[Advaita-l] Svarita in RV and YV (was Re: SRI SUKTAM - Meaning)
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 4 21:21:45 CST 2009
One has to be very careful when comparing vedic recitation tones to musical tones and semitones. There is a lot of confusion out there, stemming from various sources.
Indian music theorists like to trace the origin of musical tones in Ragas to the Vedas. However, it is most misleading to think of the veda recitation tones (no matter which style of chanting) to the notes.
Music has requirements about relationships between notes, e.g. semitone, perfect fifth, perfect fourth, etc. The Veda, on the other hand, is to be recited in its own well preserved manner, not set to music. In recitation styles that employ two pitches, there is no set relationship between them. All that is required is that one pitch be higher than the other. In other styles that employ three pitches, there is a lower, middle and higher pitch used. Again, there is no set relationship among these pitches. In some passages, the lowest pitch is a full tone below the middle and the higher pitch is a semitone above. In other cases, the lowest pitch is only a semitone (or even a quartertone) below the middle and the higher pitch is a full tone above. Both cases and variations thereof are valid.
It is too much of a stretch (although many people do it all the time) to compare Vedic recitation to the Hindustani Raga Bairagi Bhairav or the Carnatic Raga Revati. In fact, there is a traditional caution against mixing Vedic recitation with regular music. The person who sets the Veda to music is considered one of the most inferior of reciters, on par with he who recites it too fast or with vigorous head-shaking or one who reads it from a book (as opposed to memorizing the text) or one who mutters inaudibly or one who does not know the meaning.
> Dear Sir,
> the question you picked up and the discussion is very interesting. How has the svarita to sound? When I asked this my music pandit in Kolkata, he answered, the svarita has always to please the ear. So we have to answer the question, what pleases the ear? When the svarita is sung in tune.The north and south Rv And YV differs, so the sound of svarita should different,too. I didnŽt find any text dealing with this difficult question, but it might be there are texts. The most important here is the text, not so much the sound.If we ask 5 pandits we will get 5 different answers.
> I am very interested in this subject. If you know or find any Indian text on this, please let me know. Each singer has different voice and tune.Some singers might have hit never the right tune. What is tune in Indian music?
> I know for sure, this answer didnŽt satisfy you, but I am loking for a better answer myself.
> With respect and greetings
> DR. Andreas Leitz
> > -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> > Von: "Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water)" <vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com>
> > Gesendet: 26.02.09 19:45:06
> > An: <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> > Betreff: Re: [Advaita-l] Svarita in RV and YV (was Re: SRI SUKTAM - Meaning)
> > >Thanks a lot for your clarification...infact I was referring to deergha
> > >svarita in RV in place regural svarita in YV in some of the maNtra-s
> > >where text (maNtra) donot change....This is where exactly a R^igvedi
> > >finds it difficult to catch up with YV style of recitation...However,
> > still
> > >I am in dilemma with regard to tone & style which you are talking
> > >about...Perhaps, a practial/personal hearing of these RV & YV
> > >maNtra-s from your goodself would solve my problem...
> > Around the beginning of the 20th century, when musicological conferences
> > became very common, a famous and extremely highly respected musician
> > dismissed the effort with a remark, "Oh, now they're giving up singing,
> > so
> > they can talk about music, huh?"
> > Trying to verbally describe all the tonal variations in vedic recitation
> > is a bit
> > like that! As we got into this topic on this list, I realized that a lot
> > more
> > explanation will be needed for many things that are taken for granted
> > with
> > respect to terms like svarita. And without an audio demonstration, any
> > such
> > explanation will still remain incomplete, not to mention the differences
> > of
> > opinion about what a svarita should sound like. This is partly why I
> > haven't
> > pursued this thread more vigorously.
> > Any suggestions from list members will be welcome.
> > Vidyasankar
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