These terminologies cannot be understood theoretically. Anyone who has a good voice will not be able to sing without proper training. Rigorous training and practice makes a voice cultured. A trained and cultured voice can only fulfill the demand of a particular song. For better understanding see the examples …
Long note practice producing a perfect pitch with Dynamics, Modulation, Andolan, Nyaas, Meed, Gamak, three octave practice, Taan, pronunciation of vowels and consonants etc are essentials in training and culturing the voice of a vocalist.
In Western music, vocalists are trained and cultured to use their voice as an instrument (bass, tenor, soprano, alto, etc.). But Indian vocalists sing with their natural voice. So voice training and voice culture play a pivotal role to become a successful, respectable vocalist.
Some time-cycles have been made traditionally, with definite number of equidistant beats, having definite Chhandas. Those time-cycles are called Focal. This cyclic timing is called Taala, which is only available in Indian music. The first beat, and the expectation to come to that again and again is called Sam (सम्). Taala starts from “Sam” and ends at “Sam”, as melodywise the Ragas start with Saa and end with Saa. So, Sam is the guardian of the entire Taala system. We have a clear conception of Taala, we need to distribute the cycle into 2/3/4/5 parts. We remember, the first beat of each part with a clap (तालि) or a soundless action (खालि). When these parts are equidistant, they are called Samapadi Taala, and when not, they called Visampadi Taala. These Taalas are played on Tabla, Pakhwaj, Mridangam, and other percussion instruments.
In a particular laya, disciplined and regular accent makes rhythmic variety, which is called Chhanda. In music Chhanda is created and conceived by the musicians. Chhanda always brings a feeling of joy to any human mind.
When the time distance between two beats is maintained through consecutive beats continuously, the Laya is determined. The time distance and the laya, are inversely proportionate
In music, there are twelve notes. But in Indian music, in addition to these swaras, we use other intermediate frequencies or positions in an octave, which are considered as “Shruti”. Commonly any audible and melodic frequencies are called “Naad”. Among those innumerable Naads, twenty two definite frequencies have been chosen by ancient musicologists and musicians. Particularly Saa and Paa have their frequencies fixed. In Shrutinandan concept remaining ten other notes in an octave have got one lower position (अतिकोमल) and one higher position (तीब). And it is very easily understandable for a student. So (10X2 =20)+2 (Sa & Pa), make 22 Shrutis. The correct positions of Shrutis are not available in any fixed key instruments. One can learn the use of them only from a learned Guru.
For details please visit: http://www.22shruti.com
Indian Music is comprised of two types of compositions – Bandish and Geet. Bandish is pure Raga musical composition which is also a song, always projecting the details of a Raga and not the feeling and expression of the lyric only. However, to enhance the lyrical expression, some be-fitting melodic forms may be composed. When these melodic forms are projected in a tuneful and trained voice, we call it a Geet (गीत/गान). It can be sung exactly in same way the composer composed it. Even it may be improvised according to the need of the song. But we will have to keep in mind that uneducated and thoughtless improvisation kills the song. In a song, the sole aim lies in expressing the lyrical value, not the melodic excellence or the excellence of the voice.
Meaningfully produced Swar is Sur. To bring out this meaning of the swar, one has to connect his mind and heart with the physically produced swar. The beauty of music lies in sur, not in swar. Swar produced for a longer time (8-16 seconds), can also be considered as sur, if it is produced with full concentration adding thoughtful application of dynamics and modulation.
Taan is an essential element of Raga Music in general, and Khyal in particular. Basically any movement is Taan, but specifically, when we move around purposefully in a faster speed according to the structure of the Raga, within a necessary time cycle, the movement is called Taan. When we move around, pronouncing the swaras, we call it Sargam Taan, and the same movement with the vowel “aa”, with openness of voice, it is called Aakar Taan. Taans with words of the bandish is called Bol Taan. Taan, when sung with different vowels, an added pressure on each swaras with excellent use of breathing is needed to make them distinctly visible, and its relation with Taal and Chhanda clearly understandable. This emphasis on each swaras is called Dana (द।ना). Besides, the above mentioned types of Taan, many others can be conceived. Some of the varieties are – 1) Sapaat, 2) Samvad Based, 3) Chhanda projecting Taans like Sawai (very fast), Baat etc.
If a Meend is repeatedly played or sung in faster tempo between two adjacent notes, with proper dynamics in deeper voice, then it is called “Gamak”. It can be produced in instrumental music also.
Sliding or gliding movement from one swara to another swara in curve line, with dynamics and modulation, with a vision of the intermediate swaras used is called “Meend”. Meend is not sung or played in a very fast tempo. All straight lines and angles are created by human being whereas curved lines are nature’s creation. As Indian Music is created by nature, the existence of Meed is very obvious.
Aandolan is a subject to understand in respect of Raga. Life is a perfect combination of tension and relaxation. Without tension, the word relaxation loses its meaning. Both continuous tension or continuous rest can kill ourselves. Musically, the oscillating position within a limited space of a particular swara is called, “Aandolan” and it implies that a resting position what we call “Nyas”, is coming just after that.
Our body requires 1/3rd of a day to be in rest, so that it can function properly in the rest 2/3rd of the day. Similarly a Raga musical presentation should have 1/3rd of it’s total duration in Rest or Nyas to make it more effective in projecting the ‘Vaad-Samvaad’ relationship. All other forms of indian Music have this unique provision of Nyas which, is rarely found in any other form of music found across the globe. Indian Raga Musical Nyas are performed with more concentration and peace.
In Indian music, we have four basic notes Sa, Re, Ga, Ma; Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa are their complementary notes. The position between Sa to Ma and their intermediate positions of different frequencies are exactly overlapping to that of Pa to Sa. The sharp Ma, is placed right in the middle, to join both the parts. If the sentiment of a particular Raga is expressed best, in the lower octave, or up to the middle octave Ma, we call the Raga Purbanga baadi. Similarly, if the beauty of a Raga is bloomed in the second and higher part of the octave Uttarang, we call the Ragas as Uttaranga baadi Ragas. For example, Ragas like Darbari, Yaman, Todi, Bhairav, Miyan Ki Malhar, etc. are Purbanga baadi Raagas. And Ragas like Shankara, Sohini, Adana, Jaunpuri, Bahar, Vasant, Surmalhar, Hindol, etc. are Uttaranga baadi Ragas.
Raga is a soundscape with different colours, shades, moods and fragrance, keeping the protocols of tradition. Ragas seem to be living for their different kinds of movement. Ragas are a family of musical notes. The members can be from 3 to 12 in numbers. The tonic, the mother of the scale, i.e. Saa, and its harmonic positions (ब।द – संब।द) must have to be there. Some times Vaad-Sambaad (ब।द – संब।द) relationship may be established between Ma –Sa, Ga – Ni, Re – Dha, Dha – Ga, Ni and teevra Maa, etc. This Vaad-Sambaad (ब।द – संब।द) relationship between the above – mentioned swaras gets almost the equal importance to that of Sa – Pa or Ma – Sa Sambaad (सम्ब।द).
A traditional Raaga must have at least five notes, and must be performed by at least four/five well known musicians of different styles. Two consecutive Swaras (musical notes) cannot be omitted simultaneously. As a living human being, one has to take rest almost one third or one fourth of a day. Similarly in a presentation of a Raaga, it is expected that at least one fourth of the total performance time, should be given to project Vaad-Sambaad (ब।द – सम्ब।द) as the resting points. Resting points in a Raga which brings a sense of completeness are called Nyas. Comparatively less important resting points are called Apanyaas. The way, we move, in Raga to bring out the beauty, the colour, the essence, are called, Aarohee, Avrohee, Chalan of the Raga. The first précised but complete introductory Chalan is called Aaochar in Khyal singing. The elaborated depiction of the Raga is called Aalaap in Dhrupad singing. The lyric, traditional or newly composed, which brings out the details and uniqueness of the Raga, composed in a definite time cycle (Taala) is called a Bandish (वंदीश). So Bandish is the home of a Raga. Knowing maximum number of Bandishes in different Taalas, gives a much clear picture of the Raga. The word Bandish is applicable only in a Raga presentation, be it Dhrupad, Khyal or Thumri. In a Bandish of a Raga, mostly in Dhrupad, there are four parts – Sthaayee, Antaraa, Sanchari and Aabhog. But in Khyal and Thumri singing, we find mostly two parts in a Bandish (Sthayee & Antaraa). In Shrutinandan concept, to conceive the completeness of the Raga, the Raga – Bhav is also distributed in four dimensions, which can also be summoned as Sthayee, Antaraa, Sanchari & Abhog. Sthayee is the face of Raga, while Antaraa brings out the beauty of the Raga in upper octave. Sanchari is the inner feeling of the Raga, while Aabhog is the summing up and the concluding part of the Raga. The traditional and old Bandishes, which are well researched, sung and developed by the great maestros, become more effective. The lyrical value in the Khyal Bandishes is found seldom. But the Bandishes of Dhrupads are written by great scholars and musicians. As Thumri portrays the common sentiments of human beings, and different aspects of day to day life, they need neither the high philosophical value of the lyric nor the purity of the Raga.
Ragas are not dependent on Swaras, Aarohee, Avrohee, Jaati, Thaat (scales), etc. The most important characteristic to understand the Raga is some definite combinations of swaras in different tempo or Laya, which is called phrases. 5/6 or maximum 7 phrases, if correctly presented, can bring out the whole beauty of a Raga. The starting swara of each phrase is called Graha, the last resting point of that particular phrase is Nyas and the other notes are Angsha Swaras.
(Kan / Sparsha)
In any form of human relationship, a physical touch can express a lot of unspoken feelings and intimacy. In a Raga, which is a family of three to twelve members of swaras, it becomes very necessary to use touch or sparsha swaras to express the personality of the swaras and their relationship to establish the essence and ultimate beauty of the Raga. The sign of any living being is their movement. The swaras in Raga become living, only by successful use of sparsha swar as Kan. Only an educated Guru with deep realization, can express the meanings of touch, both in life and music of his disciples. Sometimes, some swaras, which are not at all used, in a Raga, can be used subtly as sparsha swaras, in that particular Raga to bring out the beauty. A master musician can only use them properly. It comes after many years of practice and realization.
The particular frequency of a fixed and internationally standardised keyboard instrument or the frequency from where we sing or play, is our Pitch. The name of the twelve pitches are – C, C#, D, D# E, F, G, G#, A, A#, B, and then back to C.
From C to upper C is the chromatic Scale. For making music, the scale may differ. Generally we have septatonic, hexatonic and pentatonic scales and it is from their combination we get what we call jaati in Indian Raga Music. For some exceptional cases, scales may vary from three to twelve notes. The term ‘Pitch’ from where we sing or play is often misunderstood as scales. We all know, in India there are two parallel streams of raga music – Carnatic and Hindustani. In Carnatic style, there are 72 basic scales and in Hindustani style there are 10 basic scales. But Shrutinandan concept does not justify this 10-scales system for learning and understanding Raga music.
In our lives, we move in four different manners. Firstly through the eternal time we move even by not moving physically, secondly we move in the forward direction, and thirdly we come back, and lastly we move in all other different directions. In music, we call it 1) Sthayee, 2) Aarohee, 3) Avrohee, 4) Sancharee. Without these four movements music cannot be conceived. We call these four movements as Varna.
Generally, any sound produced by the vocal chord is Swar. But a measurable frequency produced for a considerable time of 1 to 2 seconds from human voice is only called musical swar. There are altogether twelve Swaras.However, it needs a lot of practice to know the exact positions of the swaras. To produce the correct positions of the swaras in Indian music, one has to practice with full concentrated mind and heart rigorously with the Taanpura only. The overtones of taanpura complement the exact positions of all the twelve swaras of Indian Raga Music, and thus they are different from the swaras produced by the key-board or the harmonium, although, in the beginning harmonium helps to identify the 12 frequencies (swaras).
Octave means eight notes – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni & upper Sa. Saptak means seven notes – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni. In the term ‘Octave’ there is a sense of more completeness, because when any ‘Sa’ is merged into its ‘upper Sa’, a cycle becomes complete, keeping the axis intact. That is why the frequency of any Sa is just double to the frequency of its previous Sa. The eight notes as mentioned before, are called pure notes. In an octave Sa & its fifth note Pa are fixed, i.e. non-variable. Among the other notes, Re, Ga, Dha & Ni have their flattened (Komal) positions and Ma has its sharp (Teevra) position. So the total numbers of musical notes in an Octave are twelve. The birthplace of all the music created in this world are these twelve notes.
Sa or Shadja is a musical note from which the other basic notes like Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni – take birth or can be conceived. So Sa is the first note of any octave which can be compared to the Western ‘Do’. For people in the West, it is easy to conceive Sa as the tonic or the keynote. Indian music of any genre is fully dependent on Sa. Sa varies according to the health or voice of the vocalist or the quality of the instruments. For the convenience of musical interaction between east and west, A-440 Pitch has been standardized all over the world. If we think about three octaves, namely the upper, middle and lower, normally the first Sa is of middle octave.
In Indian spiritualization we believe that the Almighty is the Creator, and his divinity is expressed to us by our Guru. Similarly Sa as our Guru, shows the light to conceive Indian music in general and Raga music in particular. The first day of learning music starts with Sa. In Indian art music or Raga music, the basic or main instrument Taanpura produces the ambience of the Sa in a pure form. It is scientifically proved, that among all the instruments of the world, Taanpura produces maximum number of overtones.
On 20th & 21st January, Guruji’s birthday celebration was concluded by a two-day long concert held at Rabindra Sadan , Kolkata. Guruji’s son Ananjan, who is the dynamic and talented young sound engineer, gifted his father and Guru his first ever album “ Sur Pabaah”, all conceived by him. This album is a compilation of songs penned down and composed by the artistes who have sung in this album.
Guruji started the “Tuesday concert”, which is held in the Jnan Prakash Ghosh Sanctorium, Shrutinandan. As the name suggests, a concert is held once a month, on a Tuesday, where young and promising disciples of Shrutinandan perform and showcase their talents. Besides them , few young scholars of ITC Sangeet Research Academy have also performed, and this concert is unique in it’s own sense, as students witness the concerts every month and are inspired to hone their musical ability.
Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna , the renowned Carnatic musician, with whom Guruji has had a long-time association, became the President of Shrutinandan.
Shrutinandan completed it’s 10th year and a concert was held, this time again in Netaji Indoor Stadium. This two-day long concert was held in 30th and 31st December, where the students of Shrutinandan, Kaushiki Chakraborty, and other distinguished musicians like Ustad Zakir Hussain , Shri Ravindra Jain and many others projected it’s magnanimity by means of their prowess.
Guruji conducted a television show entitled “Gaaner Alo”, which was aired in Aakash Bangla channel. This program, directed by Gautam Halder ,in the hall of Shrutinandan which is named after Guru Jnan Prakash Ghosh, showcased Guruji with a few handpicked and talented students of Shrutinandan, along with a much matured and musically experienced Kaushiki in few of the episodes.
Shrutinandan celebrated Guruji’s 50th birthday, in Rabindra Sadan , Kolkata which was a remarkable incident, since Guru Jnan Prakash Ghosh’s statue was unveiled in this event. Legendaries like Ali Akbar Khan Sahib , Pandit Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Late Shri Manna Dey came to the concert held by Shrutinandan.
Shrutinandan, the Music Kingdom, got it’s physical existence. This is an important phase of Guruji’s journey, as he could turn his dream into a reality, with all the help and support from others. Being a Guru of ITC Sangeet Research Academy(SRA), he always wanted to create a ‘bridge’ between the aspiring musicians, who wanted to be a part of ITC SRA. Shrutinandan is that brigde, where talented young children are nurtured and can go to the next level of learning- ITC SRA. On 20th July, 1997, Shrutinandan’s inaugural event was held at Guru Jnan Prakash Sanctorium, Shrutinandan, Kolkata. The journey of Shrutinandan thus began, with 850 such young talents………
Shrutinandan, which was conceived as a concept and philosophy of not only music, but life, was realized as a dream.
“Shaheb theke Babushaheb”, an album was released this year celebrating 300 years of Kolkata (then Calcutta).
Kaushiki’s album under the title “Ami Pheriwala” was released, after she returned from her first US tour with her father, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty. The US tour, was nothing short of a family trip, as his wife Smt. Chandana Chakrabaorty, his brother Sanjay Chakraborty, Pandit Samar Saha Pandit, and his daughter Kaushiki, accompanied Ajoy Chakraborty on his tour.
Guruji conducted a television show named ‘Gaan Shekhar Ashor’, which was aired on Dooradarshan. He used to teach young children and this show also featured his daughter Kaushiki, then a young kid of 5-6 years. This show was very popular and was a favourite of world renowned film maker Shri Satyajit Ray as well.
Performed in “Festival of India”, in America. There he performed a duet with Dr. M. Balamuralikrishnaji, which also showcased all eminent musicians from India. The same year saw Pandit Chakraborty perform solo in Kalamandir(7th April), in front of legends like Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb’s wife, Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh with his wife Smt. Lalita Ghosh and the like. This programme was organized by Shree Pradip Chatterjee, one of his earliest disciples.
First Tour in Pakistan. Nawab Farad Saeed Khaan, the Administrator of SRA took active part in it. Hamir Haloun of Harold Publication organized the programme. It was a memorable programme as it continued for 10 days, and Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty had to perform for 10 hours (9p.m. to 7a.m, the next day) at a stretch. Later, a record of this magnanimous 10-day programme was released under the title of “Live in Pakistan” (in 5 volumes).
First record (Nana Ranger Gaan) came out from HMV, where he sang his Guruji, Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh’s nine compositions in Bengali lyrics, penned by Pandit Ghosh himself. Met legends like the Late Manna Dey and the Late Radhakanta Nandi this year, with the latter accompanying him in ‘Nana Ranger Gaan’. Had performed in television’s National programme, where he offered his rendition of Raaga Desh. It was on Chhaya Ganguly, former Head of Transcription & Programme Exchange Service of All India Radio, who had expressed her wish to record his songs for popular television shows like ‘Sangeet Sarita’ et al. This year was perhaps much more special for Pt. Chakraborty, as he went to his first tour abroad (read America), with Pandit Vijay Kichlu ji. It was in Los Angeles, where he shared the same stage with maestros like Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma ji, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia ji, Pandit AT Kanan Saheb, Smt. Malavika Kanan, Pandit Vijay Kichlu ji. This onwards, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty’s musical genius had carved a niche in the minds and hearts of the American and European audiences.
Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty and Smt. Chandana Chakraborty’s first child, Kaushiki Chakraborty, the renowned female classical vocalist who is the torchbearer of ‘Shrutinandan’ concept, was born.
Sang in Young Talent Music Conference in Kolkata, for the first time. It was organized by Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta, Dr. Shakti Chattopadhyay and the like. He was noticed by Pandit Vijay Kichlu ji this year, and after hearing him perform in Pandit A.T. Kanan’s house, the September of 1978 saw Pt. Chakraborty becoming a scholar of Sangeet Research Academy.
Recorded for Ramacharitamanas, along with stalwarts like Pt. Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Lalita Ghosh,Smt. Shipra Bose, Shree Jatileswar Mukherjee, and not to forget Smt. Chandana Chakrabarty(then Bose).
Got admitted to Master’s (Batch of ’75) and it was in this year when he met his wife, Smt. Chandana Chakraborty, for the first time.
He passed Higher Secondary and had opted to study Physics(hons.) from Kharda Rahara Ramkrishna Mission, when as per the suggestion of Pt. Ghosh, chose to get admitted in Rabindra Bharati University.
Eventually, he was guided by Late Shri Samanta’s guru, the Late Shri Kanaidas Bairagi one a half years later onwards. In the meantime he was singing regularly in his father’s ‘Kali Kirtana’ group and was continuing with his recitation as well. It was during this phase, that he was highly eulogized by eminent theatre personalities like Shishir Kumar Bhaduri, and Ahindra Choudhury for reciting the famous poem ‘Note Boi’ by the famous Bengali poet Shri Sukumar Roy, and was coincidentally declared ‘second’ in both the different competitions judged by them. But he quit recitation to learn only music as he reached twelve.
When he was a five year old boy, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty started taking music lessons from the Late Shri Pannalal Samanta.
It was his proficiency in acting that fetched Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty his first award for the best actor, when he was only four and a half years old, which he received from ‘Jatra Samrat’ Brajendra Kumar Dey. He continued acting in plays even after that.
As a kid of four years, he started performing (read acting) in theatrical plays, and acted in plays like ‘Kalapahar’, ‘Raj Sannyasi’ et al.
His father, Late Shri Ajit Chakrabarty witnessed a prodigy in him even before he could talk. Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty started imparting lessons of music, bit by bit, to his son when he was just a two- year old toddler.