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Learning about Hindustani music & playing on whistle
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Author:  cunparis [ Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:56 am ]
Post subject:  Learning about Hindustani music & playing on whistle

I really enjoy listening to "bollywood" music. I'm not very familiar with all the kinds of hindustani music and I'd like to learn more. I've spent 2 hours googling and reading posts here but still haven't really found answers to some of my questions.

I'm learning about ITM and how it's modal. This has been fascinating to me as my background was more in jazz/pop and its chord progressions. I learned that Indian music is modal too. So I was wondering if indian music can be played on a whistle? I imagine the Indian music could have more modes than could be played on a whistle, but maybe some subset of Indian tunes could be played on a whistle? I imagine the Bollywood type songs I like are more westernized but I really don't know the differences.

Are there any good books or websites where I could learn more about indian music? I really love the simple melodies and I'd like to learn some tunes and learn how to write some melodies in this style. I've heard it's quite complex.

I guess what I'm wondering - is there a book or website similar to "Celtic Back-Up"? I'm really enjoying that book.

Author:  cunparis [ Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning about Hindustani music & playing on whistle

I've spent countless hours researching this and I thought I'd share what I found in case anyone comes to this page in the future. Plus it allows me to collect my thoughts. I'm just learning so it's possible (probable) that I say something incorrect, if so, please forgive me.

Bollywood type music: Has nice melodies like hindustani but has chord progressions and harmony like Western music.

Hindustani Classical Music:

Is based on scales (modes) and the music is improvised. Performances can last up to 1 hour just improvising on the scale. there are no chords. The melody is sung or played on a melody instrument such as the bansuri flute (or harmonium or sitar). The bansuri is very similar to the whistle. It has the same fingerings. The Indian scale starts on Sa which would be a G on a D flute/whistle. So they call the flute a 'G' where we call it a D. Bansuri is in just intonation so some notes sound a bit different but I haven't found the difference to be huge except maybe on C#. I'm debating if I want to purchase a bansuri or just play the whistle. One world trading has good bansuris, one in the key of D is about $125. A cheapie that may not be as well in tune, is around $60. The accompaniment is with a drone, the tampura and tabla. There are 74 main ragas (modes/scales) that are played. I'm starting with Raga Yaman which is often used for beginners.

I had to learn the Indian solfege system and that came pretty easy just associating each note with a note on the whistle. "Sa" is the tonic (like Do) and is the "G" note on the whistle (on a D whistle).

Next I started learning to play along with a recording I found at this website. It's the best I've found. He covers the scale, ornaments, and then gives the music for two raga compositions. He plays on a key of Low B flute, which is the common key for this music but the flutes are huge (like playing a Low B whistle). so I pitch adjust the mp3's 1 pitch lower to Bb and I play it on my Bb whistle. Or one could pitch adjust it up 3 semitones to play it on D.

http://www.flutebansuri.com/ragas/yaman

So that's where I'm at. I find it fun and peaceful, very meditative. This is totally different than ITM so for me it's just for a change. I still play ITM more though.

Author:  MTGuru [ Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning about Hindustani music & playing on whistle

When you're done with this you can take up Arabic maqams, which correspond (conceptually) to Indian ragas. There must be lots of Arabic/Maghreb music sources around Paris.

There's no end to it, is there? :twisted:

Author:  cunparis [ Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning about Hindustani music & playing on whistle

MTGuru wrote:
When you're done with this you can take up Arabic maqams, which correspond (conceptually) to Indian ragas. There must be lots of Arabic/Maghreb music sources around Paris.

There's no end to it, is there? :twisted:


I think after hindustani classical I'd like to study bollywood and try to learn how the classical has been mixed with western music. I really dislike the US/French "top 40" type music, but I really like bollywood music. The simple & catchy melodies, rhythms and vocals are really intriguing. This may require studying indian folk music I'm not sure. The difficulty with studying Indian music is that it's a bit more complex (tabla rhythms for example) and there is a vocabulary challenge as well.

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