Saturday, 27 December 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Sculptor-Part IV

In Mathematics, there is something called Duality. It is nothing but translating one concept into other concept by means of an involution operation.

It is a very interesting concept and I feel it has lot of relevance to the Human life and Nature.

Most of the things we see in this world come in pairs.Let us take the organs in the human body.. Eyes, ears, hands, legs, nostrils.. In fact, the nostrils play a very major role in keeping us mentally and therefore physically fit.

These pairs perform coordinated actions.
We also have pairs that are contrasting by nature.
Black/White, Potential Energy/Kinetic Energy, Head/Tail, Positive/Negative.

In Chinese philosophy, there is something called the Yin/Yang theory-two opposing and at the same time complementary aspects of one phenomenon.

In Quantum Mechanics, we have the wave-particle duality according to which matter and energy exhibit both wave like and particle like properties.

In a similar vein, I feel Dance and Music always complement each other. There are people who say ‘Dance cannot exist without music;but Music can exist without Dance’.
On the face of it, it may appear to be true.

But in reality music is as much dependent on dance as dance is on music. Is dance just body movements? Is it just facial expressions? Is it just jumping around or moving around?

No..It is much beyond all these.

It is a form of expression.

Let us look at Music.Is Music just singing (or playing an instrument)?Is it just Raga/Tala or scales? Is it just juggling of notes?

Music is also a form of expression. The artiste expresses himself/herself rhythmically. Can this not be called as dance? Don’t we say the Swaras danced when that artiste sang?

I am reminded of a Lecture/Demonstration at the Music Academy more than 20 years back when a very famous classical dancer said this:

‘I see Music. I hear Dance’.

Might sound too far fetched and exaggerated.But it is true.

The dancer is a great scholar who has done lot research on dance and folk music and I am sure this statement came straight from her heart.

Music and Dance complement each other.

And that is the reason ILango AdigaL paid importance to music as well while talking about dance.

In the previous posts, we saw how Silappathikaaram covered the various aspects of dance and how ILango AdigaL defined not only the structure of classical dance but also the qualities of musicians and the stage dimensions.

Today, let us see what he has spoken about Music.
In just one verse, he gives the names of the seven swaras as per Tamizh PaN.

குரலே, துத்தம், கைக்கிளை, உழையே
இளியே, விளரி, தாரம் என்றிவை
எழுவகை இசைக்கும் எய்தும் பெயரே
சவ்வும் ரிவ்வும் கவ்வும் மவ்வும்
பவ்வும் தவ்வும் நிவ்வும் என்றிவை
ஏழும் அவற்றின் எழுத்தே ஆகும்

Sa-Kural; Ri-Thuththam;Ga-KaikkiLai;Ma-Uzhai;Pa-ILi;Dha-ViLari;Ni-Tharam.

In another verse, he says PaNs(Ragams) are obtained by arranging the 12 Kovais(swaras) in a specified structure in the ascending and descending scale.

But more than all these, what leaves one wonder struck is his definition of Gruha Bedam-tonic shift. He calls this as 'Kural Thiribu'.

He says 'if the Thuththam(ri) of Mohanam is the base, it would give Madhyamavathi, if the KaikkiLai(ga)is the base it would give Hindolam, the ILi(pa) would give Sudhha Saveri and the ViLari(dha) Sudhha Dhanyasi'.

Is it not amazing that somebody in the Tamizh land defined all these as early as the 5th century?

And 16 centuries later, somebody again from the same land has been giving us some masterpieces. He too like ILango AdigaL is a perfectionist and at the same time innovative.


Let us see the next composition from ULiyin Osai today.

It is ‘Kallai Irunthen Silaiyaai En Vadiththai..’

The composition is based on Sudhdha Dhanyasi.

A very interesting Ragam derived from Karaharapriya and its structure is
Sa ga2 ma1 pa ni2 Sa/Sa ni2 pa ma1 ga2 sa.

The composition starts in a very subtle way. We feel the mellowness and the force as we hear the humming. The long flute undulates while the string is infused with melody.

The Pallavi is zestful and tranquil.

As usual, the Laya pattern is interesting.The 8 beat cycle is divided into 2 parts of 4 beats each:Ta – Dhi Mi Ta Ka Dhi Mi with stress on the first ‘Mi’ giving a very special wavy effect.

It is verve and vitality personified.

The first interlude has a simple and ornate structure. It is just the Flute and the Veena mainly but has a quintessential flavour. The Flute has innate grace flamboyance while the Veena is gentle, and powerful. The percussion instrument‘s reply to the Veena is dexterous.

The Charanam is rich and serene. It is pregnant with weighty phrases and is very flexible. It is rock steady and traverses up and down. The Flute piece that is interspersed between the two lines glides smoothly and is tenacious.

The second interlude shows us a gorgeous landscape.

As we hear the Veena and the percussion, followed by the violins and the piano, we see the wide green valleys and the deep ravines.

We see the sun play hide and seek between the hills and the Rain from the Sky.

We see the gushing torrents and the steady slow stream.

It is warm and cold.
It is uncanny and easily comprehensible.
It is Sun and the Moon.

Stone and a sculpture.

And is this not duality?

அவரது இசை கல்லை சிலை ஆக்கும்;சிலையை மனிதனாக்கும்;மனிதனை தெய்வீக நிலைக்கு அழைத்துச் செல்லும்.

His music turns a stone into a sculpture; turns a sculpture into a human; makes the human reach divine state..

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