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Dhun (Dadra and Fast Teental), A Study of Ravi Shankar the SitarBy: Ishan SharmaStudent Number: 500347453Term PaperCourse: MUS 101Section: 4Instructor: Dr. Gillian Turnbull

In Sitar and sarod in the 18th and 19th centuries by A. Miner (1993), the author claims that classical music in India originally paid tribute to Divinity. Lord Siva, a Hindu deity, is believed to be the creator of sound, rhythm and dance. It is said in many Hindu folk tales that the primary steps towards attaining absolute bliss are to realize humility before art and devotion. For this reason, Indian Classical Music is held very sacred in Hinduism. Saraswati, the daughter of Siva and the goddess of learning, is often depicted playing the ancient Indian instrument called the veena. The veena much resembles the modern sitar, a chordophone largely used in Indian Classical Music. This paper will discuss the history and construction of the sitar. It will also discuss the role Ravi Shankar played in popularizing Indian Classical Music in the Western World along with a musical analysis of his work, specifically the artistic master piece Dhun (Dadra and Fast Teental).According to Miner (1993), historians claim the first sighting of a sitar was around 1740 in Delhi. It largely resembled the Persian chordophone, the setar. Through the 18th and 19th century the sitar underwent many physical changes. One of these changes was the addition of the tarab, the sympathetic strings that arent played. Sympathetic strings were scarce in sitars of the 1800s but are more common in todays sitars. The sitar underwent many changes as time passed to present us with the modern day sitar.Types of Sitar (n.d.) describes the two types of modern sitars as sharing common features but also varying. The two modern sitars are often referred to as the Vilayat Khan Sitars(VKS) and the Ravi Shankar Sitars (RSS), named after Vilayat Khan and Ravi Shankar, two prominent sitar players of their age. RSS are constructed with bass strings, producing a bass-filled sound while VKS contain none. RSS also contain more sympathetic strings than VKS, which make up for the lack of sympathetic and bass strings with rhythmic strings, called the chickari. Chickari strings and sympathetic strings provide a drone, producing a more full chordal sound. Sympathetic strings vibrate in sympathy to the strings already being played. They resonate at their fundamental frequency and are not actually plucked. They usually lay under the frets, keeping them out of the way. On the other hand, chickari strings are like melodic strings, playable, thus running over the frets. A fret is a raised portion of the neck of the instrument; strings vibrate at a different pitch when different frets are pressed. Frets in sitars are moveable in order to allow fine tuning. The sitar has two bridges (a bridge supports strings, strings are usually stretched over them), a large bridge for playable strings, and a small bridge for sympathetic strings. Both styles of sitars have gourds at the large bridge to provide resonance, but the RKS have a small gourd attached to the top of the neck of the sitar, providing resonance for the sympathetic strings as well. RKS contain beautiful carvings, whereas VKS are usually minimally decorated. Often cotton strings are placed under the strings at the large bridge, thus affecting how the strings interact with the bridge. This process is called jawari. Jiva, means to give life to, and the phenomenon of jawari gives life to the instrument. This results in the buzzing timbre of the sitar, which can be customized through jawari. The overall construction of a sitar can be customized to the players need and level of mastery. There are sitars that contain a combination of the features from the RKS and the VKS. In The "senia" style of sitar playing in contemporary India G. Farrell (2002) says gharana is translated to household and refers to a form of a stylistic musical organization, often changing as styles of music evolve. Instrumentalists often belong to a certain gharana, thus representing a lineage of musicians. The oldest lineage of North India is the Senia gharana, whom Ravi Shankar is associated with. Music is taught aurally in a gharana based on the guru-sisya principle (guru means teacher, and sisya means disciple). The guru is highly respected, and not only a musical teacher but a spiritual teacher. Through Two "gat" forms for the "sitar": A case study in the rhythmic analysis of north indian music M. Clayton (1993) claims that when Ravi Shankar went to Maihar to learn Indian classical music and studied under Ustad Allauddin Khan, a well-respected guru and founder of the Maihar gharana. It was here that Shankar learned the basics of Indian Classical Music, which according to Farrell (1988) are rag and tal. Rag means colour and a rag is the melodic exploration of a scale. Tal is the metric organization system of Indian music. Clayton (1993) stated that Khan established a three-part principle, which can be heard in many of Shankars songs. The first part of the song is called alap-jor. The alap is a free metered improvisation of the sitar. The jor is an introduction of a pulse; this section is sometimes left out and the first part is simply an alap. This is followed by a gat, the introduction of a meter through use of the tabla, an Indian drum. The final part is the jhalla, which is a fast improvisation between the tabla and the sitar, ending with a fast acceleration and climactic end. Farrell (2002) points out that as times change, gharanas adapt to keep up with society. For this reason the Maihar gharana is not a pure representation of the Senia gharana, and has its own features such as this three-part principle. Shankar is not a pure representation of the Maihar gharana as he developed his own style. Farrell (2002) speaks of how Shankar was influenced by South Indian music. Taking inspiration from South Indian rags, Shankar established the saval-javab (saval means question, and javab means answer) style of performance between the sitar and the tabla. This is heard as the two instruments swap complex rhythms back and forth. His transfigured style of the Maihar gharana would go on to influence Western music and continue evolving.In Sitars and bossas: World music influences P. van der Lee (1998) recalls that Ravi Shankar was touring Europe and the USA causing a stir of North Indian music in the West during the 1950s and 1960s. He would perform at concerts in Paris in 1958 and at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. The Beatles were one of the more popular bands in rock n roll at this time (the 1960s) and had achieved international success. Reck (1985) speaks of the term beatlemania, coined to describe the intense craze demonstrated by the fans of The Beatles in the 1960s. The Beatles had an influence on young people, as well as many musicians in the West. Ravi Shankar went on to have a positive influence on The Beatles. The 1960s was a good decade for him, due to his affiliation with the Beatles and consequent discovery of his music by the younger generation.In Beatles Orientalis: Influences from Asia in a Popular Song Tradition D.R. Reck (1985) discusses the great curiosity The Beatles developed towards eastern culture. While filming a movie, guitarist George Harrison found a sitar on set and took a liking to it. The sitar was not actually used in a song until Norwegian Wood. This was the first pop song to use a sitar, but its use was purely experimental. Its use was kept simple, similar to a lead guitar but with function of simply providing a nasal timbre. George Harrison had heard an album by Ravi Shankar, and developed a connection with Indian music. It is to no surprise that when the two later met, George showed great interest in learning the sitar, and Ravi Shankar accepted him as a sisya (disciple). Shankar travelled to Harrisons home to give him a few basic lessons. Indian Classical Music was slowly beginning to influence Western music. Reck (1985) describes the spiritual quest The Beatles went on through India in 1966 as highly influential. While exploring Indian culture, George Harrison also met with his guru Ravi Shankar for sitar lessons. This journey had a great impact on their music as their 1966 album Revolve would contain Love You To, the first legitimate attempt at imitating an Indian rag. According to Reflecting surfaces: The use of elements from Indian music in popular music and jazz G. Farrell (1988), compared to Norwegian Wood, Love You To is a much better representation of Indian Classical Music. Love You To begins with a free rhythm alap with a sitar and a tambura (a chordophone used to provide a drone in Classical Indian Music). The tabla establishes a four beat unit pulse in the gat. The song accelerates at the end and this is the jhalla. The display of the three-part influence shows the direct influence of Ravi Shankar, and hence Ustad Allauddin Khan, the founder of the Maihar gharana. This song is based on the Dorian mode, or the kafi that of North Indian music. Though only a novice with limited knowledge, this was a successful attempt on Harrisons part at condensing Indian Classical Music into a three minute pop song. Reck (1998) points out that this was often noted by George Harrison, who wasnt pretending to create authentic Indian music, but rather trying to represent the Indian culture in pop songs. The Beatles would make another piece influenced by Indian music in their song Within You Without You. This song was released a year later in 1967, and showed Harrisons growing interest and knowledge in Indian Classical Music. Farrell (1988) described its complexity. This song explored more tals (jhaptal: sixteen beats, and teental: ten beats) hence more complex meters than those of Love You To. It played with the concept of saval-javab, something that Love You To did not do. The instruments it included were a tambura, sitar, and tabla as in Love You To but also a dilruba (a bowed instrument), a sarangi (another bowed instrument), and a svarmandal (a plucked zither-like instrument). According to Reck (1998) it still was not Indian Classical Music. The original recording was over 30 minutes, and the final mix was simplified and Westernized down to a four minute pop song. Within You Without You was on their critically acclaimed album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released just prior to 1967s Summer of Love. The Summer of Love saw hippies across America come together in San Francisco, the center of the hippie revolution and counterculture. During the Summer of Love, the legendary Monterey Pop Festival took place and was where Ravi Shankar introduced the Western world to the sound of legitimate Indian Classical Music. Shankar performed the classical rag called Pancham se Gara at the Monterey Pop Festival, which prominently features the sitar. His performance was recorded and is available on the album Live at Monterey, where he performs with Allah Rakha on the tabla and Kala Chakravarty playing the tambura. The third piece on the album is called Dhun (Dadra and and Fast Teental) and is the piece that will be analyzed. Shankar introduces the piece, explaining it is the classical rag Pancham se Gara. Deepak Rajas world of Hindustani music explains that there are seven notes to an Indian musical scale and in ascending pitch are; Sa, Re (Ri in South Indian music), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. The tone of Sa is not associated to any pitch and can be moved depending on the scale. In the scale chosen, the Sa and Pa are fixed. Pancham se Gara, means a gara of pa, so rather than the base of the scale being sa, the scale of this rag is pa. The rest of the notes can be moved, and that is what decides the mode, known as that. Gara is a rag that is influenced from folk songs also known as thumri; instrumentals based on these folk songs are often called dhun, hence the title of the song, Dhun (Dadra and and Fast Teental). Gara belongs to a family of rags, and it is up to the musician to decide which that (mode) he or she will perform in. It often uses a mixture of many modes such as the piloo that, khamaj that, kafi that, barwa that, to name a few. The combination of many modes allows many melodies to be produced. A rag is a series of notes that produces a melody, and dhun means melody in Hindi. Shankar in the beginning of his performance explains that dadra and teental are forms of tal, and the meters in which this rag is performed. Simply the name of the song Dhun (Dadra and and Fast Teental) and Shankars introduction tell us a lot about the piece.Ravi Shankar stays true to the three-part principle of the Maihar gharana. The rag begins with an alap, which is played with free rhythm. The sitar then improvises at a slow tempo with a tambura providing a drone. They both demonstrate a buzzing timbre right from the beginning. In the alap, the sitar explores pitches and notes that will be later used in this rag. At this point, the piece demonstrates biphony. This fits the definition of biphony according to Turnbull (2011) as the tambura that provides a drone underneath, while the sitar plays an elaborate melody over it. The tabla uses a crescendo to slowly make its way into the piece and we have the moderate paced gat. Once the tabla enters, this piece demonstrates homophony, according to Turnbull (2011), with textures of the tabla and sitar playing different pitches with the same rhythm. The tabla helps develop a rhythm, settling into dadra (a tal), a meter of 6 beats divided into two parts of three beats. The melody is constructed around this tal, with ascending and descending phrases. There is often a crescendo as the melody ascends to higher pitches, and descends to lower pitches. The piece also often plays with terraced dynamics (Turnbull, 2011), suddenly playing dissonant notes a lot louder than the melody. The meter changes as the tempo picks up as the tabla settles into teental (a tal), a faster meter of 16 beats divided into 4s. Now the melody of the gat is around this tal. The piece continues to play with terraced dynamics, playing dissonant notes a lot louder. Ravi Shankar demonstrates his authentic saval-javab style between the sitar and the tabla as they exchange complex rhythms back and forth in an impressive contest. During this saval-javab, there is changing textures; with just the tabla and tambura playing then with just the sitar and tambura playing. The tempo continues to get faster almost as if it is a legitimate contest and the piece arrives at the jhalla. The piece begins accelerating to a climactic end and the tabla and sitar go from mimicking each other to playing together. The piece ends with much deserved applause.Ravi Shankar earned much praise for his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. The Beatles Within You Without You legitimized the sound of the sitar in rock. Bellman (1997) claims that Shankar undeniably influenced The Beatles who in turn influen...