Sunday, July 21, 2013

Importance of Being Malinitai

One one important concept we wish to explore is the interplay of the two polarities of Indian Classical -one, Scholarship about Raga, and two, the engagement of the auditory and intellectual faculties of the Classical Music connoisseur...

An illustration of the supposed dichotomy between theory and sensory felicity was presented thus, in the post ''Be a Good Listener", 

"....(Pt.) Ratanjankar used to interview leading artistes as part of his mission, documentation of Indian Classical, and sportingly courted the wrath of some of the unpredictable geniuses. Ustad Abdual Karim Khan roundly castigated Panditji thus: tu bara swaranche khoke wajawnaratu mala kaay wicharto tumhi gujri todi kashi gaata', or something like that. That's the level of resistance to documentation of any kind in our society..." [1]

Attention is again drawn to the following passage in the post 'Fourth Commandment Zindabad' where the great musical thinker Ustad Halim Jaffer Khan alludes to a favourite she-r:

मख्तबे इश्क़ और मख्तबे मौसीकी का ये देखा दस्तूर,
उसे ज़िन्दगी भर छुट्टी मिली, जिसका सबक याद हुआ……   

“This, we learn, is the custom of the School of Romantic Love, and the School of Music- he who learnt his lesson well never got a Day Off!" 'Study' is but 'Leisure' to the one who really 'ínternalised' the lesson... We suppose this aspect of universal Musical Experience would bear  introspection and will receive attention in some of the coming posts, inshaallah.

So- what has all this to do with the title we give to today's entry..."Importance of Being Malinitai"?- the World, if Missus, and YT's intuition, are to be believed.

Listen to her Charukeshi:


At 2.03, 2.06, 2.08, 2.10 and 2.13, for instance, and at numerous other 'places' ('जागा' in Marathi) you'll find 'lehak' discontinuities, which, given the auditory equivalent of 'persistence of  vision' applicable to Cinema, seek, possibly involuntarily, to create a three-dimensional structure of the Raga, as against a linear or two-dimensional one. It can also be likened to the trapeze act where the artiste abandons one swing and clutches the other...no safety net..Once we work out the notational structure in association with Missus and Senior, we'll be able to assert with greater authority, our shared belief, that Malinitai is THE Thinker's Musician, or the Musician's Musician,blessed at the same time, with consummate tonal felicity..

To elaborate the idea of a three dimensional presentation of say Charukeshi (is only an illustration, not from the clip), just see the figure to the left, which is, let's assume, Malinitai's recital. Two taans commence in your mind from the black dot, which is सा. The actual taan sung is the unbroken line, say SA RE GA MA PA MA GA RE. By means of an illusion, say a sort of ventriloquism, the unsung part of the previous taan say SA RE GA MA simultaneously appears to fall on your ear in the shape of the dotted line, actually beginning from रे  but seemingly interpolating to सा,  thereby creating the illusion of a three dimensional structure of the recital. Mince that's our hypothesis हं,..

This phenomenon, which we call a three dimensional structure, was noted in the context of  Hindustani vocal by the British musicologist Willard, who in 1834 AD, wrote the very second book in English on Indian Classical. He writes:

"When these flights are more lengthened than a single appoggiatura (*) , the ad libitum movement runs through the full time of a whole measure, or a certain number of measures, reckoning from the instant of its adoption to that when it is dropped, taking up the measure of the rhythm at the same foot where it was dropped, or if these passages require more or less time than the complement of the measure requires, allowance is made for it in re-joining the melody."

(*) something like padding up a note.

By the way some other aspects of Tai's prowess have already been talked about by us in previous posts...as we wrote on another occasion, Malinitai was a Mathematics teacher in the first place (as was the writer himself).

[1] translated: you, who play that 12-note idiot-box, have the temerity of asking ME how I sing Gujri Todi...? 


2 comments:

vidushi said...

I do not know about Parrikar, I doubt if Tai feels like that with surety. Fans and critics have different imaginations. I and my husband who is a reader of Vocal never heard of such thing like 3D composition. Of course I wish it is real. If so only Tai can do it.

Carl von 'Bailiff said...

vidushi, this is a 'Discovery', not an 'Invention' of my mind.