MUS 2420 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Pallavi, Aldi, Calendar

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6 Feb 2017
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Lecture 11
Case study: south Indian Raga Nilambari
Raga nilambari is one example of a shared meaning amongst those in the south Indian
soundscape
Raga-the Indian system of organizing melodies according to their distinctive pitch
Content, ornaments and range of associations
Created from at least 5 pitches (not like in western notation)
Ragas are linked to time of day and the seasons (ex: monsoons season)
Ragas have emotional connotations
Ex: the Sanskrit word raga, meaning ‘juice, essence or flavor’
Raga are the emotional theme of a work or the emotion evoked upon hearing it, often
specific to the listener (personal meaning)
Raga nilambari is used by those who have a classical music education or who belong
to particular classes (castes) of the South Indian society
Listening 33
Araro Ariraro (south Indian Lullaby)
Composer: unknown
June 24, 2004
Performed by: mrs. Jeyalakshmi Sundar
Mode (raga): nilambari
From lullaby
The vocals “araro ariraro” commonly used for lullabies, imitating the way babies cry
The free rhythm shaped by meaningful text in the Tamil language
Talattu: the Tamil word for lullaby, meaning tongue rocking’
‘tongue rocking’ is derived from vacables or non-literal syllables
South Indian lullabies are sung in homes as well as distributed on commercial
recordings
o Lullabies transmit cultural knowledge and regulate behavior among young
children
o Presented in an appealing way
o Raga nilambari is strongly associated with making babies fall to sleep
o In rituals, the raga is used to make deities asleep as well
Setting for raga nilambari- Hindu temples in south India
Tala- an Indian rhythmic framework consisting of time cycles that contain a fixed
number of counts
Each cycle is subdivided with different beats often irregular
The actual rhythms sung or played can vary greatly within a particular tala cycle
o Listening 34 is in Tala Adi, an 8 beat tala one of the most commonly heard talas
in south India
It has enduring popularity today long after its composition
Listening 34:
Amba Nilambari (‘Oh mother clad in blue’)
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