Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. It originated in the country's present day state of Kerala during the 17th century and has developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming. Ignoring the first phase when it was Ramanattam,Kathakali also shares a lot of similarities with Krishnanattam, Koodiyattam (a classical Sanskrit drama existing in Kerala) and Ashtapadiyattam (an adaptation of 12th-century musical called Gitagovindam). It also incorporates several other elements from traditional and ritualistic art forms like Mudiyettu, Thiyyattu, Theyyam and Padayani besides a minor share of folk arts like Porattunatakam. All along, the martial art of Kalarippayattu has influenced the body language of Kathakali. The use of Malayalam, the local language (albeit as a mix of Sanskrit and Malayalam, has also helped the literature of Kathakali sound more transparent for the average audience.
As a part of modernising, propagating, promoting and popularizing Kathakali, the International Centre for Kathakali at New Delhi has taken up a continuing project since 1980 of producing new plays based on not only traditional and mythological stories, but also historical stories, European classics and Shakespeare's plays. Recently they produced Kathakali plays based on Shakespeare's Othello and Greek-Roman mythology of Psyche and Cupid. Elements
Kathakali is considered to be a combination of five elements of fine art:
• Expressions (Natyam, the component with emphasis on facial expressions) • Dance (Nritham, the component of dance with emphasis on rhythm and movement of hands, legs and body) • Enactment (Nrithyam, the element of drama with emphasis on "mudras", which are hand gestures) • Song/vocal accompaniment (Geetha) • Instrument accompaniment (Vadyam) Even though the lyrics/literature would qualify as another independent element called Sahithyam, it is considered as a component of Geetha or music, as it plays only a supplementary role to Nritham, Nrithyam and Natyam.
Traditionally there are 101 classical Kathakali stories, though the commonly staged among them these days total less than one-third that number. Almost all of them were initially composed to last a whole night. Nowadays, there is increasing popularity for concise, or oftener select, versions of stories so as the performance lasts not more than three to four hours from evening. Thus, many stories find stage presentation in parts rather than totality. And the selection is based on criteria like choreographical beauty, thematic relevance/popularity or their melodramatic elements. Kathakali is a classical art form, but it can be appreciated also by novices—all contributed by the elegant looks of its character, their abstract movement and its synchronisation with the musical notes and rhythmic beats. And, in any case, the folk elements too continue to exist. For better appreciation, perhaps, it is still good to have an idea of the story being enacted.
The language of the songs used for Kathakali is Manipravalam. Though most of the songs are set in ragas based on the microtone-heavy Carnatic music, there is a distinct style of plain-note rendition, which is known as the Sopanam style. This typically Kerala style of rendition takes its roots from the temple songs which used to be sung (continues even now at several temples) at the time when Kathakali was born.
Traditionally, a Kathakali performance is usually conducted at night and ends in early morning. Nowadays it isn't difficult to see performances as short as three hours or even lesser. Kathakali is usually performed in front of the huge Kalivilakku (kali meaning dance; vilakku meaning lamp) with its thick wick sunk till the neck in coconut oil. Traditionally, this lamp used to provide sole light when the plays used to be performed inside temples, palaces or abodes houses of nobles and aristocrats. Enactment of a play by actors takes place to the accompaniment of music (geetha) and instruments (vadya). The percussion instruments used are chenda, maddalam (both of which underwent revolutionary changes in their aesthetics with the contributions of Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval and Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval) and, at times, edakka. In addition, the singers (the lead singer is called “ponnani” and his follower is called “singidi”) use chengila (gong made of bell metal, which can be struck with a wooden stick) and ilathalam (a pair of cymbals). The lead singer in some sense uses the Chengala to conduct the Vadyam and Geetha components, just as a conductor uses his wand in western classical music. A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the actors never speak but use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of dialogue (but for a couple of rare characters).
A Kathakali actor uses immense concentration, skill and physical stamina, gained from regimented training based on Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala, to prepare for his demanding role. The training can often last for 8–10 years, and is intensive. In Kathakali, the story is enacted purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements. The expressions are derived from Natyashastra (the tome that deals with the science of expressions) and are classified into nine as in most Indian classical art forms. Dancers also undergo special practice sessions to learn control of their eye movements. There are 24 basic mudras -- the permutation and combination of which would add up a chunk of the hand gestures in vogue today. Each can again can be classified into 'Samaana-mudras'(one mudra symbolising two entities) or misra-mudras (both the hands are used to show these mudras). The mudras are a form of sign language used to tell the story.
The main facial expressions of a Kathakali artist are the 'navarasams' (Navarasas in anglicised form) (literal translation: Nine Tastes, but more loosely translated as nine feelings or expressions) which are Sringaram (amour), Hasyam (ridicule, humour), Bhayanakam (fear), Karunam (pathos), Roudram (anger, wrath), Veeram (valour), Beebhatsam (disgust), Adbhutam (wonder, amazement), Shantam (tranquility, peace). The link at the end of the page gives more details on Navarasas.
One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code. Most often, the make-up can be classified into five basic sets namely Pachcha, Kathi, Kari, Thaadi, and Minukku. The differences between these sets lie in the predominant colours that are applied on the face. Pachcha (meaning green) has green as the dominant colour and is used to portray noble male characters who are said to have a mixture of "Satvik" (pious) and "Rajasik" (kingly) nature. Rajasik characters having an evil streak ("tamasic"= evil) -- all the same they are anti-heroes in the play (such as the demon king Ravana) -- and portrayed with streaks of red in a green-painted face. Excessively evil characters such as demons (totally tamasic) have a predominantly red make-up and a red beard. They are called Red Beard (Red Beard). Tamasic characters such as uncivilised hunters and woodsmen are represented with a predominantly black make-up base and a black beard and are called black beard (meaning black beard). Women and ascetics have lustrous, yellowish faces and this semi-realistic category forms the fifth class. In addition, there are modifications of the five basic sets described above such as Vella Thadi |white beard) used to depict Hanuman (the Monkey-God) and Pazhuppu, which is majorly used for Lord Shiva and Balabhadra.
Bharathanatyam is a classical Indian dance form originating in the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu.This dance form denotes various 19th and 20th century reconstructions of Cathir, the art of temple dancers. Cathir in turn, is derived from ancient dance forms. Bharatanatyam is usually accompanied by the classical music. It has its inspirations from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. Bharatanatyam, as the name depicts is the combination of:
Bha- Bhavam (means expression), Ra- Ragam (means music), Ta- Talam (means beat or rhythm) and Natyam (means dance) in Tamil. Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over the world.[5Surviving texts of the golden age of Tamil literature and poetry known during the Sangam Age such as the Tolkappiyam , as well as the later Silappadikaram testify to a variety of dance traditions which flourished in these times. The latter work is of particular importance, since one of its main characters, the courtesan Madhavi, is a highly accomplished dancer. The Silappadikaram is a mine of information of ancient Tamil culture and society, in which the arts of music and dance were highly developed and played a major role.
In ancient times it was performed as dasiattam by mandira (Hindu temple) Devadasis. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures karanas. In fact, it is the celestial dancers, apsara's, who are depicted in many scriptures dancing the heavenly version of what is known on earth as Bharatanatyam. In the most essential sense, a Hindu deity is a revered royal guest in his temple/abode, to be offered the "sixteen hospitalities" - among which are music and dance, pleasing to the senses. Thus, many Hindu temples traditionally maintained complements of trained musicians and dancers, as did Indian rulers.
In Kali Yuga, the center of most arts in India is Bhakti (devotion) and therefore, Bharata Natyam as a dance form and carnatic music set to it are deeply grounded in Bhakti. Bharata Natyam, it is said, is the embodiment of music in visual form, a ceremony, and an act of devotion. Dance and music are inseparable forms; only with Sangeetam (words or syllables set to raga or melody) can dance be conceptualized. Bharata Natyam has three distinct elements to it: Nritta (rhythmic dance movements), Natya (mime, or dance with a dramatic aspect), and Nritya (combination of Nritta and Natya). The Tamil country especially Tanjore, has always been the seat and centre of learning and culture. It was the famous quartet of Chinnayya, Ponniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu of the Tanjore Court during the Marathi King Saraboji’s time (1798–1824) which made a rich contribution to music and Bharatanatyam and also completed the process of re-editing the Bharathanatyam programme into its present shape with its various forms like the Alarippu, Jathiswaram, Sabdham, Varnam, Tillana etc. The descendants of these four brothers formed the original stock of Nattuvanars or dance teachers of Bharatanatyam in Tanjore. Originally, they formed a community by themselves and most of them were Saivite non-Brahmins.
Bharatanatyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles (one for each element) that include Odissi (element of water), Kuchipudi (element of earth) , Mohiniattam (element of air) and Kathakali (element of sky or aether). The movements of an authentic Bharatanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame. Contemporary Bharatanatyam is rarely practiced as Natya Yoga, a sacred meditational tradition, except by a few orthodox schools (see Yoga and Dance).
Bharatanatyam proper is a solo dance, with two aspects, lasya, the graceful feminine lines and movements, and tandava Ananda Thandavam (Tamil) (the dance of Shiva), masculine aspect, which is identical to the Yin and Yang in the Chinese culture.
Bharatanatyam is the manifestation of the ancient idea of the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the material body. Some Bharatanatyam techniques can be traced back to the Kaisiki style. The Natya(I.44) reads, "... I have seen the Kaisiki style during the dance of the blue-throated lord (Shiva). It consists of elaborate gestures (Mridu Angaharas, movements of limbs), sentiments (Rasas), emotional states (Bhavas). Actions (Kriyas) are its soul. The costume should be charmingly beautiful and love (Sringara) is its foundation. It cannot be adequately portrayed by men. Except for women, none can practise it properly".
Apart from the Kaisikii style, Bharatanatyam imbibed some others. These reflect other yogis of spiritual revelations, such as the vision of two sages, Vyagrapada and Pathanjali in Chidambaram. In Hindu mythology the whole universe is the dance of the Supreme Dancer, Nataraja, a name for Lord Shiva, the Hindu ascetic yogi and divine purveyor of destruction of evil. The symbolism of the dance of Shiva (in the form of Nataraja) is represented by the attitude called "Ananda Tandavam". Also known as the cosmic dancer, he is here the embodiment and manifestation of the eternal energy in five activities (panca-kriya): creation, pouring forth, unfolding; maintenance or duration (sthiti); destruction or taking back (smhara); concealing, veiling, hiding the transcendental essence behind the garb of apparations (tirobhava); and favoring, bestowing grace through a manifestation that accepts the devotee (anugraha). Shiva is depicted dancing on the dwarfish body of the demon Apasmara purusa, "forgetfulness, loss of memory" called in Tamil Muyalaka (PRIT) -- who represents ignorance, the destruction of which brings enlightenment, true wisdom, and release from the bondage of existences.
Mohiniyattam, also spelled Mohiniattam is a classical dance form from Kerala, India. Believed to have originated in 16th century it is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. It is considered a very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by women.
Mohiniyattam was popularized as a popular dance form in the nineteenth century by Swathi Thirunal, the Maharaja of the state of Travancore (Southern Kerala), and Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet. Swathi Thirunal promoted the study of Mohiniyattam during his reign, and is credited with the composition of many music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for modern Mohiniyattam dancers. The noted Malayalam poet Vallathol, who established the Kerala Kalamandalam dance school in 1930, played an important role in popularizing Mohiniattam in the 20th century.
The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini" meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniyattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress". There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk. In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura. The name Mohiniyattam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu; the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna being the hero. It also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom. Mohiniyattam is a drama in dance and verse.
The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniyattam. There are approximately 40 basic movements, known as atavukal.
The three pillars — Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, Sri Vallathol Narayana Menon (a poet and founder of the institution, Kerala Kalamandalam) and Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (considered “the mother of Mohiniyattam”) — contributed to the shaping out of the contemporary Mohiniyattam during the later part of the 20th century. Guru Kallyanikutty Amma cleared the mythical mystery behind the name of this dance form and gave it the most convincing explanation based on truth, social and historical evolution, interpreting Mohiniyattam as the dance of a beautiful lady than that of a mythical enchantress from heaven.
The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden brocade (known as kasavu) at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of mudras (gestural expressions by the hand palm and fingers). The vocal music of Mohiniyattam involves variations in rhythmic structure known as chollu. The lyrics are in Manipravalam, a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam. The Mohiniyattam dance is performed to this accompaniment by the subtle gestures and footwork of the danseuse. The performer uses the eyes in a very coy, sensual manner to enchant the mind without enticing the senses.
Kuchipudi (Telugu) (pronounced as 'Koochipoodi') is a Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name.
The performance usually begins with some stage rites, after which each of the character comes on to the stage and introduces him/herself with a dharavu (a small composition of both song and dance) to introduce the identity, set the mood, of the character in the drama. The drama then begins. The dance is accompanied by song which is typically Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied by mridangam (a classical South Indian percussion instrument), violin, flute and the tambura (a drone instrument with strings which are plucked). Ornaments worn by the artists are generally made of a light weight wood called Boorugu.It originated in the seventh century.
Kuchipudi dancers are quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed, they perform with grace and fluid movements. Performed to classical Carnatic music, it shares many common elements with Bharatanatyam. In its solo exposition Kuchipudi numbers include 'jatiswaram' and 'tillana' whereas in nrityam it has several lyrical compositions reflecting the desire of a devotee to merge with God.
Beyond the stylistic differences of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam steps, there are certain types of dances that are unique to Kuchipudi: Specifically there is the Tarangam which is unique in that t plate with two diyas (small oil-burning candles) in his or her hands while balancing a "kundi" (small vessel) containing
The dance styles in the state are based on the standard treatises, Abhinaya Darpana and Bharatarnava of Nandikeshwara, which is sub-divided into Nattuva Mala and Natya Mala. Nattuva Mala is of two types — the Puja dance performed on the Balipitha in the temple and the Kalika dance performed in a Kalyana Mandapam. Natya Mala is of three kinds — ritual dance for gods, Kalika dance for intellectuals and Bhagavatam for common place. The Natya Mala is a dance-drama performed by a troupe, consisting only of men, who play feminine roles.
Movements and Music
The songs in Kuchipudi are mimed with alluring expressions, swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the rasa. In Tarangam at times she places a pot full of water on her head and dances on the brass plate. The song accompanying this number is from the well known Krishna Leela Tarangini, a text which recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna
In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam. She goes through various stages of love. When in separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy days of union and pines for him. At last they are reunited when she sends him a letter.
One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in myriads of ways giving full scope for the dancer to display the charms of a woman.
Kuchipudi is as ancient as Natya astra (1st century BC)in which mention is made of a dance drama form besides solo. An invocatory verse also indicates that four forms of dance were prevalent then, of which ‘Dakshintya’ or South Indian form is apparently the earliest version of Kuchipudi. There is also historical evidence that the art flourished during the reign of the Satavahanas (2nd century BC). Over the centuries as the performances were dedicated to the worship of Vishnu, the form came to be known as Bhagavata Mela Natakam. It was during Siddhendra Yogi’s time (14th – 15th century) that it came to be known as Kuchipudi, named after the village established by Siddhendra Yogi where his follower, the Brahmin performers settled down. Two parallel schools of dance have existed since time immemorial, viz. Nattuva Mela and Natya Mela. The former evolved into Bharat Natyam and the latter into Kuchipudi. There is difference in the presentation itself. The main difference lies in the abhinaya. The graceful, lasya oriented Kuchipudi gives importance to Vakyartha abhinaya go together. Bharatanatyam on the other hand is Mudra oriented and gives importance to Padartha abhinaya, each word interpreted through mudras. Certain movements are characteristic to Kuchipudi. Vachika abhinaya (use of words/dialogues) is also a special feature of the Kuchipudi style.
Kuchipudi dance drama consists of ancient and contemporary compositions based on Hindu mythology. I have also choreographed and presented a socially relevant theme of un-touchability, based on Rabindranath Tagore Chandalikaâ. There are over twenty Sabdams prevalent in the style besides Kalapams, Jatiswaram etc. Kuchipudi repertoire has increased greatly in recent ears and include compositions of Jayadevaâs Gita Govindam, Tarangams of Narayana Thirtha and Padams of Kshetrayya besides slokas from Leelasukaâ€™s Sri Krishna Karnamritha. Lately compositions of Thyagaraja, Annamacharya, Ramadas, Oothukkadu Venkata Subbayyar etal have found their way into the Kuchipudi solo repertoire.
Odissi, also known as Orissi , is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Orissa, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences.The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. 1st century BCE bas-reliefs in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneshwar) testify to its antiquity. It was suppressed under the British Raj, but has been reconstructed since India gained independence. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the Tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis and upon the basic square stance known as Chauka or Chouka that symbolizes Lord Jagannath. This dance is characterized by various Bhangas (Stance), which involves stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The common Bhangas are Bhanga, Abanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.The first clear picture of Odissi dance is found in the Manchapuri cave in Udayagiri which was carved during the time of Emperor Kharavela. Flanked by two queens, Emperor Kharavela was watching a dance recital where a damsel was performing a dance in front of the court along with the company of female instrumentalists. Thus, Odissi can be traced back to its origin as secular dance. Later it got attached with the temple culture of Orissa. Starting with the rituals of Jagannath temple in Puri it was regularly performed in Shaivite, Vaishnavite and Sakta temples in Orissa. An inscription is found where it was engraved that a Devadasi Karpursri’s attachment to Buddhist monastery, where she was performing along with her mother and grandmother. It proves that Odissi first originated as a court dance. Later, it was performed in all religious places of Jainism as well as Buddhist monasteries. Odissi was initially performed in the temples as a religious offering by the Maharis who dedicated their lives in the services of God. It has the closest resemblance with sculptures of the Indian temples.
The history of Odissi dance has been traced to an early sculptures found in the Ranigumpha caves at Udaygiri (Orissa), dating to the 2nd century BCE. Odissi appears to be the oldest classical dance rooted in rituals and tradition. In fact, the Natya Shastra refers to Odra-Magadhi as one of the Vrittis and Odra refers to Orissa.
In Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa, Udayagiri Caves, Khandagiri Caves and Jain Caves are present which date back to the 2nd century BCE, that served as a royal palace for Emperor Kharavela. It is suggested by scholars that Odissi is archaeologically the oldest Indian classical dance form due to sculptural evidence found in the caves. There are several sculptures of dancers and musicians in Konark Sun Temple and Brahmeswara temple in Bhubaneswar.
In the excavated ruins of the Buddhist Ratnagiri hills in Orissa, dating back to the 6th thru 9th centuries, several panels and icons of dance are found resembling present-day Odissi dance.
In the Tantric temples, such as the Hirapur Shrine, many of the yoginis especially are depicted in poses reminiscent of present day Odissi. When Orissa became a big centre of worship of Lord Shiva, it is only natural that dance would be used as a form of worship, since Lord Shiva was a master dancer himself. He is also known as Nataraj, the Cosmic Lord of Dance. The Shaivite temples of Bhubaneswar display innumerable sculptures in postures of Odissi. The Vaishnavite Temples such as Jagannath Temple and Konark Sun Temple abound with an array of dancing sculptures carved into the temple walls, giving testimony that a particular school of dancing had continued from the Shaivite art tradition to the Vaishnavite art form.
Sage Bharata's Natya Shastra, written in 2nd century CE, speaks of four types of Pravrittis (local usages): Avanti, Dakshinatya, Panchali, and Odra Magadhi, and the areas where each type is employed. Some scholars have interpreted that Odra Magadhi is "the earliest literary reference" to Odissi. Abhinaya Chandrika written by Maheshvara Mahapatra is a detailed study of the movements of the feet, hands, the standing postures, the movement and the dance repertoire. It includes illustrations of the Karanãs mentioned in NãtyaShãstra.
The illustrated manuscript Shilpaprakãsha deals with Oriya architecture and sculpture as well as the figures of dance. In this, one finds a elaborate analysis of the manner in which the salabhanjikãs or the feminine figures called the Alasa Kanyas are carved in the temple. The illustrations of Shilpaprakãsha reinforces the evidence of sculpture in temples.
A rather unexpected source, the Jain Manuscripts, especially the Kalpasutra and Kalkacharya Kathãs show traces of Oriya dance style although they were being executed in Gujarat. The marginal figures of dancers show women in poses and movements similar to the distinctive style of Odissi. For example, in one of the famous illustrated Jain Manuscripts called the Devasanpada Kalpasutra there is depiction of the Samapada, the Tribhangi and the Chuaka.
This shows that there was a great deal of mobility between east and west and many migrations took place. According to some historians, there were groups of dancers who were brought to Puri from Gujarat and Andhra.
Mughal and British period
During the Mughal rule of India, the duties of the Maharis (the temple dancers) shifted, as they were employed to entertain the royal family and courtiers in the royal courts. They became associated with concubinage in respect to the king and ceased to be respected solely as servants to Lord Jagannath. Although the British have helped India in several ways, a decline and degradation occurred in all the Indian Classical dance styles during the British period, especially when a bill was passed prohibiting temple dancing. Most of these dancers, losing their well-deserved place in society, were forced to prostitution to survive in the changing climate of political and cultural oppression of the British.
Tradition and Dancers
The Odissi tradition existed in three schools: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipua.
• Maharis were Oriya devadasis or temple girls, their name deriving from Maha (great) and Nari or Mahri (chosen) particularly those at the temple of Jagganath at Puri. Early Maharis performed mainly Nritta (pure dance) and Abhinaya (interpretation of poetry) based on Mantras and Slokas. Later, Maharis especially performed dance sequences based on the lyrics of Jayadev's Gita Govinda. Bhitari Gauni Maharis were allowed in the inner temple while Bahari Gauni Maharis, though in the temples, were excluded from the sanctum sanctorum.
• By the 6th century, the Gotipua tradition was emerging. One of the reasons given for the emergence of Gotipuas is that Vaishnavas did not approve of dancing by women. Gotipuas were boys dressed up as girls and taught the dance by the Maharis. During this period, Vaishnava poets composed innumerable lyrics in Oriya dedicated to Radha and Krishna. Gotipuas danced to these compositions and gradually stepped out of the precincts of the temples.
• Nartaki dance took place in the royal courts, where it was much cultivated before the British period. At that time the misuse of devadasis came under strong attack, so that Odissi dance withered in the temples and became unfashionable at court. Only the remnants of the Gotipua school remained, and the reconstruction of the style required an archaeological and anthropological effort that has tended to foster a conservative purism.
The consecration of females to the service of temple dancing began in the Shaivite temples and continued in the Jagannath temple in service of the Lord Jagannath. These attendants have been known as Maharis (great women) or Devadasis (servants of the lord), and have been considered the wives of Lord Jagannath. Odissi developed through their art.
The first evidence of the Mahari institution in Orissa comes from a commemorative inscription by Udyota Kesari, the last King of the dynasty. In the 10th century the King’s mother, Kolavati Devi, dedicated temple dancers to Lord Shiva in the Brahmeswara Temple.
Raja Anantavarma Chodagangadeva appointed dancing girls for ritual services in the Jagannatha temple in the 11th century, and these Maharis were the ones responsible for keeping the dance alive for centuries. Through the technique of unequal division of weight and firm footwork balancing a fluid upper torso, the dancer achieves a sensuality that is uncommon in other classical dance styles. Some eminent Mahari dancers are Moni Mahari, Dimmi (Domi) Mahari, Dungri Mahari (Harapriya), and Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das.
In the Oriya language Gotipua means single boy. Gotipua dance is performed only by boys who dress up as females. During the rule of King Prataprudra Dev, who was a follower of Sri Chaityana, renewed this dancing tradition by boys, as the Vaishnavas did not approve of dances by females.
Dance vocabulary and repertoire
Traditional Odissi repertoire consists of:
An invocation piece. After paying homage to Lord Jagannath a shloka (hymn) in praise of some God or Goddess is sung, the meaning of which is brought out through dance. Mangalacharan also includes the Bhumi Pranam (salutation to Mother Earth) which is offered to Mother Earth as a way of begging forgiveness for stamping on her and the Trikhandi Pranam or the three-fold salutation - above the head to the Gods, in front of the face to the gurus and in front of the chest to the audience.
Also known as Sthayee Nrutya or Batuka Bhairava (Furious Dance) it is performed in the honor of Lord Shiva- the cosmic Lord of Dance. It is one of the 64 furious-aspects of Lord Shiva known. The origin of dance is believed to be from Tantrism that had flourished in Orissa. Linga Purana and Mahanirvanatantra give an elaborate description of Batuka Bhairava in three aspects, and the results of their worship have also been explained elaborately in the texts. Battu Nrutya is an item of pure Nrutya (Dance)and remains the most difficult item of Odissi dance. The dance begins with a series of sculpturesque poses depicting such actions as the playing of a Veena (Lute), Mardala or Pakhawaj (Drum), Karatala (Cymbals) and Venu (Flute), that brings out the interrelationships between this dance and the dance sculptures adorning the temples of Orissa. These poses are stringed together with steps in different rhythms. There is no song or recitation accompanying the dance, but throughout the item a refrain of rhythmic syllables is provided. The accompanying refrain is in the form of one line of Ukuta and as this is recited in the Tala, different Jathi-patterns are improvised and are executed with the feet. Some Tala variations are introduced and each sequence of the dance terminates with a Tehdi known as Katam. The last sequence is always in Jhula Pahapata Tala and is performed with a fast tempo.
A pure dance item in which a raga is elaborated through eye movements, body postures & intricate footwork. Pallavi literally means “blossoming”. This is applicable not only to the dance, but also to the music, which accompanies it. Pallavi starts with slow, graceful & lyrical movements of the eyes, neck, torso & feet & slowly builds in a crescendo to climax in a fast tempo at the end. Both the dance and the music evolve in complexity as the dancer traces multiple patterns in space, interpreting the music dexterously in the multilayered dimensions of taal (rhythm) and laya (speed).
An expressional dance which is an enactment of a song or poetry, where a story conveyed to the audience through mudras (hand gestures), bhavas (facial expression), eye movement and body movement. The dance is fluid, very graceful, and sensual. Abhinaya can be performed on verses in Sanskrit or Oriya language. The verses are extremely ornate in content and suggestion. Most common are Abhinayas on Oriya songs or Sanskrit Ashthapadis or Sanskrit stutis like Dasavatar Stotram (depicting the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) or Ardhanari Stotram. Most of the Abhinaya compositions are based on the Radha-Krishna theme. The Astapadis of the kãvya Gita Govinda written by the Saint Jayadev are an integral part of its repertoire. The beginning pieces are dedicated to Lord Jagannath - an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Usually longer than Abhinaya and typically performed by more than one dancers. Some of the much appreciated dance dramas composed by Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra are: Sudama Dharitra Bhanjana, Mathamani Pradhana, Balya Leela, Rutu Samhara, Krishna Sudama, Dushmanta Sakuntala, Utkala Mauda Mani, Yagnaseni, Meghadoot, Kumara Sambhava, Sapan Nayaka. Usually Hindu mythologies are chosen as themes, but experimenting with the theme and form in recent years have led to extremely unique creations. Some worth-mentioning themes in recent years are Panchakanya, Ganga Yamuna, Chitrangadaa, Shrita Kamalam, Mrutyuh, Tantra, Padapallavam, and Raavana.
Odissi Dance Drama
The concluding item of a recital. Moksha means “spiritual liberation”. This dance represents a spiritual culmination for the dancer who soars into the realm of pure aesthetic delight. Movement and pose merge to create ever new patterns, ever new designs in space and time. The dance moves onto a crescendo that is thrilling to both, the eye and the ear. With the cosmic sound of the “Om”, the dance dissolves into nothingness — just like Moksha or the deliverance of the soul in real life.
Kathak (Hindi: कथक) is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.
The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means he who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly कत्थक katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day कथक kathak. kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/he who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is 'Kathak.'
There are three major schools or gharanas of Kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: the gharanas of Jaipur, Lucknow and Benares (born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput kings, the Nawab of Oudh, and Varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (and later) Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.
Pure Dance (Nritta)
The structure of a conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. A short dance composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a toda. There are also compositions consisting solely of footwork. Often the performer will engage in rhythmic 'play' with the time-cycle, for example splitting it into triplets or quintuplets which will be marked out on the footwork, so that it is in counterpoint to the rhythm on the percussion.
All compositions are performed so that the final step and beat of the composition lands on the 'sam' (pronounced as the English word 'sum' and meaning even or equal, archaically meaning nil) or first beat of the time-cycle. Most compositions also have 'bols' (rhythmic words) which serve both as mnemonics to the composition and whose recitation also forms an integral part of the performance. This recitation is known as padhant. Some compositions are aurally very interesting when presented this way. The bols can be borrowed from tabla (e.g. dha, ge, na, 'ti' 'na' 'ka' 'dhi na') or can be a dance variety (ta, thei, tat, ta ta, tigda, digdig, tram theyi and so on).
Often tukras are composed to highlight specific aspects of the dance, for example gait, or use of corners and diagonals, and so on. A popular tukra type is the chakkarwala tukra, showcasing the signature spins of Kathak. Because they are generally executed on the heel, these differ from ballet's pirouettes (which are properly executed on the toe or ball of the foot). The spins usually manifest themselves at the end of the tukra, often in large numbers: five, nine, fifteen, or more, sequential spins are common. These tukras are popular with audiences because they are visually exciting and are executed at great speed. Other compositions can be further particularised as follows:
Music to Kathak is normally provided by tabla and sitar players
1. Vandana, the dancer begins with an invocation to the gods; 2. Thaat, the first composition of a traditional performance; the dancer performs short plays with the time-cycle, finishing on sam in a statuesque standing (thaat) pose; 3. Aamad, from the Persian word meaning 'entry'; the first introduction of spoken rhythmic pattern or bol in to the performance; 4. Salaami, related to Ar. 'salaam' - a salutation to the audience in the Muslim style; 5. Kavitt, a poem set on a time-cycle; the dancer will perform movements that echo the meaning of the poem; 6. Paran, a composition using bols from the pakhawaj instead of only dance or tabla bols; 7. Parmelu or Primalu, a composition using bols reminiscent of sounds from nature, such as kukuthere (birds), jhijhikita (sound of ghunghru), tigdadigdig (strut of peacock) etc.; 8. Gat, from the word for 'gait, walk' showing abstract visually beautiful gaits or scenes from daily life; 9. Lari, a footwork composition consisting of variations on a theme, and ending in a tihai; 10. Tihai, usually a footwork composition consisting of a long set of bols repeated thrice so that the very last bol ends dramatically on 'sam'.
Expressive Dance (Nritya)
Aside from the traditional expressive or abhinaya pieces performed to a bhajan, ghazal or thumri, Kathak also possesses a particular performance style of expressional pieces called bhaav bataanaa (lit. 'to show bhaav or 'feeling'). It is a mode where abhinaya dominates, and arose in the Mughal court. It is more suited to the mehfil or the darbar environment, because of the proximity of the performer to the audience, who can more easily see the nuances of the dancer's facial expression. Consequently, it translates to the modern proscenium stage with difficulty. A thumri is sung, and once the mood is set, a line from the thumri is interpreted with facial abhinaya and hand movements while seated. This continues for an indefinite period, limited only by the dancer's interpretative abilities. Shambhu Maharaj was known to interpret a single line in many different ways for hours but all the Maharaj family (Acchan Maharaj, Lachhu Maharaj, Shambhu Maharaj and Achhan Maharaj's son Birju Maharaj) have found much fame for the naturalness and innovativeness of their abhinaya.Carnatic music (Sanskrit: Karnāṭaka saṃgīta) is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. It is one of two main sub-genres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions; the other sub-genre being Hindustani music, which emerged as a distinct form because of Persian and Islamic influences in North India. In contrast to Hindustani music, the main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in gāyaki (singing) style.
Although there are stylistic differences, the basic elements of śruti (the relative musical pitch), swara (the musical sound of a single note), rāga (the mode or melodic formulæ), and tala (the rhythmic cycles) form the foundation of improvisation and composition in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. Although improvisation plays an important role, Carnatic music is mainly sung through compositions, especially the kriti (or kirtanam) - a form developed between the 14th and 20th centuries by composers such as Purandara Dasa and the Trinity of Carnatic music. Carnatic music is also usually taught and learnt through compositions.
- Contemporary Dance
Contemporary Dance emerged in the 1950s as the dance form that is combining the modern dance elements and the classical ballet elements.It can use elements from non-western dance cultures, such as African dancing with bent knees as a characteristic trait, and Butoh, Japanese contemporary dancing that developed in the 1950s.
It used to describe also the dance which is not classical jazz nor traditional folk/cultural dance Sub-genres include non-dance, conceptual dance and pedestrian contemporary.
Abstract movement that do not necessarily tell a story
Multiple and simultaneous actions
“Independence between dance and music” Suspension of perspective and symmetry in ballet scenic frame perspective such as front, center and hierarchies Unpredictable movement with great speed and changing of rhythm and directions Classical leg technique Choreography that appears disordered but relies on technique Creative freedom Dance to be dance, not analyzed Innovative lighting, sets, and costumes in collaboration
- Carnatic Music
Carnatic Music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tambura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Other typical instruments used in performances may include the ghatam, kanjira, morsing, venu flute, veena, and chitraveena. The most outstanding performances, and the greatest concentration of Carnatic musicians, are found in the city of Chennai. Various festivals are held throughout India and abroad which mainly consist of Carnatic music performances, like the Madras Music Season which has been considered as one of the world's largest cultural events.
- Hindustani classical music
(Hindi: हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत्, Urdu: کلاسیکی موسیقی) is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian classical music or Shāstriya Sangeet. It is a tradition that originated in Vedic ritual chants and has been evolving since the 12th century CE, primarily in what is now North India and Pakistan, and to some extent in Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. Today, it is one of the two subgenres of Indian classical music, the other being Carnatic music, the classical tradition of South India.
The tradition was born out of a cultural synthesis of several musical traditions: the Vedic chant tradition, dating back to approximately one thousand BCE, the equally ancient Persian tradition of Musiqi-e assil, and various folk traditions prevalent in the region. It is traditional for performers who have reached a distinguished level of achievement to be awarded titles of respect; Hindus are usually referred to as pandit and Muslims as ustad. An aspect of Hindustani music going back to Sufi times is the tradition of religious neutrality: Muslim ustads may sing compositions in praise of Hindu deities, and vice versa.
Around the 12th century, Hindustani classical music diverged from what eventually came to be identified as Carnatic classical music. The central notion in both these systems is that of a melodic mode or raga, sung to a rhythmic cycle or tala. The tradition dates back to the ancient Samaveda, (sāma meaning "ritual chant"), which deals with the norms for chanting of srutis or hymns such as the Rig Veda. These principles were refined in the musical treatises Natya Shastra, by Bharata (2nd–3rd century CE), and Dattilam (probably 3rd–4th century CE). In medieval times, the melodic systems were fused with ideas from Persian music, particularly through the influence of Sufi composers like Amir Khusro, and later in the Moghul courts. Noted composers such as Tansen flourished, along with religious groups like the Vaishnavites. After the 16th century, the singing styles diversified into different gharanas patronized in different princely courts. Around 1900, Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande consolidated the musical structures of Hindustani classical music, called ragas, into a number of thaats. Indian classical music has seven basic notes with five interspersed half-notes, resulting in a 12-note scale. Unlike the 12-note scale in Western music, the base frequency of the scale is not fixed, and intertonal gaps (temperament) may also vary; however, with the gradual replacement of the sarangi by the harmonium, an equal tempered scale is increasingly used. The performance is set to a melodic pattern called a raga characterized in part by specific ascent (aroha) and descent (avaroha) sequences, which may not be identical. Other characteristics include "king" (vadi) and "queen" (samavadi) notes and characteristic phrases (pakad). In addition each raga has its natural register (ambit) and portamento (meend) rules. Performances are usually marked by considerable improvisation within these norms.
The bansuri (Hindi: बांसुरी, Urdu: بانسری, Nepali: बाँसुरी, Marathi: बासरी, Assamese: is a transverse flute of India made from a single hollow shaft of bamboo with six or seven finger holes. An ancient musical instrument associated with cowherds and the pastoral tradition, it is intimately linked to the love story of Krishna and Radha, and is depicted in Buddhist paintings from around 100 AD. The Bansuri is revered as Lord Krishna's divine instrument, and is often associated with Krishna's Rasa lila; mythological accounts tell of the tunes of Krishna's flute having a spellbinding and enthralling effect not only on the women of the Braj, but even on the animals of the region. The North Indian bansuri, typically about 14 inches in length, was traditionally used as a soprano instrument primarily for accompaniment in lighter compositions including film music. The bass variety (approximately 30", tonic E3 at A440Hz), pioneered by Pt. Pannalal Ghosh and elevated to heights of global renown by the brilliance of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia has now been indispensable in Hindustani Classical music for well over half a century. Bansuris range in size from less than 12" to nearly 40".
Bansuri construction is a complex art. The bamboo suitable for making a bansuri needs to possess several qualities. It must be thin walled and straight with a uniform circular cross section and long internodes. Being a natural material, it is difficult to find bamboo shafts with all these characteristics, which in turn makes good bansuris rare and expensive. Suitable species of bamboo (such as Pseudostachyum) with these traits are endemic to the forests of Assam and Kerala.
After harvesting a suitable specimen, the bamboo is seasoned to allow naturally present resins to strengthen it. Once ready, a cork stopper is inserted to block one end, next to which the blowing hole is burnt in. The holes must be burnt in with red hot skewers since drilling causes the fibrous bamboo to split along the length, rendering it useless. The approximate positions of the finger holes are calculated by measuring the bamboo shaft's inner and outer diameters and applying certain formulae. Flute makers have only one chance to burn the holes, and a single mistake ruins the flute, so they usually begin by burning in a small hole, after which they play the note and using a chromatic tuner and a drone called tanpura, gradually make adjustments by sanding the holes in small increments. Once all the holes are perfected, the bansuri is steeped in a solution of antiseptic oils, after which it is cleaned, dried and its ends are bound with silk or nylon threads for both decoration as well as protection against thermal expansion.
Bansuris range in length from less than 12 inches (called muralis) up to about 40 inches (shankha bansuris). 20-inch bansuris are common. Another common and similar Indian flute played in South India is the venu, which is shorter in length and has 8 finger holes (this type of Indian flute is played by the Carnatic musician Shashank Subramanyam). The index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands are usually used to finger the six hole bansuri. For the seven hole bansuri, the little finger (pinky) of the lower hand is usually employed.
Fingering Chart for a Bansuri
The sound of a bansuri is generated from resonance of the air column inside it. The length of this column is varied by closing or leaving open, a varying number of holes. Half-holing is employed to play flat or minor notes. The 'sa' (on the Indian sargam scale, or equivalent 'do' on the octave) note is obtained by covering the first three holes from the blowing-hole. Octaves are varied by manipulating one's embouchure and controlling the blowing strength. Various grip styles are used by flutists to suit different lengths of Bansuris, the two prominent styles being the Pannalal Ghosh grip, which uses the fingertips to close the holes, and the Hariprasad Chaurasia grip, which uses the pads (flat undersides) of the fingers to close the holes. While playing, the sitting posture is also important in that one should be careful not to strain one's back over long hours of practice. The size of a Bansuri affects its pitch. Longer bansuris with a larger bore have a lower pitch and the slimmer and shorter ones sound higher.
In order to play the diatonic scale on a bansuri, one needs to find where the notes lie. For example, in a bansuri where Sa or the tonic is always played by closing the first three holes, is equivalent to C, one can play sheet music by creating a finger notation that corresponds to different notes. A flutist is able to perform complex facets of Raga music such as microtonal inflections, ornamentation, and glissando by varying the breath, performing fast and dextrous fingering, and closing/opening the holes with slow, sweeping gestures. These techniques are demonstrated by the famous Indian flautist Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.
The venu (Sanskrit: वेणु; veṇu) is a bamboo transverse flute used in the Carnatic music of South India. Although it is often called Carnatic flute or simply flute in English, venu is the instrument's ancient Sanskrit name. It is also called by various other names in the languages of South India, including pullankuzhal in Malayalam, and(koLalu) in Kannada. It is known as pillana grovi in Telugu (Andhra Pradesh). It is called Bansuri in Marathi (Maharashtra), and is used extensively for Hindustani classical music.
Construction and Technique
One of the oldest musical instruments of India, the instrument is a keyless transverse flute made of bamboo. The fingers of both hands are used to close and open the holes. It has a blowing hole near one end, and eight closely placed finger holes. The instrument comes in various sizes. The venu is capable of producing two and half octaves with the help of overblowing and cross fingering. The flute is like the human voice in that it is monophonous and also has the two and half octaves sound reproduction. Sliding the fingers on and off the holes allows for a great degree of ornamentation, important in the performance of raga-based music.
The flute (Venu) finds great mention in Indian mythology and folklore having been listed as amongst the 3 original instruments meant for music along with the Saraswati veena and mridangam (veena-venu-mridanga trinity). However it is strange that there is no name mentioned for the typical flute that the Lord plays.
The venu is associated with the Hindu god Krishna, who is often depicted playing it. This kind of flute is mainly used in South India.The Lord Vishnu is portrayed as Sri Venugopala - playing the flute of Creation.
Until the late 19th century, the Carnatic flute (better known in Tamil as the pullanguzhal), a 8-hole bamboo flute, the South Indian equivalent of the North Indian 6-hole bansuri flute, had never been used in Carnatic concerts. Sarabha Sastri has been characterized by his followers as a musical genius after experimenting and creating the Carnatic flute. He is also known for bringing the Carnatic flute to the fore of Carnatic music concerts as an influential instrument. The Sarabha Sastri style or bani of playing was established and was carried on by his disciple Palladam Sanjiva Rao. However it was the self-taught "Mali" who brought a revolution in popularising the Carnatic flute and whose legacy was carried on by Ramani and other national and international disciples of Mali.
- Classical Guitar
The Classical Guitar (also called classic guitar, Spanish guitar, nylon-string guitar or concert guitar) is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones. In addition to the instrument, the phrase "classical guitar" can refer to two other concepts:
• The instrumental technique common to classical guitar—individual strings plucked with the fingernails or, rarely, fingertips • The instrument's historic repertoire
The shape, construction, and material of classical guitars varies, but typically they have a modern classical guitar shape, or historic classical guitar shape (e.g., early romantic guitars from France and Italy). Strings are usually of nylon or other synthetic material, or fine wire wrapped around a nylon or other synthetic core. Historic guitars may have strings made of gut (sheep or pig intestine).
A guitar family tree can be identified. (The flamenco guitar derives from the modern classical, but has differences in material, construction and sound)
The term modern classical guitar is sometimes used to distinguish the classical guitar from older forms of guitar, which are in their broadest sense also called classical, or more descriptively: early guitars. Examples of early guitars include the 6-string early romantic guitar (ca. 1790 - 1880), and the earlier baroque guitars with 5 courses.
Today's modern classical guitar was established by the late designs of the 19th century Spanish luthier Antonio Torres Jurado. Hence the modern classical guitar is sometimes called the "Spanish guitar".
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which also includes the viola, cello, and double bass.
The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Medieval Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic "fiddle". The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Gasparo da Salò, Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia and Cremona and by Jacob Stainer in Austria. Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of "lesser" makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony, Bohemia, and Mirecourt. Many of these trade instruments were formerly sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.
A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier, or simply a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic characteristics of the instrument's construction), and it is usually strung with gut, nylon or other synthetic, or steel strings.
Someone who plays the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. The violinist produces sound by drawing a bow across one or more strings (which may be stopped by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches), by plucking the strings (with either hand), or by a variety of other techniques. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including Baroque music, classical, jazz, folk music, rock and roll and metal. The violin has come to be played in many non-western music cultures all over the world.
The Saraswati Veena (also spelled Saraswati vina) is an Indian plucked string instrument. It is named after the Hindu goddess Saraswati, who is usually depicted holding or playing the instrument. Also known as raghunatha veena is used mostly in Carnatic Indian classical music. There are several variations of the veena, which in its South Indian form is a member of the lute family. One who plays the veena is referred to as a vainika. It is one of other major types of veena popular today. The others include chitra veena, vichitra veena and rudra veena. Out of these the rudra and vichitra veenas are used in Hindustani music, while the Saraswati veena and the chitra veena are used in the Carnatic music of South India. Some people play traditional music, others play contemporary music.
The Chenda (pronounced [tʃeɳʈa]) is a cylindrical percussion instrument used widely in the state of Kerala, and Tulu Nadu of Karnataka State in India. In Tulu Nadu it is known as Chande.
The chenda is mainly played in Hindu Temple Festivals and as an accompaniment in the religious art forms of Kerala. The chenda is used as an accompaniment for Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Kannyar Kali, Theyyam and among many forms of dances and rituals in Kerala. It is also played in a dance-drama called Yakshagana which is popular in Tulu Nadu of Karnataka. Chenda is an unavoidable musical instrument in all form of cultural activities in Kerala.
The Maddalam or Madhalam is a drum made out of the wood of the jackfruit tree. It has two sides for playing, made out of leather, and has different kind of sounds on each side. The maddalam is a heavy instrument which is hung around the waist of the person playing, and the player stands all the while to perform.
The maddalam is a vital instrument in traditional Kerala percussion ensembles like Panchavadyam, Keli and Kathakali orchestra. Maddalam is considered as a DevaVadyam as it resembles Lord Shiva and Lord Parvathi by its sound. It is believed that, Maddalam by its structure, really resembles the "ShivaSakthi" swaroopa, in which the right hand side of the Maddalam resembles Shiva and the left hand side resembles Parvathi.
- Musical Keyboard
A Musical Keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument, particularly the piano. Keyboards typically contain keys for playing the twelve notes of the Western musical scale, with a combination of larger, longer keys and smaller, shorter keys that repeats at the interval of an octave. Depressing a key on the keyboard causes the instrument to produce sounds, either by mechanically striking a string or tine (piano, electric piano, clavichord); plucking a string (harpsichord); causing air to flow through a pipe (organ); or strike a bell (carillon). On electric and electronic keyboards, depressing a key connects a circuit (Hammond organ, digital piano, synthesizer). Since the most commonly encountered keyboard instrument is the piano, the keyboard layout is often referred to as the "piano keyboard".
The Mridangam (Sanskrit: मृदंगम्, मृदङ्गं , is a percussion instrument from India of ancient origin. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble. Alternate spellings include "mrudangam", "mrdangam", "mrithangam", "miruthangam", and "mirudhangam". In ancient Hindu sculpture, painting, and mythology, the mridangam is often depicted as the instrument of choice for a number of deities including Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) and Nandi, who is the vehicle and companion of Lord Shiva. Nandi is said to have played the mridangam during Shiva's primordial Tandava dance, causing a divine rhythm to resound across the heavens. The mridangam is thus also known as "Deva Vaadyam," or "Instrument of the Gods."
The word "mridangam" is derived from the two Sanskrit words mŗda (clay or earth) and anga (body). Early mridangams were indeed made of hardened clay. Over the years, the mridangam evolved to be made of different kinds of wood due to its increased durability, and today, its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree. It is widely believed that the tabla, the mridangam's North Indian musical counterpart, was first constructed by splitting a mridangam in half. With the development of the mridangam came the evolution of the tala (rhythmic) system. The system of talas (or taalams) in South Indian Carnatic music may be the most complex percussive rhythm system of any form of classical music.
The mridangam is a double-sided drum whose body is usually made using a hollowed piece of jackfruit wood about an inch thick. The two mouths or apertures of the drum are covered with a goat skin leather and laced to each other with leather straps around the circumference of drum. These straps are put into a state of high tension to stretch out the circular membranes on either side of the hull, allowing them to resonate when struck. These two membranes are dissimilar in width to allow for the production of both bass and treble sounds from the same drum.
The bass aperture is known as the "thoppi" or "eda bhaaga" and the smaller aperture is known as the "valanthalai" or "bala bhaaga". The smaller membrane, when struck, produces higher pitched sounds with a metallic timbre. The wider aperture produces lower pitched sounds. The goat skin covering the smaller aperture is anointed in the center with a black disk made of rice flour, ferric oxide powder and starch. This black tuning paste is known as the "satham" or "karanai" and gives the mridangam its distinct metallic timbre.
The Tabla (or tabl, tabla) is a popular Indian percussion instrument (of the membranophone family, similar to bongos), used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term 'tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means "drum." 
Playing technique involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds, reflected in the mnemonic syllables (bol). The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure or in a sliding motion on the larger drum so that the pitch is changed during the sound's decay.
Nomenclature and Construction
The smaller drum, played with the dominant hand, is sometimes called dayan (literally "right"), dāhina, siddha or chattū, but is correctly called the "tabla." It is made from a conical piece of mostly teak and rosewood hollowed out to approximately half of its total depth. The drum is tuned to a specific note, usually either the tonic, dominant or subdominant of the soloist's key and thus complements the melody. The tuning range is limited although different dāyāñ-s are produced in different sizes, each with a different range. Cylindrical wood blocks, known as ghatta, are inserted between the strap and the shell allowing tension to be adjusted by their vertical positioning. Fine tuning is achieved while striking vertically on the braided portion of the head using a small hammer.
The larger drum, played with the other hand, is called bāyāñ (literally "left") or sometimes dagga, duggī or dhāmā. The bāyāñ has a much deeper bass tone, much like its distant cousin, the kettle drum. The bāyāñ may be made of any of a number of materials. Brass is the most common, copper is more expensive, but generally held to be the best, while aluminum and steel are often found in inexpensive models. One sometimes finds that wood is used, especially in old bāyāñs from the Punjab. Clay is also used, although not favored for durability; these are generally found in the North-East region of Bengal.
The name of the head areas are:
• chat, chanti, keenar, kinar, ki • sur, maidan, lao, luv • center: syahi, siaahi, gob Both drum shells are covered with a head (or puri) constructed from goat or cow skin. An outer ring of skin (keenar) is overlaid on the main skin and serves to suppress some of the natural overtones. These two skins are bound together with a complex woven braid that gives the assembly enough strength to be tensioned on the shell. The head is affixed to the drum shell with a single cow or camel hide strap laced between the braid of the head assembly and another ring (made from the same strap material) placed on the bottom of the drum.
The head of each drum has a central area called the Syahi (lit. "ink"; a.k.a. shāī or gāb). This is constructed using multiple layers of a paste made from starch (rice or wheat) mixed with a black powder of various origins. The precise construction and shaping of this area is responsible for modification of the drum's natural overtones, resulting in the clarity of pitch (see inharmonicity) and variety of tonal possibilities unique to this instrument which has a bell-like sound. The skill required for the proper construction of this area is highly refined and is the main differentiating factor in the quality of a particular instrument.
Yakshagana (Tulu: /Kannada: , yakṣagāna, [jɐkʃəɡaːnɐ]) (Tulu: /Kannada: , yakṣagāna, [jɐkʃəɡaːnɐ]) is a theater form that combines, dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up and stage techniques with a unique style and form. This theather style is mainly prevalent in the coastal districts and Malenadu regions of Karnataka, India.
Yakshagana is the recent (200 years) scholastic name for what are known as kēḷike, āṭa, bayalāṭa, bayalāṭa, daśāvatāra (Kannada: ). It is believed to have evolved from pre-classical music and theatre during the Bhakti movement. Yakshagana is popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga and Kasaragod district . Yakshagana has become popular in Bangalore over the recent years, particularly in the rainy season, when there are few performances in the coastal districts. It has drawn comparisons to the Western tradition of opera. Actors wear costumes and enact various roles. Traditionally, Yakshagana would go on all night. It is sometimes simply called as ಆಟ "play" in both Kannada and Tulu. Yaksha-gana literally means the song (gana) of a yaksha, which was a term for exotic tribes of ancient India.
Yakshagana consists of a himmela "background music group" and a mummela "dance and dialog group", which together perform Yakshagana poetry. Himmela consist of a bhagawata "singer" who is also the director (also called the first actor, modalane vesha), maddale, harmonium for drone (pungi was used earlier) and chande (loud drums). The music is based on Carnatic ragas characterised by melodic patterns called Mattu and Yakshagana Tala. Yakshagana Talas are believed to be based on patterns which later evolved into Carnatic talas.
A Yakshagana performance begins at the twilight hours with the beating of several fixed compositions on drums called abbara or peetike for up to an hour before the actors get on the stage. The actors wear resplendent costumes, head-dresses, and face paints.
A performance usually depicts a story from Indian epic poems and the Puranas. It consists of a narrator (Bhagvatha) who either narrates the story by singing or sings prepared character dialogues, backed by musicians playing on traditional musical instruments as the actors dance to the music, with actions that portray the story as it is being narrated. All the components of Yakshagana, music, dance and dialog are improvised. Depending on the ability and scholarship of the actors, variation in dance and amount of dialog may change. It is not uncommon for actors to get into philosophical debates or arguments without going out of the framework of the character being enacted.
The Chenda is mainly played in Hindu temple festivals and as an accompaniment in the religious art forms of Kerala. The chenda is used as an accompaniment for Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Kannyar Kali, Theyyam and among many forms of dances and rituals in Kerala. It is also played in a dance-drama called Yakshagana (Tenku Thittu) which is popular in Tulu Nadu of Karnataka. There is a variant of this instrument used in northern school of Yakshagana called Chande.
A "Chenda Melam" means percussion using Chenda. The Chenda is used as a percussion instrument for almost all Kerala art forms like Kathakali, Kodiyattam, Theyyam etc. Chenda melam is the most popular form in Kerela, for more than 300 years. A Chenda melam is an integral part of all festivals in Kerela. There are 7 types of "melangal" viz Panchari melam, Champa, Chempada, Adantha, Anchadatha, Druvam and Pandy melam. The earlier 6 melams are called "Chempada melangal". Other than these seven "melams"" two more melams are there in Kerala "Navam" and "Kalpam". The "Chenda Vattam" or the skin used on Chenda should be very thin for classic Chenda Melam like Panchari melam, Pandi Melam or for Thayambaka but for Shinkari Melam Chenda the "Chenda Vattam" are hard, which are very cheap to make. "Shinkari Melam" is not considered as a classical form of art.
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