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MUSI 1500
Ravi Naimpally

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MUSI 1500 MIDTERM EXAM REVIEW: Lecture 5: Influences and Origins of Dance/Drama/Music Sanskrit Drama:  Ca. Late Centuries B.C  Also known as ‘Geya Nataka’  From Natya Shastra with roots in the vedic rites ”Abhinanya Darpana” (the Mirror of Gestures)  Ancient treatise written by Nankikeshwara  Focused on the art of dance  Abhinaya refers to very stylized gestures also used today in dance forms like Bharatanatyam and Kathak Divine Origins of Music and Dance  Musical art as a creation of the Gods  Invocation to God made at beginning of all music events Origins of Sanskrit Drama  Epic poetry in conjunction with temple performance arts (music and dance)  Epochal period of Sanskrit drama (1 -10 Century B.C.) Stereotypical Characters in Dramatic Situations  1.Hero (Nayaka)  2. Heroine (Nayika)  3. Villain (Pratinayaka)  Buffoon (Vidushaka) Instrumentation  Singer, plus 4 instrumental sections: 1. Strings (harps and lutes) 2. Winds (flutes mainly) 3. Drums of various kinds (according to Schramm, ‘considered the most important group of instruments’) 4. Other percussions (cymbals)  ‘Kutapa’= musical ensemble  ‘Purvaranga’= pre-performance routines  ‘Bahir-gita’= musical prelude Function of the Music  To create rapport (‘Dhavani’- reverberation) between performers and audience  Use of ‘raag’  ‘bhava’= intrinsic sentiment  To reflect a ‘ras’  Some raags were more appropriate to musical drama situations Vocal Music in Sanskrit Drama  ‘Dhruvas’- songs forms on specially composed verses meant to enhance the theatrical effectiveness of the play  Not in Sanskrit, rather, in the vernacular language (this added to popular appeal of the production)  Text was written by the composer of the music, not the playwrite /poet  ‘kutapa’ may have included professional singers, but it is likely the musicians often sung these songs Five Types of Dhruvas 1. Entrance song- heralded the appearance of an actor to characterize his mood (referential) 2. Exit song- marked by the exit of an actor 3. Song of pathos 4. Song of sudden change of mood 5. Interim song- covered interruptions in the action or mishaps in the production th By 12 Century Two MAJOR Developments Influenced Music and Art 1. Decline of Sanskrit drama- resulted in less serious forms of song/dance (precursor to folk music and modern drama) 2. Muslim (Mughal) raids from North divided India into two distinct cultural areas (eventually bifurcating into Hindustani and Carnatic) The Move to Musical Theatre  The process of dilution of the ‘classical’ element from Sanskrit drama and transition to folk forms was gradual  These new songs and dance forms aimed at a more perfect balance of dance and music/song. Those that achieved this balance were called ‘Natya-gita’  Work appears in the form of a poem (‘kavya’) but uses certain ragas and talas in performance  This form was also known as ‘ragkavya’ (music poem) Other Forms of Dance/Drama 1. Tamasha:  From Maharashta region (now Western region- Mumbai)  Resembled Sanskrit drama- indicates a classic heritage  Erotic plots and rustic expression (much like a light comedy) 2. Nautanki:  Evolved from Medieval ballads  Simple melodies  Archetype of buffoon is important- role links subject matter of play, provides comedy and satire, relates prose 3. Jatra:  Operatic folk drama that includes audience participation  Audience sings with performing troup  Native to Bengal 4. Bhavi:  Folk opera dealing with medieval themes  Hindi cinema (and Indian cinema in general) acts as an ‘interface’ between historical/artistic tradition and the modern world Primary Sources for Folk Drama Subject Matter - The Hindu Epics (‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabarata’)  Sources of morality and systems of value  Established rules and codes of conduct  Relayed social messages through religious themes  Enforced certain stereotypes: hero, woman, good, evil, etc 1. Hindu Epic: ‘Ramayana’  Deals with story of Lord Rama and his exile into the forest  Classic story of good vs. evil  Influenced early folk drama: ‘Ramalila’- parallels incidents in Ramayana (14 days to perform, often enacted in forest settings where original events were supposed to have occurred)  Ramayana also influenced early film ‘Raja Harischandra’ in 1913 2. Hindu Epic: ‘Mahabarata’  Revealed concepts of ‘dharma’ (duty) and ‘karma (action and consequence of action)  Excerpt from this work: ‘Bhagwad Gita’, introduced connection between dharma and karma; this emphasis on morality would be a central theme in Hindi film later  Mythlogical source of Draupadi ‘sari’ incident Parsis and Parsi Theatre  Early 20 Century, originated in Bombay  Small ethnic-religious (Zoroastrians) community focused in Bombay and areas of North India  Developed an approach to musical theatre (in both Hindi and Gujarati) that was slick, lavish, extravagant, and melodramatic, revealing the connection between Parsi theatre and the origins of Bollywood musicals  Very popular form of musical theatre, still connected to the invocative opening tradition of Sanskrit Drama but that included themes  Combined various themes and subject matter with little regard to artistic taste  One of the chief complaints against it (Parsi theatre) was that it dissolved the boundary between high and low art, absorbing what was tropical, catchy, and entertaining without regard to canons of ‘taste’ Bengali Musical Theatre  Exhibited, for a time, some characteristics of Parsi Theatre  Rabindranath Tagore (composer, dramatist, and poet laureate of India)  Known for his collection of music, known as ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ (Rabindra songs) On the Coattails of Melody: RHYTHM  Rhythm: The subdivision of a space of time into a defined repeated pattern. Rhythm is the controlled movement of music in time  Taal- Rhythmic system used in conjunction with ‘raag’, consists of a recurring cycle for a fixed number of beats ‘Genres’ of Music in India  Classical: o Two Great Traditions: ‘Hindustani’ and ‘Carnatic’ (‘Karnatak’), correspond to North Indian classical and South Indian Classical respectively o Vast system of rules clarified in ‘Sangeeta Ratnakara’ o Origins in vocal music: ‘Sangeet’ o Classical traditions make use of ‘raags’ (Hindustani term) or ‘ragas’ (Carnatic term), ‘taal’ or ‘tala’ (in the South), and ‘ras’ (or ‘rasa’, also in the South) o ‘Improvisation’ is utilized by the performed, though through specific rules o Hindustani music was often performed as ‘mehfils’ ( intimate concerts settings with small audiences, historically in homes of royalty) o Main body of music is often preceded by an alap (alapana) Some Forms of Hindustani Music 1. Dhrupad: o Oldest surviving style o Complex interpretation of rag, use of extensive ‘ornamentation’, only attempted by highly skilled singers 2. Khayal: o Short songs used as raw material for improvisation, less emphasis on alap 3. Bhajan: o Vocal music of a highly religious nature (Hindu) o Rooted in Vedic tradition o As a classical form (either Hindustani or Carnatic) is based on ‘rags’ (‘raags’) and ‘tal’ (‘tala’) Semi- Classical (light classical)  Less defined by ‘classic’ rules’  ‘Lighter’ style of interpretttion  May also include improvisation  Do not normally include an ‘alap’ Some Forms of North Indian ‘Light Classical’ Music in India 1. Ghazal: ‘to talk to women’  Refers to a poetic form in Urdu with origins in Persia (Iran)  The poetry is set to music  Usually a romantic mood, unlike the classical genre  For solo singer accompanied by few instruments  Improvisatory in nature  In film, becomes ‘Filmi Ghazal’ o Filmi Ghazal differs from traditional Ghazal o Very little or no improvisation o Instrumentation is often more complex, may involve an entire orchestra o More modern in arrangement 2. Qawwali  Primarily Urdu texts  Rooted in the Islamic religion  Focused on mystical love of a divine nature; devotional  Involves one or two lead singers with a chorus of singers and few instruments  Improvisation is used extensively o In film, becomes filmi Qawwali o Filmi qawwali differs from traditional qawwali o Woman may be lead singers o Ornamented passages are normally pre-composed, and not improvised on the spot o Musicians are visible, no matter where the song takes place (unlike in other filmi songs) o Musical ensemble includes Western instruments o Focused on ‘earthly’, erotic aspect of lyrics, and not the devotional nature of the text 3. Thumri  Vocal music  Romantic, devotional in nature, directed Lord Krishna  Use of raag, through with greater flexibility than in Classical forms 4. Kirtan  North India Ecstatic Devotional Music  Parallels Bhajans from classical style  Use of call and response technique with solo singer and chorus (like Quwwali) Vehicles for Transcendence  Bhajan, Kirtan, Qawwali embrace to differing degrees the ecstatic approach to singing music of a religious/spiritual nature. These kinds of music:  Disply increasing intensity as music/song progresses  Intensity carried also by prevalence of drums  Beyond mere expression, are also music of ‘possession’  Involve participation of groups of people with solo singers  MAST: intoxicated, drunk, proud, wanton, lustful, happy… and sexually excited (from Hindi Dictionary) describes the state in which musicians and singers in these traditions operate Folk Music and Dance  Originates in vocal music  Songs were often utilitarian  Tends to maintain a more social base value as opposed to that classical tradition 1. Baul Music (‘Baul Sangeet’)  Mystical, ecstatic tradition of the ‘Bauls’ (wandering minstrels)  Localized in state of Bengal  Baul Sangeet music is vocal, poetic in text, and oriented towards the divine  Simple songs most commonly sung with an ‘ektara’ (one-stringed instrument) or ‘dotara’ (milti-stringed lute) and ‘dugi’ (kettledrum) on the waist  Baul Sangeet: o Describes Devine association through poetic expressions o Blend music and poetry o Imagery drawn from village life and activities 2. Lavani  Folk music of Maharashtra  Heard in conjunction with Tamasha dance drama 3. Gujarati (from the state of Gujarat)  Dandiya Raas o Folk dance and music using sticks (dandiya) to symbolize swords in the staging of a mock ‘fight’ in praise of Lord Rama o Both men and women participate o Performed during religious festivals  Garba o Social folk dance related to ‘dandiya raas’ o Only danced by women 4. Rajasthani (from the state of Ragasthan) folk music  Diverse range of local folk music  Use of many type of instruments 5. Bhangra  Folk vocal/instrumental music/ dance of state of Punjab  Used frequently during ceremonial occasions  Traditionally, lyrics reflect history of Punjab Other Folk Songs 1. Bhatiali  Song of boatmen of Bengal  Song for ‘a friend who has left’, alluding to a search for the Divine  Also associated with Baul tradition 2. Jhumur  Bengali folk song style  Focused on legend of Radha and Krishna 3. Bhadu  Similar to Jhumur in construction of melody  Sung in-house Seasonal Songs 1. Kajri  Rainy season songs, most often sung by women 2. Phalgun songs  Song announcing the festive advert of spring Ceremonial (Sanskara) Songs  Less classical in form when compared to seasonal songs  Use of traditional folk instruments 1. Sohar songs:  Sung at the birth of a child 2. Vivah songs:  Songs relating to marriage  Some of these overlap in style with semi-classical song  Includes Mehndi songs  Vidai songs  Lacharis songs Occasional songs  Songs sung by peasants, craftsmen and herdsmen  Group oriented songs and dance songs 1. Birha  Sung by herdsmen 2. Karma  Dance-songs sung by tribal people 3. Jantsar  Reaping, sowing and planting songs 4. Loris (lullabys)  Cradle songs sung by mothers  Key: Many folk forms heard in Bollywood songs, applied mostly during rural, pastoral, or village scenes GROUP 5: PRESENTATION The Hero:  Meaning of screen hero and the persona of the star who brings him to life are closely linked to popular cinema  Cinema depends on young audience  Number of Indian fans under age 25= 500 million  “Hindi cinema actors are modern manifestations of mythical heroes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. They’re invincible and win at the end” – Amitabh Bachchan How Does a Producer/Director Choose their Heroes?  Special reading of the screenplay  Actors receive payment anywhere between 1-6 crores  Size of payment depends on the magnitude of frame held by the actor  Actor sign multiple agreements Myths  Psychotherapist Udayan Patel explores the mythological stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana  Devdas: based on a myth that suffering leads to salvation and glory, and is tied with the idea that true love is unattainable The Anti-Hero  Introduced in the 1940s through Ashok Kumar in Kismet  Hero is more psychologically complex  Important anti-hero role: in 1950s, Raj of Awara played by director/producer/actor Raj Kapoor The Decline  Popularity of hero and anti-hero began to decrease in 1960s  Shammi Kapoor was the original ‘Rock’ n’ Roller’ of Hindi films= performance in Junglee (1961)  Inspired romantic modern Bollywood Heroes GROUP 6: PRESENTATION The Courtesan Film Genre: -the courtesan film genre is variously described as dancing girl, nautch-girl, prostitute, or harlot. It appears often in Indian cultural texts and it is often associated with in popular culture with Madonna -in the post independence era the representation of the courtesan projects a view of woman as tempting, alluring, - the courtesan film genre has been consistently popular in India and has been a favored subject of even respected Bombay filmmakers from : -Mamta (Mother Love, 1965) -Mandi (Marketplace, 1983), -Pakeezah (The Pure One, 1971), -Bhumika (The Role, 1977), -Amar Prem (Eternal Love, 1971) -the prostitute in courtesan films where she isn’t the lead role still plays a significant role. As the other woman her role often supersedes that of the heroine for example Chandramukhi in Devdas (1955) and Gulab in Pyaasa (The Thirsty One, 1957)These outcast women are nurturing and sacrificing, beautiful, and gentle, prostitutes with golden hearts who help nourish the hero -courtesan films are women centred and are filled with mirror imagery. Mirror imagery is abundant in courtesan films, giving added dimension to the metaphor of woman essentially “split” (virgin/whore) Identifying Generic elements of the courtesan film: -imminent prostitution are to be found in almost every commercial film -stagings of the attempted rape scene -the cabaret dancer scene -the misfortunes and social isolation of the unwed mother -the westernized heroine with wineglass in hand looking toward sinister-looking men at a bar of club -the orphan girl trapped in a den of vice -the village woman assaulted or actually molested in the city -These elements of these scenarios reinforce the sense of female vulnerability in the face of male power and aggression -courtesan films have changed over the years, in the thirties, forties, and fifties filmmakers like B.R Chopra and V.Shantaram used the film medium for overt social messages such as, the fallen woman who is restored to social respectability through marriage and “the rescue” scenario where the unfortunate woman trapped in a life of moral degradation is rescued by a good man. Films such as Aadmi (Man, 1939) and Sadhana (Prayer, 1958) are good example of those scenarios. -there are 3 types of courtesan films: - the first type represents famous courtesans from Indian history or ancient texts such as Amrapali the celebrated courtesan of the time of King Bimbisara of Magadha (second century B.C), Chitralekha known to have existed in the time of Chandragupta Maurya (second century B.C), and Vasantsena from a fourth-century play. -the second type encompasses those films in which prostitution is a condition in which young girls are initiated as a result of unfortunate or impoverished circumstances, -the third category explores the prostitute as the embodiment of material love and self-sacrifice The courtesan in Indian culture: -a study by Moti Chandra called ‘The World of Courtesans’ states that prostitution was well established and respected in ancient India. He traces existence of courtesans all the way to the Rig Vedic India, thousands of years ago -the concepts of pleasure, luxury, physical adornment, and sexual enticement seem to predominate in the references to courtesans. They were employed by kings, rich merchants, and bankers. Courtesans were appreciated often secretly and were called harlots, wenches, streetwalkers, and even murderesses. -according to Moti Chandra courtesans gained dignity up to the Gupta period. In the medieval period however emphasis is placed on “the sex aspects of the profession” Courtesans of the screen: -courtesan films have excellent song and dance sequences (mujras) performed in the presence of male clients and patrons through which the public nature of a prostitute’s life unfolds. The narrative is one of romantic love and longing, passion and forbidden dreams. Although men exploit her body and her talents, it is to men that the screen courtesan/prostitute turns to fulfill her dreams. Female Voice in Hindustani Film Song Information on Hindustani Song:  Genuine existence was brought to Hindustani film with invention of the sound track  First Hindustani talkie was Alam Ara realeased in 1931-> this started the trend of Hindustani films to have talking and singing  The visual narrative is dominated by dialogues and songs  Song is the raison d’etre(reason of existence) of Hindustani movie  A song in “musicalized” speech; emotionally charged language song is information( emotional, psychological and abstract); humans began singing before invention of symbolic speech  Melody itself is message composers recognized ragas have psychological/ emotional connotations Background information  It is not unusual for two voices for a single actor in madhumati, dilip kumar sings in the voices of mukesh and mohammad rafi; reason to this is because: one voice carries maximum information to a situation while the other is appropriate in another context  Alpha males and females in movies rarely sing; surrogates were there who sang for them song was associated with vulnerability and weakness Female voice status changes  In classical, Indian culture women were deemed unworthy of singing and dancing; men adopted roles of women in ceremonial religious dances; indian men adopt subservient postures, physical and musical; man’s mouth is purer than women’s  Mirasis were singers and performers that belong to low-caste; women were permeitted to sing here; earlier female vocalists belonged to culture of “fallen women”; were part of kotha and mujra singers which was the reverse side of respected society; some famous female thumri and dadra singers are Begum Akhtar, Rasoolanbai  Commonly said best female singing was by men like ustad abdul karim khan and ustad bade ghulam ali khan  Female vocalists had bitter struggle to gain status as accomplished singer  To be good woman’s voice had to compete with that of a man  Female singers of thirties were generally large-throated(eg. begum Akhtar)  During forties: solid voiced, strong singers in films were Noor jahan, Suraiya and Shamsha Begum  Noor Jahan was a soprano; produced the little girl voice;  Suraiyavoice ideal for geet singing; voice had weight  Shamshad begumrobust, sharp and minty voice; precise, flooded song with sensuality  Strongest male singer of era Pankaj Mullick;  Female singers dominated the forties  It ended following India’s independence; singers flew to Pakistan  Change occurred suddenly following Independence in 1947; men created new strategy since Independence was achieved, to send ladies back in the kitchen  After independence women became homebound which was reflected in Hindustani film song  Lata mangeshkar entered industry voice had a novel sound; small girl voice that traveled lightly and effortlessly like Noor Jahan’s  Lata mangeshkar is the world’s most recorded vocalist  Enough weight to give definite shape to the melody  1949 was Lata’s year; cemetery of heavy voices= suriaya, shamshad, lata; Lata was leading the march  Two important singer asha bhosle and Geeta Dutt  Asha’s voice was smaller and finer than Lata’s O.P. Nayyar and S.D. Burman helped Asha explore hidden sensuality of her voicereintroduced sex to female voice  Geeta Dutt had a deep, resonant voice- potential instrument of reviving hope for women( sang bhajans in a pleading, weepy style) became nirupa roy of voice  Mohammed Rafi was the vocal Rambo; voice had enormous range, depth and malleability; in duet, only Asha was able to keep up with him  Mukesh and Talat Mahmood were also prominent singers of late Forties and Fifties Mukesh had deep voice while Talat had a soft voice;  Inequlity in Hindustani cinema has been progressive; it took a great deal of courage for women to work in films which is no longer the case  Men have participated in thwarting women’s voices; as they employed female voices to achieve their aim Umrao Jan and the Subaltern Consciousness: -Umrao Jan (1981) is the typical courtesan film of Bombay cinema, in which female subjectivity through “double inscription” of a poetic sensibility, the combination of eroticism, song and dance with the spectacle of woman as feminine beauty and grace, the recreation of a past era through a historic-biographical structure, the naturalistic presentation of a cultural institution are all present. This movie was directed by Muzaffar Ali and has the beautiful Rekha play the role of the Lucknow(red light district) courtesan. The film draws upon hindu elements in its music and lyrics even though the story has primarily Muslim characters. The courtesan is a literal embodiment
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