Description of Sasanka Banerjee Collection
Indian classical music is traditional music conveyed by oral instruction.
There had been distinction of raag in oral instruction between the schools (gharana), but it was gradually changing into a stereotype under the influence of technological innovation such as recording and playbacks of the musical performances.
Innumerable maestri bequeathed recording in the 20th century and it has become a custom that students repeatedly listen to it as the masterpieces.
On the one hand approaches to extemporization pursuant to each school and distinguishing qualities have remained, but on the other hand ascending scales and descending have been unified practically these times.
While I was and am taught tradition of Senia Maihar Gharana from Prof Dwijendra Mohan Banerjee and late Pt Sasanka Banerjee, learnt tunes composed by the other historical musicians also than Senia Maihar Gharana.
Most of them were bandesh, passed on by the offsprings of the celebrated musician Miyan Tansen (1493/1500 – 1586) who flourished in the Mughal Empire period.
The original of the transcribed notes was marketed in 1980s and designed such as familiar to me, too.
As to see music, it seems to be copied in the then ‘80s but not written at the same time that they were taking lessons.
Since it always was such music as to be handed down orally from the outset, a means to write a musical score have not been established and music written in the manner of each own. Moreover, there were many holes eaten in them by vermin owing to the storage conditions.
Reproductive work of them is arduous like to read historical documents. Concerning the musical scores of Dhrupad, taala, sam-kari, and how to capture pulses are described very uncertainly indeed.
The musical pieces of Ustad Kaukab Asadulah Khan (1858 - 1917), who was an active in the sarod approximately 100 years ago, were written in the same system as today’s instrumental ones and comparatively easy to read despite in the context. Therefore, I have decided to set my hand to them first of all.
There were also moving modes of the melodies, which have not been sung today, herein.
Here introduces are bandesh and swara bistar. Bandesh is music, composed with the rhythmical cycles, and performed to the accompaniment of the tabla in the latter half of each instrumental performance. There are three parts in the bandesh, [sthayee] compass of middle-pitched tone, [manjh] low tone and [antara] high tone. There are such Raags also as to be formed with only sthayee and antara. It depends on each character of theirs.
They are refrains of the themes, which take on the main role of improvisation to develop each musical performance.
Swar bistar is a summary of the patterns to contain every melody of each Raag. Likewise ragas have such other elements as [pakar] the main phrases, [charan] the main melodies, [torkifu] the conclusive phrases of the melodies, etc.
Swar bistar is also practised playing as many times over as to capacitate to iterate even unconsciously like bandesh is.
It brings with a feeling of the phrases and the clauses as well.
They were written periods in the Indian musical pieces and bars in the occidental scores.
It is not a thing to represent definite notes but is something to cultivate sensations in process of practice to utilise a feeling of the phrases and the clauses in the cycle of taala for expression positively.
Here the phrases and the clauses become a method of improvisation to quantify the phrases to reiterate them and combine.
Thereby I am explaining myself including a significance to practise a feeling of the phrases and the clauses consciously over and over again.
Nevertheless ragas fall into mechanical and dry expression as nothing but such mathematical process goes usual measure in the final analysis.
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