John Miles Foley, Founding Editor

Shellac, Bakelite, Vinyl, and Paper: Artifacts and Representations of North Indian Art Music


[duPerron and Magrial] have identified three prominent contingencies for the interaction between poetic text and tāl.

From pages 137-138:

  1. Songs in which the sam (the first beat of the tāl) falls on a poetically meaningful word, for instance:

    “Rāg Yaman Kalyān,” performed by Bhimsen Joshi:
    e rī ālī piyā bina (“hey my friend, without my lover”)
    The sam is on pi of piyā (“lover”). Consequently the vowel becomes lengthened in performance.

    “Rāg Gauḍ Sāraṅg,” performed by D. V. Paluskar:
    piyu pala na lāgī morī ãkhiyā (“love, I don’t get a moment’s rest”)
    The sam is on of lāgī (“get”).

    “Rāg Dhanāśrī,” performed by Vilayat Hussain Khan:
    tero dhyāna dharata hū dina raina (“I focus my attention on you night and day”)
    The sam is on dhyā of dhyāna (“attention”).

  2. Songs in which the sam falls on a syllable that would not have stress in written poetry:

    “Rāg Durgā,” performed by Mallikarjun Mansur:
    catura sughara āvo re (“clever beautiful one, please come”)
    The sam is on ra of sughara (“beautiful”).

    “Rāg Mārū Bihāg,” performed by Bhimsen Joshi:
    tarapata raina dina (“I toss and turn day and night”)
    The sam is on na of dina (“day”). The vowel lengthens in performance.

  3. Songs in which the sam falls in the middle of a verb:

    “Rāg Darbārī Kānaḍa,” performed by Amir Khan:
    kina bairana kāna bhare (“what enemy of mine is telling you things?” [literally “filling your ears”])
    The sam is on re of bhare (“filling”).

    “Rāg Chāyanaṭ,” performed by Omkarnath Thakur:
    bharī gagarī morī ḍhurakāī chaila (“that rascal threw down my full waterpot”)
    The sam is on of ḍhurakāī (“threw down”).

    “Rāg Hamīr,” performed by D. V. Paluskar:
    surajhā rahī hū (“I am getting tangled up”)
    The sam is on jhā of surajhā (“tangled”), in this case part of a verbal phrase. (We consider this composition in its entirety later).

Rāg Hamīr Tīntāl - D. V. Paluskar

From page 149:

This example is from the academic wing of the Gwalior gharānā (stylistic school) of vocal music. The singer D. V. Paluskar was the extraordinarily gifted son of the reformist pedagogue Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. Although replete with an airy buoyant feeling, this rendition is devoid of rhythmic or melodic ambiguities, typical of performances by the pedagogical class of singers. This is to say that the notes are very clear, not obscured by gamak (a vigorous broad shaking of notes), and they tend to fall squarely on the beats. The enunciation is also very clear. This sort of song is conducive to pain-free transcription.

Rāg Sampūrn Mālkauns Vilambit Tīntāl - Kishori Amonkar

From page 149:

Here, Kishori Amonkar, considered by many to be the greatest living ˚yāl singer, sings a rare rāg that is a speciality of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharānā, a seven-note version of the popular pentatonic “Rāg Mālkauns.”

Rāg Toḍī Madhya-lay Tīntāl - Faiyaz Khan

From pages 151-152:

Our final example, Figure 13, is of the type of composition with which transcribers wrestle and sweat and then wrestle and sweat again at periodic intervals. Faiyaz Khan, one of the towering figures of Indian music in the twentieth century, appears to have transcended concrete relationships with songs: he pushed them and pulled them, molding them around his musical inspiration. It is not easy, sometimes not possible, to deduce what is actually “song” and what is improvisation; the two blend extremely fluidly. Although Faiyaz Khan’s rendition of “Rāg Toḍī” is in a medium tempo, the song connects with the tāl in a very abstract manner.

See Lalita du Perron and Nicolas Magriel's article in Oral Tradition 20, i for their new style of transcribing music and voice.

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