MUSI 1500 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Bhatiali, Dev Anand, Neutering

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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 (1st-10th 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)
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‘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
By 12th 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)
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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)
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