hemitonic pentatonic scales (B Suresh Krishna )


Subject: hemitonic pentatonic scales
From:    B Suresh Krishna  <suresh(at)CNS.NYU.EDU>
Date:    Sat, 5 May 2001 23:49:11 -0400

I posted the question on rec.music.indian.classical, and got the following replies. Suresh From: "James Pokorny" <j.pokorny(at)worldnet.att.net> Newsgroups: rec.music.indian.classical Subject: Re: pentatonic scales with semitone intervals It's true, in western classical music there don't seem to be many "hemitonic" (using semitones or "half steps") pentatonic scales. "Anhemitonic" pentatonic scales (like the scales of Malkauns, Bhupali, Durga, Megh, etc.) are used more frequently. Some hemitonic pentatonic Indian scales that come to mind are: Bhupal Todi (semitone between Sa and Re, as well as between Pa and Dha) the recently-discussed Bhinna Shadja (aka Kaushik Dhwani) which has a semitone between Ga and Ma Bairagi-Bhairav (semitone between Sa and Re) Jog (semitone between Ga [shuddh form] and Ma). Of course, Jog begs the definition of "pentatonic" since it uses both shuddh and komal forms of Ga, just as Brindavani Sarang is ostensibly pentatonic, but incorporates both Ni degrees. B. Suresh Krishna wrote in message ... >hi, there is currently a discussion on a mailing list that i am a part of, >on the non-existence of pentatonic scales with semitone intervals. most of >the discussion focused on western classical music, but i "sort of felt >pretty sure" that in indian classical music, there must be quite a few >scales that fall in this category. however, i dont know enough to justify >this vague intuition with examples... > >could someone help me with some examples ? or perhaps there is a web site >where the base notes (rough correspondence with western scales, with all >the higher-order gamakams etc. ignored as a horrendous approximation) of >each indian scale are listed ? From: Richard Harrington <rchrdhrngton(at)earthlink.net> Newsgroups: rec.music.indian.classical Subject: Re: pentatonic scales with semitone intervals Date: Thu, 03 May 2001 07:47:58 GMT Hereís a list of scales, re-purposed for this thread, followed by a few notes: ------------------------------------------------ ourav, anhemitonic SRGPDS:bhupali SRmPDS:durga SRmPnS:megh/sarang SgmPnS:dhani(1) SgmdnS:malkosh ------------------------------------ ourav, hemitonic , 1 half step SrgPnS:bairagi todi SrGPDS:vibhas/jait/deshkar SrmPnS:bairagi SrmPDS:komal durga SRgmDS:abhoghi SRgmnS:?(2) SRgPDS:shivaranjani SRgPnS:kohal kanada SRGPNS:hansadhwani SRGDNS:adbhut kalyan SRmPNS:samant sarang(3) SRmDnS:gorakh kalyan(3) SRmDNS:ras-ranjani SgmDnS:chandrakosh(3) SgmdNS:chandrakosh SgMPnS:madhukosh SgPDnS:ranjani SGmdnS:nandakosh(3) SGmDnS:shobhavati SGMPNS:malesri/amrit varshini SGMDnS:shobhavati SGPDnS:kalawati(3) SmPdnS:devranjani ------------------------------ ourav, hemitonic, two half steps SrgPdS:bhupal todi SrGmNS:mungal bhairo/meghranjani SrGPdS:vibhas/rewa SrGPNS:narayanasri SrmPdS:gunkali SRMPNS: nur sarang SGmPdS:?(2) SGmDNS: koshik dhani/hindoli/bhinna shadja ------------------------------------------- ourav w/ alternative notes: SRmPNS SnPmRS:(madhumat/brindabani) sarang SRMPNS SnPmRS:shuddh sarang (3) SGmPNS SnPmGS:tilang SGmNS SnmGRS:mangalikala SRMPNS SNnPMmRS:manomani sarang ---------------------------------------- ourav w/ vakra: SRgPDS SDPdPGPGRgRS:misra shivaranjani(3) SGMDNDS SNDMGS:hindol SGmPnS SnPmGmgS:jog(3) SmPDS SDPmSRS:jaldhar kedar ----------------------------------------------- (1) why isn't dhani more popular? outside India it is one of the main pentatonics. (2) I know I've heard this one somewhere, but I don't know the name. (3) I know this is an unusual version, most versions use more notes, a different ascending-descending, a different name, a different something, but I still think putting them in is better than omitting them. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- a few more of the possible pentatonic scales, some anhemitonic, most not: SgMdnS SgmPDS SgMDnS SRGMDS SRGMdS SRMPDS SRmPdS SRGPdS SgMPNS SGPdnS SGPDNS SRGPnS SrMPNS SrMPdS Okay, these maybe arenít really ragas, like with names and all, but I canít help but wonder why not- some of these seem like good candidates for the big time. They have pretty much the same characteristics as many of the better known rags, and Iím sure someone, some time, has tried them and maybe even named and performed them. Any factual information would be appreciated. Obviously, these are not *all* the possible pentatonic scales- the number is limited largely by what rules of construction you permit- If you consider SrRgGS or SdDnNS to be legitimate scales, then the number of *possible* pentatonic scales is huge. If you take a more reasonable approach, say, that there can be only one of any note-name used consecutively, and that there cannot be two consecutive notes omitted (OK, there are some exceptions to these rules in use already) then you get about .... uhh.... uhh.... maybe someone with a college degree can calculate this, but I imagine itís under about 200. So why are a few of these scales universal, and at least a few known and loved all over India, but some, not much different, completely unused? Both Helmholtz and Jairazbhoy spend some time and thought on this question. Both observe that scales that are used widely have more notes that have both their perfect fourth and fifth, and have a high degree of tetrachordal symmetry- that is, the shape of their SRGM is mirrored in their PDNS (or sometimes their MPDN). Helmholtz spends a whole chapter Ďprovingí, rather unconvincingly, using calculus and statistics, that the major scale is the ultimate musical entity, while Jairazbhoy has almost too many good ideas, sharp observations and convoluted theories, including one that all pentatonic scales are Ďsolutionsí to the imbalances inherent in septatonic scales. I donít agree with everything he says, but I absolutely recommend his book: The Rags of North Indian Music: Their Structure and Evolution, Rev. ed. Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1995. He has his own distribution company, Apsara Media, but I donít have a URL; this will have to do: http://www.netstoreusa.com/mubooks/817/8171543952.shtml I should warn you, he assumes a *very* high level of understanding of the raga system and its history, staff notation, music theory and nomenclature as well as the ability to follow some intricate arguments. On the good side, though, he completely avoids the ĎOnly-my-gurus-ragas-are-the-correct-ragasí sort of thing that causes most Ďdiscussionsí about music to either become lectures or to degenerate into squabbles over names and who has the authority to bestow them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ From: "imppio" <imppio(at)yahoo.com> Newsgroups: rec.music.indian.classical Subject: Re: pentatonic scales with semitone intervals What about Malkauns, Chandrakauns, Madhukauns? imppio From: warvij(at)aol.comqwerty (Warren Senders) Newsgroups: rec.music.indian.classical Subject: Re: pentatonic scales with semitone intervals >What about Malkauns, Chandrakauns, Madhukauns? There is no semitone interval in Malkauns, which was the thrust of the question. WS From: Rajan P. Parrikar <parrikar(at)yahoo.com> Newsgroups: rec.music.indian.classical Subject: Re: pentatonic scales with semitone intervals Date: 3 May 2001 08:36:47 -0700 Richard Harrington <rchrdhrngton(at)earthlink.net> writes: >(1) why isnít dhani more popular? Dhani is an extremely popular and much-loved rAga although on the classical circuit you might see it performed less, probably due to the overwhelming preference for Bhimpalasi. Although they are very different rAgas, artistes prefer a tone colour change and would be reluctant to consider Dhani after a rendering of B. However, Dhani is so pervasive in India that its dhAtu is to be found in innumerable popular/devotional music in some form or the other. In Karnataka music the scale of Dhani is employed in rAgas that are hugely popular. >The Rags of North Indian Music: Their Structure and Evolution, Rev. ed. >Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1995. > >He has his own distribution company, Apsara Media, but I donít have a >URL; this will have to do: > >http://www.netstoreusa.com/mubooks/817/8171543952.shtml > >I should warn you, he assumes a *very* high level of understanding of >the raga system and its history, staff notation, music theory and >nomenclature as well as the ability to follow some intricate arguments. On the other hand, if one wants to truly understand rAga, its aesthetic, how Indian musicians and vAggeyekAras think about it and create in it, Jairazbhoy is useless. He seems to have no clue. He specializes in the low-level 'interval talk' that many Westerners have a preference for and mistake to be a high level understanding of rAga. His book has value, but far less, in my opinion, than is supposed by this poster. Warm regards, r


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