part of every composition presented, and they closely follow and augment the melodic phrases outlined by the lead singer. Carnatic music_sentence_163

The vocalist and the violinist take turns while elaborating or while exhibiting creativity in sections like raga, niraval and kalpanaswaram. Carnatic music_sentence_164

Unlike Hindustani music concerts, where an accompanying tabla player can keep beats without following the musical phrases at times, in Carnatic music, the accompanists have to follow the intricacies of the composition since there are percussion elements such as eduppu in several compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_165

Some concerts feature a good bit of interaction with the lead musicians and accompanists exchanging notes, and accompanying musicians predicting the lead musician's musical phrases. Carnatic music_sentence_166

Contemporary concert content Carnatic music_section_22

A contemporary Carnatic music concert (called a kutcheri) usually lasts about three hours, and comprises a number of varied compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_167

Carnatic songs are composed in a particular raga, which means that they do not deviate from the notes in the raga. Carnatic music_sentence_168

Each composition is set with specific notes and beats, but performers improvise extensively. Carnatic music_sentence_169

Improvisation occurs in the melody of the composition as well as in using the notes to expound the beauty of the raga. Carnatic music_sentence_170

Concerts usually begin with a varnam or an invocatory item which will act as the opening piece. Carnatic music_sentence_171

The varnam is composed with an emphasis on swaras of the raga, but will also have lyrics, the saahityam. Carnatic music_sentence_172

It is lively and fast to get the audience's attention. Carnatic music_sentence_173

An invocatory item may usually follow the varnam. Carnatic music_sentence_174

After the varnam and/or invocatory item, the artist sings longer compositions called kirtanas (commonly referred to as kritis). Carnatic music_sentence_175

Each kriti sticks to one specific raga, although some are composed with more than one raga; these are known as ragamalika (a garland of ragas). Carnatic music_sentence_176

After singing the opening kriti, usually, the performer sings the kalpanaswaram of the raga to the beat. Carnatic music_sentence_177

The performer must improvise a string of swaras in any octave according to the rules of the raga and return to beginning of the cycle of beats smoothly, joining the swaras with a phrase selected from the kriti. Carnatic music_sentence_178

The violin performs these alternately with the main performer. Carnatic music_sentence_179

In very long strings of swara, the performers must calculate their notes accurately to ensure that they stick to the raga, have no awkward pauses or lapses in the beat of the song, and create a complex pattern of notes that a knowledgeable audience can follow. Carnatic music_sentence_180

Performers then begin the main compositions with a section called raga alapana exploring the raga. Carnatic music_sentence_181

In this, they use the sounds aa, ri, na, ta, etc. instead of swaras to slowly elaborate the notes and flow of the raga. Carnatic music_sentence_182

This begins slowly and builds to a crescendo, and finally establishes a complicated exposition of the raga that shows the performer's skill. Carnatic music_sentence_183

All of this is done without any rhythmic accompaniment, or beat. Carnatic music_sentence_184

Then the melodic accompaniment (violin or veena), expounds the raga. Carnatic music_sentence_185

Experienced listeners can identify many ragas after they hear just a few notes. Carnatic music_sentence_186

With the raga thus established, the song begins, usually with lyrics. Carnatic music_sentence_187

In this, the accompaniment (usually violin, sometimes veena) performs along with the main performer and the percussion (such as a mridangam). Carnatic music_sentence_188

In the next stage of the song, they may sing niraval or kalpanaswaram again. Carnatic music_sentence_189

In most concerts, the main item will at least have a section at the end of the item, for the percussion to perform solo (called the tani avartanam). Carnatic music_sentence_190

The percussion artists perform complex patterns of rhythm and display their skill. Carnatic music_sentence_191

If multiple percussion instruments are employed, they engage in a rhythmic dialogue until the main performer picks up the melody once again. Carnatic music_sentence_192

Some experienced artists may follow the main piece with a ragam thanam pallavi mid-concert, if they do not use it as the main item. Carnatic music_sentence_193

Following the main composition, the concert continues with shorter and lighter songs. Carnatic music_sentence_194

Some of the types of songs performed towards the end of the concerts are tillanas and thukkadas – bits of popular kritis or compositions requested by the audience. Carnatic music_sentence_195

Every concert that is the last of the day ends with a mangalam, a thankful prayer and conclusion to the musical event. Carnatic music_sentence_196

Audience Carnatic music_section_23

The audience of a typical concert will have some understanding of Carnatic music. Carnatic music_sentence_197

It is also typical to see the audience tapping out the tala in sync with the artist's performance. Carnatic music_sentence_198

As and when the artist exhibits creativity, the audience acknowledge it by clapping their hands. Carnatic music_sentence_199

With experienced artists, towards the middle of the concert, requests start flowing in. Carnatic music_sentence_200

The artist usually sings the requests, and it helps in exhibiting the artist's broad knowledge of the several thousand kritis that are in existence. Carnatic music_sentence_201

Festivals Carnatic music_section_24

Main articles: List of Carnatic music festivals and Madras Music Season Carnatic music_sentence_202

Various music festivals featuring Carnatic music performances are held in India, and throughout the world. Carnatic music_sentence_203

With the city of Chennai (then known as Madras) emerging as the locus for Carnatic music during the 19th century, its musicians founded the Tyagaraja Aradhana festival in 1846. Carnatic music_sentence_204

The Aradhana festival is an annual death-anniversary celebration of the prolific Carnatic music composer, Tyagaraja. Carnatic music_sentence_205

Held in the city of Thiruvayaru, thousands of musicians attend the festival to perform his compositions. Carnatic music_sentence_206

Since its inception, other festivals were started in a similar manner throughout India and abroad, such as the Chembai Sangeetholsavam in the Indian city of Guruvayur, and the Aradhana in the US city of Cleveland. Carnatic music_sentence_207

The city of Chennai also holds a six-week-long grand "Music Season", which has been described as the world's largest cultural event. Carnatic music_sentence_208

The Music Season was started in 1927, to mark the opening of the Madras Music Academy. Carnatic music_sentence_209

It used to be a traditional month-long Carnatic music festival, but since then it has also diversified into dance and drama, as well as non-Carnatic art forms. Carnatic music_sentence_210

Some concert organisers also feature their own Carnatic music festivals during the season. Carnatic music_sentence_211

Thousands of performances are held by hundreds of musicians across various venues in the city. Carnatic music_sentence_212

The Karnataka Ganakala Parishat is an annual conference of Carnatic music, held in February every year, which has lectures and demonstrations in the morning, and performances in the afternoons and evenings. Carnatic music_sentence_213

See also Carnatic music_section_25

Carnatic music_unordered_list_2


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnatic music.