De tambura

Tambura_sculpture_Arun

Het belangrijkste begeleidingsinstrument van India – ook bekend als tanpura – sierde de salons van vorsten, kooplieden en courtisanes lang voordat het ruim een eeuw geleden zijn intocht deed in het openbare concertleven. Zijn huidige vorm, meestal met vier snaren, is sinds de zeventiende eeuw bekend. Het verenigt in zich kenmerken van de Indiase citer (vina of bin) met die van de langhals-luit. Van gelijkvormige instrumenten uit aangrenzende regio’s onderscheidt het zich zowel door haar functie als door de wijze van bespelen: waarschijnlijk al vanaf de dertiende eeuw gebruiken Indiase musici namelijk de grondtoon ‘Sa’. Deze wordt vrij gekozen overeenkomstig de stem van de zanger of het stemregister van het solo-instrument. Als steuntoon (bourdon) vormt hij het uitgangspunt voor melodische vormen, die men als raga (kleurschakering) aanduidt. Een rijke schat van zeer uiteenlopende raga’s maakt het zowel componisten als musici mogelijk elke denkbare stemming (rasa) uit de drukken

Tekst: Ludwig Pesch | Vertaling: Mieke Beumer | Art: V.C. Arun

Luister naar de klank van de tambura; hier bespeeld door Ludwig Pesch

Foto van het instrument waarmee dit geluidsfragment is opgenomen

Tanjore-style Carnatic tambura.JPG
Foto: Martin spaink

The tambura (tanpura)

Tambura_sculpture_Arun

Text: Ludwig Pesch | Art: Arun V.C.

The tambura – also known as tanpura – has long served as India’s most important accompaniment. It accompanies vocal and instrumental performers as well as dance musicians. It has embellished the salons of nobles, merchants and courtisans long before its arrival on the modern concert stage.

Its present form with four strings has been known since the 17th century. It combines the properties of two types of instruments, namely the ancient zither (veena or been) and the present long-necked lute (Sarasvati veena, sitar). Its function and manner of playing distinguishes the tambura from similar instruments used in neighbouring countries. This is because Indian musicians have used a fundamental note since about the 13th century.

Hundreds of melody types – known as raga (lit.’colours’) – have since been created, rediscovered and analysed. They all arise from a fundamental note, known as ‘sadja’, which is articulated as ‘Sa’ during a lesson or vocal performance.

The fundamental note is continuously sounded as the tambura’s ‘supporting’ or ‘base’ note (the bourdon or drone of western music). It is freely chosen in accordance with the vocal or instrumental range of the main performer.

With these basic elements composers, musicians and dancers are able to evoke any conceivable mood or aesthetic experience (rasa). This requires no more than a few additional notes, usually arranged in a particular sequence by which they are readily recognised by discerning listeners. The notes heard in any given raga are drawn from among the proverbial ‘seven notes’ (saptasvara). A competent musician also knows which notes need to be modified by means of embellishments (gamaka) and subtle shades achieved by intonation (sruti).

Listen to the tambura played by Ludwig Pesch

Photo of the instrument heard in the present music example

Tanjore-style Carnatic tambura.JPG
Photo: Martin spaink

Die Tambura

Tambura_sculpture_Arun

Text: Ludwig Pesch | Art: V.C. Arun

Das wichtigste Begleitinstrument Indiens zierte die Salons von Fürsten, Kaufleuten und Kurtisanen. Seit dem frühen 20. Jahrhundert beflügelt der Klangreichtum gerade dieses Instruments die Fantasie eines neu entstehenden Konzertpublikums. Seither ist die aktive Teilnahme von Rasika genannten Musikliebhabern nicht mehr aus dem Musikleben Indiens wegzudenken.

Die Tambura (Tānpūra in Nordindien) hat meist vier Saiten. Ihre heutige Form ist seit dem 17. Jahrhundert bekannt und vereinigt Merkmale der indischen Zither (Vīnā oder Bīn) mit denen der Langhalslaute.

Von ähnlichen Instrumenten benachbarter Regionen (Tanbur) unterscheidet es sich sowohl durch seine Funktion als durch seine Spielweise. Spätestens seit dem 13. Jahrhundert bedienen indische Musiker sich nämlich eines Grundtons “Sa”, den sie – je nach Stimmlage oder Soloinstrument – frei wählen können.

Als Halteton (Bordun) bildet “Sa” den Ausgangspunkt für melodische Gestalten, die man mit “Färbung des Geistes” (Rāga), also Gefühlsausdruck, bezeichnet. Ein reicher Fundus recht unterschiedlicher Ragas ermöglicht es, jede nur denkbare Stimmung (Rasa) auszudrücken. 

Auf dieser scheinbar einfachen Grundlage entwickelten sich 72 Tonleitern als Orientierung für Komponisten, Musiker und Tänzer. Zudem schafft die Tambura ein geeignetes Umfeld, in dem der musikalische und poetische Ausdruck vieler Epochen und Kulturen zu einem Ganzen zusammenwachsen – und doch immer persönlich – bleiben konnte.

Hörbeispiel: Tambura gespielt von Ludwig Pesch

Foto des Instruments im Hörbeispiel

Tanjore-style Carnatic tambura.JPG
Foto: Martin spaink

Concert by Manickam Yogeswaran and ensemble on 19th July – Nehru Centre London

More about Manickam Yogeswaran >>

Carnatic music from Southern India owes its name to the Sanskrit term Karnataka Sangitam which denotes “traditional” or “codified” music. The corresponding Tamil concept is known as Tamil Isai. The present concert format evolved during the 20th century. Depending on a performer’s background and outlook, a performance may be inspired by ancient scriptures, the great epics, mythology, philosophy, the customs and legends associated with a particular place of pilgrimage, lullabies or love poetry.

Whatever a musician’s background or outlook may be, the aim of a performance is undiluted aesthetic experience (rasa). This is achieved by means of three concepts: raga (tuneful rendition with minute intervals and rich in embellishments), tala (rhythmic order marked by mathematical precision), and bhava (genuine expressivity).

Yogeswaran is a disciple of “Padmabushan” “Sangitha Kalanidhi” Sri T V Gopalakrishnan. He performs worldwide from traditional forms to orchestras and musicals of Western contemporary music. His concerts are marked by a rear blend of creativity, imagination, virtuosity and high emotive quality. British press wrote he was the first ever Tamil voice in Hollywood. Yogeswaran’s music is steep in the Temple traditions of South India. This evening he will perform a Carnatic recital in the traditional set up, accompanied by violin, mirdangam, kanchira and tanoura played by a selected number of musicians based in London.

Accompanied By
M Ratheeskumar : Violin
M Balachandar : Mirdangam
A Srinivasan : Kanchira
Mervin Mahendran : Mohrsing

Yves Rousguisto playing a newly made « galoubet » (flute Provençale)

After making and tuning this beautiful reed flute within about half an hour, Yves Rousguisto plays it to demonstrate its fingering.

More information about musician, musicologist, teacher and instrument maker Yves Rousguisto is found on his homepage and social media account:
http://yves.rousguisto.pagesperso-orange.fr
https://www.facebook.com/yves.rousguisto
Video taken in Vence on 15 June 2019 by Ludwig Pesch (recipient of this delightful instrument)

More about this instrument and similar flutes:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galoubet
Le galoubet by Patrick le Provençal (Patrick ROUGEOT):

C’est un instrument que l’on retrouve dans de nombreux pays depuis le moyen âge (Espagne, Italie, Pays-Bas, Autriche, Allemagne, Irlande, …) mais le terme galoubet date de 1723. Le modèle le plus utilisé en Provence est celui en Si naturel appelé “ton de St Barnabé”.

Cette flûte à bec percée de trois trous (deux dessus et un dessous) permet le jeu de la seule main gauche tandis que la main droite peut frapper le tambourin. Malgré le nombre réduit de trous, le galoubet peut couvrir une douzième, c’est-à-dire un octave et demi. En faisant varier l’intensité du souffle, on peut obtenir plusieurs notes avec un même doigté. La longueur totale d’un galoubet dans le ton de St Barnabé est d’environ 36 cm.

Les bois les plus utilisés pour la fabrication des galoubets sont l’Ebène, le Buis, la Palissandre et l’Olivier.

Source: https://locepon.pagesperso-orange.fr/instruments/instruments.htm

Why Carnatic Music Matters More Than Ever

by Ludwig Pesch

Published by Shankar Ramchandran on behalf of Dhvani Ohio

https://dhvaniohio.org/why-carnatic-music-matters-more-than-ever-by-ludwig-pesch/

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License

For this musicologist and author, there are good reasons to believe that Carnatic music matters, perhaps more than ever and almost anywhere in the world. So why not perform and teach it in the service of better education for all, for ecological awareness or in order to promote mutual respect in spite of all our differences? And in the process, get “invigorated and better equipped to tackle the larger issues at hand”.

Sruti Magazine (October 2018)

Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training – Book release during ISME 2018 world conference for music education

“Thinking and learning in South Indian Music” by Ludwig Pesch, chapter 4 in:

Markus Cslovjecsek, Madeleine Zulauf (eds.)
Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training
Peter Lang Publishers, Bern, 2018. 418 pp., 29 fig. b/w, 2 tables
MOUSIKÆ PAIDEIA Music and Education/Musik und Bildung/Musique et Pédagogie. Vol. 1 pb.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0388-0

This book was presented  during the 33rd ISME World Conference for Music Education (isme2018.org) on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

About this book

Schools are generally oriented towards discipline-based programmes and therefore students often accumulate fragmented knowledge, disconnected from real life concerns. The eighteen contributors to this work suggest that music offers a highway to developing a more appropriate integrated education. They present a range of views on Integrated Music Education rooted in various cultural traditions, based on several interdisciplinary models and integrated arts curricula, inspired by psychological concepts and referenced to recent teaching experiments as well as original research.

In this innovative book, the reader is invited to go beyond the dichotomy between ‘education in music’ and ‘education through music’, exploring the opportunities put forward by Integrated Music Education thanks to a constant movement from the theoretical roots through a precise description of teaching activities to the benefits for students in terms of integration of knowledge, personal development, and social and cultural belonging. Lastly, there are some new and interesting ideas for training teachers.

https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/34993

Exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs: Interactive music session for and with Montessori teachers – Zurich

At the invitation of Christine Urand (Director, Rietberg Montessori School) Ludwig Pesch took the full assembly of teachers on a musical journey across South India: exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs suitable for young learners while enabling parents, teachers and care-givers to enjoy music making themselves (even as “lay people”, musically speaking).

This event was also an occasion to explore and discuss the scope for actively participating in an intercultural dialogue, something the presenter has long been known for, while paying homage to Maria Montessori (*): be it as contributor to ISME World Conferences or in association with educational and cultural institutions across the entire spectrum: teacher training, kindergarten, schools, rehabilitation just as staff integration programmes; conservatoria and universities in several countries; and creative projects developed in association with the Goethe Institute and exhibition makers at internationally renowned museums.

Date: 1 March 2018. Events on similar lines have been developed in conjunction with Museum Rietberg (Zurich) on the occasion of exhibitions of rare Indian art (in collaboration with art education staff).

Deutsch: Eine musikalische Reise für alle >>


* From 1939 until 1947 Dr. Maria Montessori worked closely with Rukmini Devi, founder of Kalakshetra (est. in 1936 in Adyar/Madras, now part of Chennai), an institution established for the integration of India’s cultural heritage and learning. Kalakshetra stands for an integrated approach to education all realms education – social, economic, crafts and performing arts, being both inspired and guided by India’s first Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore whose  pioneering concept for informal learning was first tested and further developed at Santiniketan (“abode of peace”).

These pioneering efforts remain as relevant today as in the early 20th century when Maria Montessori and her associates realized that true education is more than a tool for succeeding in life as an individual or member of one’s own society: it is the very key to world peace and social justice (see, for example, her 1932 “Peace and Education” lecture published by the International Bureau of Education, Geneva).

Ludwig Pesch – reviews

L Pesch flute

“Excellent concert by German flautist – The Carnatic flute recital by Ludwig Pesch was a feast for the ears of music lovers. ” – MATHRUBHUMI: The National Daily in Malayalam

“An eloquent demonstration of the universal fact that music transcendents cultural and linguistic barriers … Pesch impressively delivered choicest numbers strictly adhering to the tenets of classicism” – INDIAN EXPRESS, Cochin

“Pesch presented an incredibly beautiful and inspired solo improvization.” -BERLINSKE TYDINGE, Copenhagen

“Carnatic music appeals in a direct manner and is also characterized by a degree of playfulness. Through its crisp and concentrated compositions, Pesch created melodies that reached one’s heart … altogether a splendid introduction to a music that deserves to be known much more widely.” – EINDHOVENS DAGBLAD; The Netherlands

“Both types of listeners – those new to classical Indian music and arts as well as connoisseurs – benefitted by way of inspiration, new insights and a high degree of aesthetic pleasure …. with his bamboe flute, Ludwig Pesch demonstrated everything he had earlier conveyed theoretically.” – KIELER NACHRICHTEN

“The flute player from the land of Beethoven … treated an audience of Trichur’s music lovers to a rare feast of music.” – DEEPIKA (Malayalam Daily), Trichur
“a rare evening of pure music.” – MALAYALAM MANORAMA (Malayalam), Cochin

“Captivating and chaste rendition … an active cultural ambassador … and a golden link with the West.” – ANOTHER GARLAND: A Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers and Musicians; Chennai, 1993