Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar

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Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar

For Abhi!! a musical article.

ms04 Senior Member
ms04
ms04

Joined: 19 December 2005
Posts: 338

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 7:40pm | IP Logged

Hey abhi....welcome back to the group.

I had started a thread on sajjad husaain but it got lost in all the "who's the cutest" threads. Now I would like to share excerpt from an article by a music professor in USA.....about gender politics in indian classical music. It mentions lata...although in a lil' blasphemous way. Definitely a good read for enthusiasts...

-----------------------------------------excerpt starts.

At TTS segregation in the chapel may have simply been a holdover from typical church practice, as male and female students easily mixed in class and around campus. Furthermore, according to a former principal, "When they admitted women in 1972, responsible freedom and equal respect had to be emphasized. They were going to be ministers in the church soon where they will be mingling with persons of the other sex during their ministry."However, urban church practices in the determination of gendered vocal range and a preference for an urban middle-class female aesthetic influenced by Tamil (Bollywood-style) film music seem to have been the overarching factors that determined performance practice and aesthetics in this seminary context.

In the performance context of TTS I concluded that women are compelled to sing high because they practice Christian karnatak music, in which men and women sing in octave unison. These songs rarely include harmonization and often cover a range of close to two octaves. In daily chapel service, inevitably a men's sruti of either C or D was chosen by the male harmonium player as the fundamental for the entire group, with men starting at C1 and the women at c2 .
 While there are no designated fundamental pitches assigned to the tamir isai var3i-pamt.t.u or kimrttanai repertoire, I observed that male instrumentalists habitually choose the pitch of C or D. These were easiest for them to both sing and play, as few had formal training in keyboard theory or transposition. Thus women's range was pushed up from F1 to begin at c2 (middle C) and stretch to g3 (or higher), an octave and a half above. This range is not difficult for a Western-trained soprano, but most of these women were neither. While a few women were able to comfortably reach these higher pitches, my observations showed that for the majority the musical result was a strained, thin, often squeaking female timbre, very typical of Indian film music since the late 1940s. While my assumption was that these women were constrained by this male vocal hegemony (as that was how I experienced it singing with them), I would find that many in this context preferred and strove to sing high with a nasal timbre. The question I will address below is, "Did they prefer this aesthetic (whether or not they could produce it) specifically as a construction of modern sophisticated Indian femininity?"

In the Bollywood film music context, as encoded by the famous shrill falsetto voice of Lata Mangeshkar, this sound marks a quintessentially docile, pure, virginal female.Peter Manuel, citing a 1990 interview with Anil Biswas, says: "Lata's distinctive, girlish voice has become one of the most characteristic features of Indian popular music and film culture in general. Anil Biswas claims that although never enamored of her voice, he and other composers eagerly relied on her from the 1940s on because she was the only professional singer on the Bombay commercial scene who could learn songs so easily." While Lata's style quickly became dominant throughout the industry, Manuel also notes that this "shrill falsetto vocal style is difficult to find in North Indian folk music" and that "the uniformity of film music's vocal style contrasts markedly with the stylistic variety found in North India."  I have also found that neither in South Indian karnatak music nor in folk music do women sing using as high a keynote. Indeed, at almost all of the services and events I observed in villages poor rural women would lead the congregation a cappella and use a lower (alto range) keynote. Anne Schultz, who researches Hindu kirtan (congregational religious music), said that when men and women sing together in a Hindu congregational setting the sruti of the entire group is determined by the leader. Either they use the leader's sruti or the leader decides which sruti will work best for the entire congregation. Furthermore, many women who lead these kirtan sessions employ a classical female sruti.

The cultural factor that may have led to the production, widespread acceptance, and imitation of Lata Mangeshkar's voice was the Victorian colonial construction of a proper (desexualized) domesticated femininity on middle-class and upwardly mobile Indians. While many theater actresses and classical female singers came from the Devadasi or Tawaif courtesan communities, in order to gain opportunities to perform in films in the early twentieth century these women needed to distance themselves socially and musically from the sexualized meaning of the deep, chesty, and rough female timbre with which they were associated.Other factors that may have led to the sonic possibility of using a thinner, less resonant timbre include the shift in the 1940s from the use of actors who sang at a distance from microphones embedded in sets to the use of backup singers who were allowed to croon into studio microphones without worrying about projection.Thus since the middle of the twentieth century a monolithic high-pitched thin female vocal style has become commercially codified and transmitted throughout India, marking a modern urban yet virginal and domesticated femininity.

==============================

Mukesh

soulsoup IF-Dazzler
soulsoup
soulsoup

Joined: 20 January 2006
Posts: 3489

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 7:52pm | IP Logged
ms04 - it's only for Abhi? None other are qualified to comment? Confused j/k LOL
Thanks for the article. Although I believe it's a little over analysis - but obviously thought provoking.

The opposite syndrome happened in Bengal - when Rabindrasangeet dominated the era (still is) - people find is much easier to accept voice with deep base and high keynote compatible singers.   
soulsoup IF-Dazzler
soulsoup
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Posts: 3489

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 7:55pm | IP Logged

Aaap apna gussse ko kabu me rakhiye please. Wink

Yes the article is quite preposterous. Problem happens when we try to over-analyze something.



Originally posted by adwarakanath

Thanks mso4ji.

Thanks for the.......article.

May I know who is he? Angry

LATA AND SHRILL AND FALSETTO? Angry

How dare he? Angry

Does the idiot even know what the Devdasi sect is? Angry

I could write a whole article on Devdasis from what my mom has told me.

Total BS, this fellow Angry
ms04 Senior Member
ms04
ms04

Joined: 19 December 2005
Posts: 338

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 7:58pm | IP Logged
actually this is the person's intro. Seems qualified enough.
Even though we may not agree with her..but its a totally different perspective. The whole article made me think...and am still thinking. come to think of it...every single female singer has tried that shril voice. which we dont find girls speaking in...def not todays heroines..:)

to soulsoupji...this article is for every enthusiast..and that definition would be incomplete without you.


========================================
Zoe C. Sherinian is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Oklahoma. She specializes in the music of India, indigenization theory, gender theory in music, and African American music. Her publications include "Dalit Theology in Tamil Christian Folk Music: A Transformative Liturgy of James Theophilus Appavoo," in Popular Christianity in India: Riting Between the Lines, edited by Corinne Dempsey and Selva Raj, with an introduction by Wendy Doniger (SUNY Press, 2002). She has also published on gender theory and the music of k. d. lang in volume 3, The United States and Canada, and on Tamil Christian Music in volume 5, South Asia, of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Her article entitled "The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Transculturation and Transformation" will be published in World of Music 47, no. 1 (2005). She is currently writing a book entitled The Subaltern Sing: Tamil Folk Music as Liberation Theology. Sherinian taught previously at Franklin and Marshall College, Tufts University, Oberlin College, and Wesleyan University. She is a percussionist who specializes in jazz drumset and the South Indian mrdangam and does workshops on rhythmic theory and the art of speaking drum syllables (solkattu).
T_fari Goldie
T_fari
T_fari

Joined: 24 February 2006
Posts: 1264

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 8:00pm | IP Logged
WHO IS ABHI?? Shocked
soulsoup IF-Dazzler
soulsoup
soulsoup

Joined: 20 January 2006
Posts: 3489

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 8:06pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by adwarakanath


They're totally ulta. Male singers sing high that will make a woman blush. Confused

 
 LOL
 Yo man - add some bling bling to that - you get ...you know what I mean Wink
 
soulsoup IF-Dazzler
soulsoup
soulsoup

Joined: 20 January 2006
Posts: 3489

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 8:08pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by ms04

actually this is the person's intro. Seems qualified enough.
Even though we may not agree with her..but its a totally different perspective. The whole article made me think...and am still thinking. come to think of it...every single female singer has tried that shril voice. which we dont find girls speaking in...def not todays heroines..:)

to soulsoupji...this article is for every enthusiast..and that definition would be incomplete without you.


========================================
Zoe C. Sherinian is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Oklahoma. She specializes in the music of India, indigenization theory, gender theory in music, and African American music. Her publications include "Dalit Theology in Tamil Christian Folk Music: A Transformative Liturgy of James Theophilus Appavoo," in Popular Christianity in India: Riting Between the Lines, edited by Corinne Dempsey and Selva Raj, with an introduction by Wendy Doniger (SUNY Press, 2002). She has also published on gender theory and the music of k. d. lang in volume 3, The United States and Canada, and on Tamil Christian Music in volume 5, South Asia, of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Her article entitled "The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Transculturation and Transformation" will be published in World of Music 47, no. 1 (2005). She is currently writing a book entitled The Subaltern Sing: Tamil Folk Music as Liberation Theology. Sherinian taught previously at Franklin and Marshall College, Tufts University, Oberlin College, and Wesleyan University. She is a percussionist who specializes in jazz drumset and the South Indian mrdangam and does workshops on rhythmic theory and the art of speaking drum syllables (solkattu).



I think she read too much - Gana sunneka waqt jada nehi mila.
LOLLOL


ms04 Senior Member
ms04
ms04

Joined: 19 December 2005
Posts: 338

Posted: 14 March 2006 at 8:15pm | IP Logged
Soulsoupji...LOLLOLLOL

Dont be mad at me...guys..
I am with you....but its also a  perspective westerners look at india with...
For us she is a true form of sarswati....for some just a shrill singer.
or is it we ( and our grandfathers too probabaly) have never heard a female voice which is not shrilll.........WinkWink

You know like matrix....we dont even know that world exists outside that..TongueTongue

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