lndian Classical Music --- NS notes 110

lndian Classical Music --- Learning - Practice - Riyaz

Off late I am being asked by a lot of my friends and acquaintances about the process of learning Indian (hindustani ) classical music and how-to questions on practice and  "Riyaz".

This is a very inner "experience" oriented topic. There are no hard and fast rules or reccommendations that I can provide. I can only talk about my experiences.

First point I would like to make is that a good teacher ( "guru" ) is very important. You definitely cannot learn Indian 'Hindutani" classical music just by listening to audio or even just by watching Videos.  Note that I said "just by" , you can learn a lot from listening or watching ....but in addition to that....to be really able to learn the structure and complexities , you do need a Guru.

Second point is that regular practice ( "riyaz" ) is equally important. This is true for any kind of music hindustani vocals or karnatic ( south indian ) vocals or even same applies for any instruments practice for instrumental music or even any other type of music be it western classical or rock or hip-hop.

What is "Riyaz" -

............to be continued.....................

Wall Street Protests .... rebels...revolution... capitalism...change is the only constant !!

.................to be continued................

While reading about the recent protests on Wall Street and the movement which is picking up steam ( as I write this in  Oct 2011 ) I was thinking  about the phrase or saying which is " Change only constant !"

We had different form of government and economic-political systems in this world. In the modern world at least we know of feudalistic - monarchy based ; socialistic - communistic based ; capitalistic .....to name a few main ones.

What if we come together and form a newer system which has not been named yet ? It might happen or it might not. I do not know and I am sure no one knows, although the pundits and the so called "experts" like economists or 'Wall Street Analysts" would like to show off their 'expertness' and education or foresight by predicting thing to come in our near future, my thought is that we  DO NOT KNOW !

One thing we can see is that the average American ( and also now it is global movement ) who is educated, works ( or has worked ) for corporate America has now realized the fallacies and deep rooted issues ( other word for problems) with the capitalistic/American-corporation/Wall-Street  form or economic-political system.

......................to be continued.................

Tagore 150th anniversary celebration in Bay Area

.............to be continued..........

Rabindranath Tagore's 150th anniversary celebrations are being held in different parts of the world this year.  The great man ( seems weird to call him a man as he almost feels like a God - as Hindus have many interpretations of God in different forms and names )  was born in 1861.

Some interesting facts I gathered about him -
* He was the first person from the continent of Asia to receive the Nobel Prize
* As a child he did not like school and was opposed to the structured formal schooling system, but has a university in his name or around his philosophy and work. ( Vishwa Bharati University , at ShantiNiketan, West Bengal )

lndian Classical Music --- NS notes 101

One would note that the topic / title has the phrase "Indian Music" qualified within parenthesis with the other common terms like 'classical' , 'bhajan' , ghazal, 'geet' etc and even 'Bollywood'.
The reason being Indian music is a super set of all these different forms. Much like the country of India actually encompasses many different languages, peoples and cultures. It is similar to saying European music or if Europe was defined as one country. There would be so many different cultures and varied forms within that.
In any case, I guess you got the point about 'Indian Music'. If you are from India or that region it would be easier to comprehend the diversity within the overall form of music or the term used here i.e. Indian Music.

OK, here are some general definitions and guidelines-
Bhajans- devotional songs primarily bases on Classical Music which in turn means based on Ragas.
Ghazals - poetry primarily in Urdu language which have been given melody and composed into songs again based on Classical music and Ragas
Geet - Simpler songs both in terms of lyrics and the tune or melody composition but more closer to the common person and sung from the heart rather than mind
Bollywood Music - Songs from the Film Industry where traditionally most films were musical type films

Indian ( Hindustani ) Classical Music Grammar

Music is music , the notes are the same in Indian or Western or any other. The way we represent them and the way we structure them is different in these different forms of Music Grammar i.e Western or Indian Hindustani or Indian Karnatic etc.

The notes are

Sa , Re , Ga , Ma , Pa , Dha , Ni , Sa ( upper )

in western music it corresponds to

Do , Re , Mi , Fa , So , La , Ti , Do ( upper )

if you play these notes on a keyboard and start from the Middle 'C' they would correspond to

C , D , E , F , G , A , B , C ( upper )

<<< to be continued >>>

[ as noted in my other blogs/notes - these are general thoughts on different subjects and I would be editing and adding content and modifying these notes with time. My blogging is not time based but rather topic based ]

Introduction to Indian Music

For better pastures...leaving loved ones behind....Immigrant in USA

For better pastures...leaving loved ones behind....Immigrant in USA....
Thinking about this topic many of these phrases come to my mind . All of them are true in some sense and also not the entire truth behind the issues related to a person leaving his or her native country of origin to settle in a foreign country for better standard of living...
I came to the US about 20 years ago ( early 1992) for the first time.   It was an experience one cannot convey in words.  It was the first time I left my country India, my country of birth, my motherland.  It was also not leaving the country but leaving my parents, siblings , friends and relatives behind...
Well that was 20 years ago and now a lot has changed in my life...and my thinking.
Since my dad passed away a few years ago I have been asking my mother to come and stay with me here in the US but she is totally against the idea.  She tells me that since I left India and went to the US , it should be I who needs to come back to my country of origin and not the other way around meaning she does not need to follow suit since i emigrated out.  My asking her to also settle or at least live for some time in the US means uprooting her from her home and also at such a late age in life as she is in her 70s. But - that means she will be alone over there since I cannot leave this place! I have kids growing up here and going to school and such and they do not want to leave this place i.e. the US which is they country they were born !  See now we have 3 generations with three different perspectives on this !
Apart from the kids being born here there are other family court related issues where divorced parents ( such as myself ) cannot make a solo decision to take children out of the country !
These are complexities of modern life , multi-cultutal life, global citizenship and cross generational issues...
Thoughts ..thoughts..and thoughts....

Science and Spirituality

Every human being , every animal, every plant, all the mountains, lakes, oceans...ok..every object, Every atom , every planet , every star, every galaxy, every thing in this ever expanding universe... including light , sound, electromagnetic waves, all energy ................... all came from one single point ....according to the big bang theory .......so we all are from one source one point one thing......

Science and spiritualism gets merged..... Because everything came from one point means that all space and time also came from that unexplained point or the birth of this universe.........it is said as per this theory.... That even all thoughts from all individuals past present and future are also part of this universe and are all connected and came from the one common point......

Yup....earrth is a small part of it ....if u consider the entire universe including things like light and magnetism and gravitational forces ....all generated from one point out of nowhere....I like reading about these ..not necessarily understand :)

Talking about Kids education - schooling testing - who knows what is best ?

I have been recently getting stressed out trying to get kids ready for their annual tests a.k.a STAR tests here in California.  I can see that parents are more stressed these days than the students. Maybe this is only true of Indian community as I belong to that community here ! Or maybe it is an issue with Asian families including folks originated from India, China , Japan, Korea or such ?   Or ...wait..maybe it is an issue with the immigrant community in this country ? Hmmm... again not all immigrants ! there are immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico and many other countries where things are a bit different amongst the immigrant communities per my understanding...
So what is the issue ? Is it a compound effect of multiple factors as stated above ? namely effect of factors including nationality of origin,  immigration ,  education level of the parents and maybe a myriad of other factors.
Coming back to the issue of kids and parents stress levels because of upcoming tests, is that an expected  reaction ? I know that if I ask this question to folks like my friends or such , their response would be that this is normal. But I agree this is normal but is that an expected behavior  from the system per se ?
It is said that a little amount of stress is good so maybe that is what it is ...it is good up to a certain extent..
Again the question arises - how do we define the "little" amount of stress ? How do we decide to what extent ?

Recent buzz about corruption in India -

All of a sudden I am reading all these discussions and postings on FaceBook about anti-corruption movement in India. The man in particular who is leading the fight or at least is popular at the moment is Anna Hazare.  Very interesting to read about him...............to be continued..

Ranjish Hi Sahi

Couple of days ago I felt like singing 'Ranjish Hi Sahi' the immortal ghazal sung and made famous by the legendary pakistani singer Mehdi Hasan Khan Sahib.

  I also felt like recording it and subsequently create another Music Video for posting on YouTube.

 I have about 34 or 35 videos posted on YT that were totally created by me at until this point in time...
The YouTube site is http://www.youtube.com/nilanjansarkar

And the particular song Ranjish hi sahi is at

Nilanjan (Neel) Sarkar


My Movie World ...when growing up ...

I grew up in India, in a middle class family.  My father was a doctor. An eye surgeon, but most of his life he worked for the Government of India at the Steel Plant Main Hospital in Bhilai.  My parents were very very strict about studies, traditional culture and arts, moral values like  honesty  , integrity and so on.... I was a REBEL in the family.  Movies were not really welcome in our house. I would always try to sneak and watch Bollywood or Hollywood movies.
My parents would take us to movies sometimes  and the average in the first few years of my life was approximately 1 or 2 movies per year !!
Being a rebel, when I turned 13 or 14 , I started going out on my own to watch movies.
Some of those first movies that I watched all by myself all engrossed and all "wow".   The first few movies as I can recall now are as follows.
Hum Kisise Kum Nahin in 1978 starring Rishi Kapoor  and to top it it was a musical primarily all my favorites in one package.... all R D Burman music with Kishore Kumar and  Lata Mangeshkar and Asha  Bhonsle and Md Rafi .
Muquaddar Ka Sikandar also in 1978 starring Big B i.e Amitabh Bachchan. This was the first Bachchan movie that I saw, immediately made me his fan.  The glamour the charisma the 'wow' !

To be continued .....

My Music - while growing up - childhood days

What genre can I call the music that influenced me while growing up......
OK let me think of what I recall of the music I would hear at home and around the community . They were - Hindi Film ( Filmi ) Songs or now known as Bollywood music, Bangla songs both Adhunik and Film ( will talk about these categorizations soon) , Rabindra Sangeet , Ghazals,  Hindustani Classical Khayal Thumri etc,  and some British and less of American folk and rock songs.

To be continued ....

Born in Bhilai ... where in the world is Bhilai ?

Where in the world is Bhilai ? Well today you can go to your web browser and Google Bhilai. But this was a question I was asked by folks like family members whom I would meet during holidays when I was in elementary school or 'Primary' school as we used to know it. As you can tell these were days before the Web. Before the Web Browser wars, before the Internet , even before Notebooks , Laptops or Personal Computers. Sounds like a long long time ago ...once upon a time...well  the time I am talking about is the  early 70s.
Well, forget about Internet or personal computers, we did not have a Television ! Really ?? Yes - there was no TV broadcasts in India during those days!  OK..now you know Bhilai is in India.  India is a conglomeration of different states and  the number of states keeps changing as the political parties and people's thinking keeps changing!
OK the state in which Bhilai exists was also non-existent when I was born. Bhilai was in a state of India called Madhya Pradesh, which has subsequently been divided and now the city belongs to the fresh newly formed state of Chhattisgarh.
Going back to the technology discussion, talking about TV , we did not have one untill most of our neighbors anf friends and family had TVs and that was in the early-mid 80s. Can you imagine it was nearly the end of my teenage years when we finally got a TV at home.

To be continued ...

OK...I created a new Blog .......Now what ???

OH...I know what....I will start writing a book....will get it published soooon.....

What if no one reads it ? Well I will be OK knowing that atleast I wrote my thoughts and got it published !