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The Carnatic Jazz Experiment: Developing Approaches to Cross-cultural Composition and Improvisation Carnatic Jazz Experiment, Concert One. 13 March, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The Carnatic Jazz Experiment: Developing Approaches to Cross-cultural Composition and Improvisation Carnatic Jazz Experiment, Concert One. 13 March, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Carnatic Jazz Experiment: Developing Approaches to Cross-cultural Composition and Improvisation Carnatic Jazz Experiment, Concert One. 13 March, 2009.

2 Me, pre Brought up on Bach, Hendrix, Mahler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Beatles, Stan Getz, Tom Waits and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Began professional career playing jazz piano at 15. Gradual shift to guitar in late teens. Bachelor of Music (composition), QCGU, Focus on odd-meter jazz-funk-fusion complexity (Babel ). Immersion in new music/orchestral music composition. (Compost ; ACOF 2001 and 2002; Affiliate of TQO in 2003). Focus on jazz playing and composing (Toby Wren Trio ). Influence of Carnatic music beginning in 2004.

3 My Research The Carnatic jazz experiment: Learning to reconcile Carnatic and jazz in my composition and improvisation practice ( ). Research as practice:: Practice as research. An autoethnography. 2 performances: Test cases for approaches to composing and improvising in a Carnatic-jazz style.

4 Me compositions and Improvisations Carnatic Lessons Carnatic Listening Carnatic Reading Carnatic Collaborations carnatic-jazz me

5 Carnatic Music Sounds like this: Sowmya, Jagadandakaraka (Thyagaraja). And this: TN Sheshagopalan, Aparathamula (Patnam Subramania Iyer). And this: Aruna Sairam, Venkataramanee (Purandara Dasa). It can also sound like this: U Srinivas, Raghunathaninne (R S Iyengar). And this: R Prasanna, Maha Ganapathim (Dikshitar). And this: Karaikkudi R Mani, Sruthi Laya (KR Mani). It is monophonic (melody with rhythmic accompaniment) against a R-5 drone. The effort that Western music put into harmony, Indian music put into melodic and rhythmic construction. Rhythmic approach is the most complex of any musical culture. Carnatic compositions are long and intricate. and, the aesthetics are different to western music.

6 My Learning Process See Carnatic concerts – Chennai 2006, Texts on Carnatic music Pesch, Ramanathan, Wade, Qureshi et al, Lavezzoli, Farrell, David Nelson, Mannarkoil Balaji. Cross-Cultural Musicianship QUT Music & Sound Other C-C collaborations Dheeraj Shrestha, Hyelim Kim and teachers and collaborators….

7 Gurus and Collaborators Eshwarshanker Jeyarajan Tunji Beier Rajyashree Josyer Srikanth Andrew ShawJohn RodgersDheeraj Shrestha Karaikkudi R ManiPalghat Raghu R Prasanna U Srinivas Stephen Newcomb Jamie Clark

8 Developing a Cross-cultural composition/improvisation language Learn, compare, synthesize, do. Jazz glasses. Rethink. Immerse. Relearn. Deliberate actions: … composition exercises, improvisation exercises, collaborative exercises.

9 Summary of Approaches Use of rhythmic cadences: Moras and Korvais. Use of Gamakas. Use of compositional forms. Reconciliation of drone. Use of concert structures.

10 Rhythmic Cadences in Improv Practice RCs in the hope that they would magically come out in performance. Learn simple Moras. Eg. 3x(n) Practice specific RCs for specific pieces. Practice RCs of different lengths.

11 Gamakas Listen to lots of Carnatic music. Practice Carnatic pieces. Intentionally use Gamakas for expression in other forms of music.

12 Compositional form Carnatic krithi: (in very broad brush-strokes) Pallavi Anupallavi Charanam (all composed, generally 2 lines of text, with variation) Alap (improvised introduction of ragam- pitch set) - Improvisation (trading with accompanist) can occur at the end of any section. Usuall ends in a korvai or mora. - A key phrase from the pallavi is usually used as a point of return to be sung after subsequent sections and at the end of improvisations.

13 Reconciliation of drone Mridangam, tabla, ghatam are pitched. Drone as the root of all chords Drone notes included in all chords Harmony developed from a ragam (diatonic)

14 Concert format Varnum Krithis (3-5) Main Piece (containing the tani avarttanam) - a Ragam Tanam Pallavi; or - a long krithi lighter krithis, padams and javallis (3-5)

15 compared to the western Big song or 2 to start Ballad Unknown material Big songs to finish

16 #1 – Holed up in the Palmgrove Written in India the week after the Mumbai attacks. Initial inspiration a Jazz piece (Alcohotlicks), later adapted to Khanda Chapu (5/8). Interplay of harmony and drone. Use of Karaikkudi Mani korvai for melody: TakitaThom, TakaThom, TaThom, TakitaThom, TakaThom, TaThom, TaThom, TakitaThom, TakaThom, TaThom, TaThom, TaThom, Taka Thom, Taka Thom, Taka ||Thom and Eshwarshanker korvai: Dhit, Thang kita taka tari kita taka Tham,,, Thaka thom Thang kita taka tari kita taka Tham,,, Dhit, Thang kita taka tari kita taka Tham, Thaka thom Thang kita taka tari kita taka Tham, Dhit, Thang kita taka tari kita taka Thaka thom Thang kita taka tari kita taka That,, deeng,, gi,, na,, thom,, That, ding, gi, na, thom, Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom Tham, Thaangu Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom Tham, Thaangu Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom Tha din gi na thom || Dha

17 Holed up in the Palmgrove Toby Wren (2008)

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19 #2 – Nataraja Ragam influence - # 4 and #6 Contrasting sections – jazz/carnatic Use of groupings – 12=3x4 ; 24 = 3x8 Use of groupings – 3 x n KRM korvai Thath, Dhit, Taka Dhin, dhin, ka, Tha,,, Dhit, Taka Dhin, dhin, ka, Tha,,, Taka Dhin, dhin, ka, Tha,,, Tan, gita takadimi Tan, gita takadimi Tan, gita takadimi Taangu Dha, di, gi, na, thom Dha, di, gi, na, thom Dha, di, gi, na, thom

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22 Nataraja harmonic analysis Harmony against a drone: Chord progression: Fmaj7, E7, Am, Dm, D#mb5, C, F#m7b5 Against an E Drone: E & B Implied chord progression : Fmaj7#11, E7, Am9, Dm6, D#mb5 (vii chord), Cmaj7, F#m11b5 (Dm D#mb5 Em is also a neapolitan prog – ie F6, B7, Em)

23 Evaluation Criteria A structure or process that allows for full artistic expression by practitioners from different musical cultures. Considered design of collaboration, musical setting and performance setting. Was it sufficiently different from other Carnatic-Jazz experiments? Was I successful? RCs in Impro ; Gamakas ; Compositional form ; Reconciliation of drone ; concert format. Collaborations? Performances?

24 Reference List Books: Hood, M. (1960). The challenge of bi-musicality. [Electronic version]. Ethnomusicology, Vol. 4, No.2 (May, 1960), pp Retrieved 12 June, 2008, from JSTOR database. Kumar, K. & Stackhouse, J. (1987). Classical music of South India: Karnatic tradition in western notation. (Monographs in Music 5). Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press. Nelson, D. (2008). The solkattu manual: An introduction to the rhythmic language of South Indian music. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. Nelson, David P. (1991). Mrdangam mind: The tani avartanam in Karnatak music. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Wesleyan University. Qureshi, R., Powers, H.S., Katz, J., Widdess, R., Geekie, G., Dick, A., et al. (2008). India. [Electronic version]. Grove music online. Retrieved March 26, 2008, from Wade, B. C. (1979). Music in India: The classical traditions. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. CDs: Karaikkudi R Mani: Into the Fire (2000); Sruthi Laya Melodies (1988); Amrutham (2003); Unmatched (2004). Prasanna: Guitar Indian Style (1996); Electric Ganesha Land (2006). Shakti: Shakti with John McLaughlin (1976); Remember Shakti: Saturday Night in Bombay (2001); The Believer (2000); The way of Beauty (DVD, 2006). U Srinivas: Dawn Raga (1995); Rama sree rama (1994); Samjanitha (2008); Dream (1995).

25 Karaikkudi R Mani artist-in-residence (Oct 13-17) Karaikkudi R Mani (mridangam), Ghatam Suresh (ghatam), UP Raju (mandolin), and BV Balasai (bamboo flute). Daily solkattu classes with Sri Mani and Suresh. I will be running an introductory course in solkattu for those interested.


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