Showing posts from 2008

Terrors and errors

Though this space was intended more for music related posts, no thinking world citizen will be able to resist placing one’s perspectives on the subject above. For the last several decades, billions of global citizens have been witness to organised terror. Millions have been touched by it one way or the other and hundreds of thousands have been subjected to it directly. Contrasting responses: Developed countries such as USA and UK have tightened their act considerably through increased security measures, stricter immigration, rejuvenated intelligence efforts, ruthless clamping down of groups and sectors already inside the country that exhibit even a minute disruptive potential and numerous such measures. Even though some of these have been reactive, several others are proactive and anticipatory in nature. Other nations such as India have been more content with immediate to not-so-immediate responses after or, as it happened in Mumbai recently, during the crisis. And they have neve

MSS – The one and only…

Several years after the article below, which has been cited or reprinted by many publications, I was requested to compose a song on Smt MSS for her Birth Centenary, a video of which is in the link below... ...................... There is not a tinge of doubt that M S Subbulakshmi was one of the most beautiful artistes to ever adorn the world music scene. Beautiful in all senses of the term… It is often said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but she was an artiste whose beauty transcended relativity . Because it was a beauty that she was not merely born with, nor was it solely dependant on resplendent jewellery or attire. This was beauty she enhanced every day, every hour and minute that she lived, through her thoughts, words and deeds. And of course, through her music – impeccable and inimitable. One can analyse and micro-analyse her music and career for years but still not find all the reasons for her stupendous success that others can only


Today (it still is Nov 5 here in the USA) happens to be Sangeeta Kalanidhi Smt T Brinda's 96th birthday. As someone who was fortunate to learn from her for nearly a decade, I cannot help but feel a huge sense of loss that she is no longer with us. However, on the other hand, I also feel that she is always with me - that is the depth and extent of her impact on my music. More importantly, my appraoch to music. I first fell in love with Brindamma’s music when I heard her render a beautiful phrase in Tyagaraja’s krti in Balahamsa, ‘Parulanu vedanu’ . She was singing the anupallavi of this song and this phrase lasted all of one second. But she sang it with such clarity and sophistication that it was as though a new world had opened up in front of me. I must have been around 14 or 15 years old then. That one second of music had tonal purity, depth, voice modulation, note spacing, emotive appeal and a host of other intangible features that represented the very best of Carnatic mu

What is Perfect Pitch?

Perfect pitch means different things to different people. In several systems of music in the West, perfect pitch is usually used to refer to someone who has an ability to identify and recognise the exact pitch of a note rendered (a gift apparently given only to a rare few). In Indian music, one finds the term being used in the context of alignment to the source of pitch (such as a tanpura/shruti box). Specifically in Carnatic, this goes a step even further. When we say someone is pitch-perfect, we refer to their ability to distinguish the micro-tonal shruti values of the same note from raga to raga (say the Da and Ri in Anandabhairavi vs the Da and Ri in Reetigowla) as well as the values of the same note from context to context within each raga (like the Ma or Ni in Shankarabharanam in different contexts). A perfect pitch in cricket could mean quite a different thing to a batsman than what it could for a pace or spin bowler, or to various spectators. To a salesman or marketing

Hi there

I am thinking of penning my thoughts and sharing my experiences as and when time permits. I do hope that you all enjoy these ramblings and also find them useful... More later, Ravikiran