Document Type

Conference Paper


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Publication Details

6th. International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis, 15-17 June, 2016.


Each khyāl performance of Indian classical music is unique and unreproducible because it is mainly based on improvisation. As for most orally transmitted musical repertoires, learning practices are essential as they guarantee that the musical codes are properly reproduced from one generation to another. In Indian classical music, practice, tightly imbricated in the pupil – teacher relation, favors clearly the imitation. Students tend to reproduce more or less successfully their master’s style. That’s why in order to be creative, it is necessary that each musician develops his own skills of understanding, experimentation and invention. Today, technological tools have considerably transformed our way of learning. From now on, it is possible to have access to considerable data for the understanding of traditional music, and to listen, record and analyse them via numerous audio softwares. Indeed, works by visualization allows reporting knowhow common to all these musics (fingering, musical process, improvisation, patterns…). Through various softwares and practice examples from Rajam’s dynasty (hindustani violinist players), hindustani violin lessons and rāg performances, we will present a “toolbox” useful for all musicians and musicologist to improve their self-study. If the pedagogy and teaching can give us comprehension keys, the apprenticeship, such as it is practiced in North India and in the long master to pupil’s tradition, favors clearly the imitation at the expanse of the assimilation. The pupil learns above all by imitation and by impregnation, without taking the time to understand or to write. He learns to know a number of ingredients, but does not inevitably learn how to use it. In this way, the pupil tends inexorably to reproduce with varying degrees of acuteness the master’s style. His space of creativity is extremely reduced even non-existent. The musician will feel difficulties finding his own style. For that purpose, it is necessary to him to be able to stand back, to be able to experiment, invent and understand. The technological tools really transformed our way of learning in our daily practice. So the analysis via a number of IT data and software allows to understand and to learn musical processes, specific ornamentations, rarely taught. In addition, it is possible to question the relationship between what is taught by the master and what is produced on stage. Through the comparison of different performances, different performers and different learning lessons, one can clearly dissociates the stored material from the improvised material, i.e. the fixed components from the modular elements. This current work

aims to study this question, focusing on different rāg according to the vocal tradition of khyāl within the Rajam’s Dynasty, violinist descendants. In this communication, we investigate the possibility of using modern computer-based technologies as a teaching assistance system for Indian classical music. Due to its improvisation nature, a comparative approach is necessary to analyse it. For example, by comparing recordings between Hindustani violin lessons at the Hubli- Gurukul (India, August 2010-2012) and Hindustani rāg performances, it is possible to show up the way(s) Rajam Dynasty musicians transform the structural and structuring1 elements of a rāg. At a larger scale of analysis, by multiplying the interpreters on a same rāg, we could quantitatively compare their different improvisation strategies, and better understanding the fundamental elements of a rāg that need to be properly taught to every musician.


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