ABOUT OUR GOAL AND METHODOLOGY
As an introduction to this section on Musical Study, we would like to explain the methodology we use for this study, and which we hope can also help you on your study.
Many of the PS songs are composed according to the Indian classical melodic structures, individually called raga (or raag). Two central concepts of Indian classical music are raga and tala (or taal). Raga (melodic structure) has to do with the melody aspect of a musical piece while tala (rhythmic cycle) has to do with its rhythmic aspect. In most of the cases, a song has one (or more than one) definite tala associated with it.
When learning or rendering a song composed in a particular raga, it’s very helpful to have the picture of that raga present in one’s mind. The more one is into the raga, the more one will be able to express and make the composition sound according to the raga.
So, when we learn and practice a particular raga and then proceed to learn compositions in that same raga, the learning process of individual compositions is much accelerated – because in whatever specific form we learn and practice a raga, we are dealing with its patterns and becoming more and more familiar with them. Having previous knowledge and experience on the tala of the compositions is also helpful in a similar way.
And more generally, the elements of Indian classical music can be applied to the learning of different kinds of songs, even those that are not composed in any particular raga but follow some other melodic forms or musical styles.
WHAT WE HAVE FOR YOU
In this section of the website we:
- present our goal for the musical study and give an overall idea of the methodology we are using;
- introduce basic elements of Indian classical music – especially the musical notes and their notation, the concepts of raga and tala and their interrelation, as well as other relevant concepts
- present some ragas and talas which are commonly found in Prabhat Samgiita, including basic information on them
- share exercises and reference compositions on these ragas
- share articles by our leading instructor which present important information on Indian classical music
- share a basic glossary and a few interesting links
All the above are related or applied to our own study. We have found that these materials and information are useful for us, so we hope they may also help you on your study. We are doing our best to share only correct information in this website, so we apologize if there are any mistakes in the information we provide. In this case, please let us know so that we can correct it.
We may also share occasional hints on how to pursue the musical study in practice, but as of yet in this website we are not providing any detailed guidelines for a musical study and also not offering any online musical study or course.
OVERVIEW OF OUR STUDY
Samgiita means the combination of vocal music, instrumental music and dance. It has different aspects (the terms are in Sanskrit):
- bháva: idea, ideation, feeling (i.e., meaning or significance of the musical piece)
- chhanda: rhythm
- shura: melody (i.e., sequential arrangement of musical notes)
- bhásha: lyrics, language
- mudrá: meaningful gesture
Of these basic aspects, in this Musical Study section we are more concerned with two of them: rhythm and melody. Two other aspects – idea/meaning and lyrics/language – are directly dealt with in our Prabhat Samgiita online classes. And in our in-person programs, all these four aspects are brought together and integrated in the rendering of the musical pieces. (See our Past Events and Upcoming Events.) Regarding the lyrics, in the rendering of a song they are also part of the music because they have to be sung together with the melodic line of the song and both have to be properly fit in the rhythm. This point will be mentioned again in the last paragraph of the page on Tala, where a reference for study is given. (And regarding mudrá, we understand that it is more related to the dance.)
In general, when learning any song, analyzing it into these aspects and studying each one of them separately makes the process much easier and systematic. And because it allows one to systematically analyze and develop the music, finer details can be easier perceived, learned, and reproduced.
So our focus is more on quality than on quantity. And as already explained before, one important result of this procedure is that the speed and ease of learning new compositions increases – as can be noticed especially at our intensive trainings.
Where can you go from here?
Regarding tala, you may go the introductory Tala page.
And regarding raga, you may first either read the introductory page on Raga or the page on Musical Notes and Notation. Before you proceed further into the subpages of Raga, it’s advantageous to be familiar with the musical notes and their notation.
You can also navigate to the page of reference compositions of each of the ragas that we present to hear compositions in that raga. We link them here to make it easier for you:
You may also be interested in reading Kirit’s article A Word on Raga and Tala, which gives a nice overview on Indian classical music, especially its Hindustani branch, and puts various key elements in context, including their relation to Prabhat Samgiita. It’s not easy reading but gives a condensed and broad perspective on Hindustani classical music.
You can use the menu on the left sidebar and also the top menu (probably faster) to navigate to each subject.
ONLINE x IN-PERSON STUDY
It may be possible to get a good idea of the concepts of raga and tala and others by studying them from online sources – and we will try to help with this. On the other hand, and also according to the Indian tradition of how to transmit this enormously vast knowledge, the direct and in-person guidance of a qualified instructor is necessary if one is serious about learning this Indian classical music. There are good reasons for this – for example, the details of a raga normally are very subtle and may well be impossible to write down; so the necessity of hearing it. But then, how to be sure that one is hearing it correctly and reproducing it correctly?
Here comes in the role of a qualified instructor and his or her direct guidance, specially in a subject as deep and abstract as Indian classical music can be. This is why Indian classical music is essentially an oral tradition over its thousands of years of existence.
Kirit Dave is step by step sharing with us (and all interested people) his knowledge and experience about Prabhat Samgiita, and especially on Indian classical music. In this Musical Study area of the site we will gradually share materials and information that we got from him. We apologize for any mistakes that may exist in the contents we are presenting here.
Your feedback and comments are welcome!