|LINKS & SOUND|
As a country with the sixth largest population in the world
(140 million inhabitants) it is extremely difficult to select a region for music
research and collection to be represented in an exhibition. In July 2009 Rolf
visited the Sindh province and
For many reasons it seems justified to start a Pakistani research project in Sindh: the river Sindhu (or Indus) is the most important river delta in
In West Bengal (eastern India) Rolf and his co-researcher, the Sarod player, Somjit Dasgupta have initiated what is probably the finest and most comprehensive manufacturing and collection project of Hindustani Musical Instruments ever conducted. Within this project is was also possible to film the making of such rare instruments as the dilrupa, sur-rabab and surshringar, or surbahar.
Hindustani Music is the classical music prevalent
in north India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Somjit Dasgupta is a master musician
specialising in the string instruments Sarod and Rabab, a disciple of the
Hindustani music maestro, the late Radhika Mohan Moitra and also an instrument
restorer. Rolf and Somjit commissioned the instrument making from a group of
traditional instrument makers in West Bengal, led by the master craftsman Sanot
Halder. These makers were guided by the master instrument maker, Mohan Lal
Sharma, whose family traditionally made instruments for the late Radhika Mohan
Moitra and his gurus.
As in the Karnatic Music collection project in West Bengal the researchers also collected instruments belonging to the devotional and folk music genres. This seems justified as the strict division in ‘folk’, ‘devotional’, and ‘classical’ genres is originally a colonial concept, though still widely used and does not show the interaction between these genres.
All the Karnatic and devotional musical instruments were collected in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where the researchers worked with instrument makers of Tanjavur, Madurai and Chennai.
Karnatic music (sometimes spelt karnatik, carnatic, or karnatak) is the traditional art music of South India and Sri Lanka. As in most other Indian musical genres the ensembles consist of four musical elements. The voice or a melody instrument express the melodic component, drums, claypot and jew’s harp (ie. kanjira, mrdangam, gadam, morsing) articulate the rhythmic structure, idiophones (thala) and/or handclapping punctuate the time cycles, and drone instruments provide the basic sounds (usually ‘sa’ or ‘sa’ and ‘pa’). These are mainly the pneumatic or electric ruti-box and the open-stringed lute called a tambura.
All music is voice-based: the voice is used as a solo ‘instrument’, where the melody instrument ‘follows’ the singer. Melodic instruments (such as the vina, violin, murali, and gottuvadyam) imitate the voice, but there is also a specific repertoire for each instrument.
The term raga indicates a complicated melodic system based on tune and scale. A short unmetered introduction – the alapana – is normally sung to introduce a musical piece. Tala describes the rhythmic structure based on a fixed number of irregularly spaced beats to be played within a given tempo; the geometric multiplication or division is maintained throughout the piece.
The main genres are kriti (song), varnam (longer study piece), ragam-tanam-pallavi (the elaborated main piece), padam and tillana (music accompanying dance). The Periyaam is a temple instrument ensemble comprising drum, oboe and cymbals (ie tavil, na dasvaram, and thala).
Karnatic music has been mainly developed and
shaped on the base of Hindu devotional music performed in the temples and
private households and the Hindu courts of south India.
Makers & Musician - Somjit Dasgupta, Mohanlal Sharma and Tavil Maker - Abdul Kareem Dawood