Monthly Archives: January 2016

Twelve Notes In An Octave

We all know that there are seven natural/primary Notes in Indian Music system:


Apart from the seven notes there are five other notes which are the flat and sharps of these natural ones.

So, please remember, there are 12 notes (7+5=12) in total.

Let’s talk about these Five Notes

We can also consider them the cousins of the seven natural ones.  We also call them Komal or Teevr.

When we lower the notes half step from their exact location, the notes turn to be called as Komal or flat. Indian Scenario, there are Four notes RE GA DHA NI, which are lowered/flatted/komal from their locations.

They are symbolized as underline the note: R (r Komal)

Similarly, what are Teevr swaras? Teevr means Raised or sharp. When a note is raised half step from their natural positions, they are teevr swaras. There is only one note MA, which go higher. The symbol is ‘a vertical line on the note’.

Therefore, four and one sharp in totality become five cousins of the natural ones.

Vikrita Swar

These five Swaras which have moved from their places are also called Vikrita Swar. Vikrita means not natural.

Now you are wondering what about SA and PA! Don’t they move? Yes, you’re right … they  do not move from their exact places. They are immovable or ACHAL swaras (achal means jo chalet nahi.)

Thus, seven natural notes + 5 vikrita notes adds up to make 12 notes from sa to SA

S  r  R  g  G  M m P  d D n N SA = 12

Music Class Weekly Recap – 30 Jan 2016

This week, we vocalized the Classical Raga’s like

1. Raga Bhoopali – A pentatonic Raga
2. Raga Bhairava – A Morning Raga (just an intro)

Inspirational songs

1. Waving Flag
2. Teri Hai Zameen
3. Ae malik tere bande hum

Raga Bhoopali is a pentatonic raga which consists of only FIVE notes: SA RE GA PA DHA SA –
Where Penta means five (as in Pentagon) and Tonic means having tones

In Indian classical, pentatonic words is known as ‘Audav’; Audav means five.  Therefore Raga Bhoopali is an Audav Raga.

What Mrinalini Ji’s Upbringing Teaches about Parenting

mallika_sarabhai Mrinalini_Sarabhai_2704480f

It is essential to induce an energetic and workaholic environment at home if you want your child to develop energy and become successful in any field. The parents have to at least pursue the art they want their kids to master. Mrinalini Sarabhai’s life and her dance passion is a promising example for the demonstrate the same.

Late Mrinalini Sarabhai has not just established herself as an energetic, multi-genre terpsichorean but in fact has transcended the level of Indian dance. But her life’s endeavor equally indulges her family where she got born and bred. Her Husband, Mr. Vikram Sarabhai, not-to-mention father of space, who left a special mark on the Indian space program and in the lives of people like Mr. Kalam. One can easily assume his passion, cutting-edge attitude, and dynamism to achieve his goals for space program; the traits which further got injected by his wife and loved once.

Then her mother Ammu Swaminathan, who was a freedom fighter, might be the epitome of energy and element who further transferred the patriotism at the time when women’s condition was inappropriate. It’s much predictable that her mother might not have only instructed her to gain energy.

Next, Mrinalini sister Lakshmi Sehgal, a commando in Subhash Chandra Bose troop garnished the glorious energy-filled attitude over the family.

The list has still not ended. Her brother Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai is a Padma Shri awardee and the founder of the center of the environmental education, a pharmaceutical company on the name of his Grandfather.

Lastly, the most awaited name, her daughter: Mallika Sarabhai, a phenomenal danseuse of today’s times, who obviously attained her mother’s wisdom, dexterity and serenity towards dance.

Mrinalini Ji’s life was not only devoted to the different genres of dances, but she was a personified dance, a true artiste, whose inner light too reflected through dance. Her thought-flow was generated in the form of mudras.

She imbibed the western dance, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, and Kathakali at the same time with immense competency and endowment.

She was skilled in the dances and founded the Darpana academy of dance and has trained around 18000 students, getting awarded Padma Shri, Padma-Vibhushan. But the thrust, the drive, the resilience towards living with her art she inculcated by her giant work-geek family and surroundings.



It is so overwhelming to know a music festival cum Ghazal performances by youth will be held in Mumbai to celebrate the maestro’s 75th birthday. Around 75 ‘Jagjit’ Ghazals will be performed by the Ghazal geeks which will be juried by the eminent Chitra Singh Ji, Shri Roop K. Rathod, and Shri Suresh Wadekar. A two day festival is organized by Jagjit Singh Foundation in association with perfect harmony productions Pvt. Ltd.
The second day will be concluded by the premier of the joint venture ‘Tridhara’ of the anticipated splendid performances by the divas Ustad. Zakir Hussain, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasiya, and my favorite Sonu Nigam.

Since my childhood, I was fascinated by Jagjit Singh Ghazals. I had a strong chemistry with his singing and intensity of songs, may be because my home was a land of Jagjit cassettes and records and there was hardly any Ghazal which I am not aware, especially from his old and gold albums. I imitated his minute nuances and variations when I was just 13 years.

It’s such a proud moment when the great deserving and worth-worshiping people are honored and remembered not only on their death but also on their birthdays with ecstasies. I would like to devote a Ghazal to him in my voice on his Birthday:Mere Jaise Ban Jaoge

When Culture Unites Two Nations


Music, indeed plays an important part in transcending the wisdom level of the people, which even imbibes in one to think out of the box, like these guys have initiated for Indo-pak peace and integrity.

A cultural exchange event or a 10-day course was organized by 16 people , in Igatpuri Maharashtra, in order to bridge a communication gap between the people of India and Pakistan. The event, supported by Vipassana International Academy, Spicmacay, and Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy, was conducted by a Delhi-based filmmaker, Harsh Narayan including the musicians, intellectuals, artists from both the nations. “Members of the group hail from Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” says Mr. Narayan.

The event also included Yoga also which was taught by Saira Muneer, a yoga teacher in Pakistan, “My father was born in Amroha (in Uttar Pradesh). He moved to Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. However, he would come back to his house in Amroha for some time every year. Until 30 years ago, it was much easier to move between our countries. My dream is to have a Vipassana centre in Pakistan.”

The group delegation was held in Mumbai, Hindu College, Delhi and would continue this great wisdom effort by organizing it in Delhi. A grand Qawwali was initiated in Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s shrine which was amazing enjoyed by the two citizens.

This overwhelming awesome event to foster peace and harmony between Indo-pak was rekindling at the day when the Pathankot airbase was under attack for four days, straining India-Pakistan ties further. This is the difference between culture-lovers and extremists.

On the other hand, a super-excited group member Almas Bana, who is former CEO of Habib Education Trust in Karachi, said, “I was amazed with the genuine interest, empathy and curiosity about Pakistan among people here. The course design itself was very thoughtful. The key idea we learnt was to maintain equanimity — not to take success to one’s head, and not to be depressed by failure.

Interest in culture and especially music, cultivates within us, a power to unite and blend communities into one like these ultimate 16 have equipped. Indeed, an equivalent credit goes to Mr. PM who inserted a highly sweet gesture to wish Pak-PM on his birthday. Now is the time to expect an upcoming peaceful era. Read here to know the full story.

Zakir Hussain Concert

14SMZAKIR_31507fRecently, I attended Ustad Zakir Hussain concert,  a stalwart with whom ‘Tabla’ term has been synonymized.

When he was playing, and when it all got over, I realized my  pleasure hormone, may be dopamine, anticipating to have some more of it.

Zakir Ji and Sabir Khan saab on saarangi started their scintillating performance in Raga Kalawati/Teentala, which was the only raga they worked on in the recital. A short non-beats ultimate Aalap by Khan Saab, followed by Zakir Ji’s Tukde. Their chemistry, jugalbandi, spacious, and tremendous blend of the ragadari and parans/tukde, lasted for a long time which was incredibly captivating. Zakir Ji’s culminating and clear tukdas and immediate laggis often made me hard to maintain my regular taps. Initially, I could hardly tap correctly when he trailed the complex and fluent laggis, which he sustained for longer. I could hardly stand on the Sam correctly which was out of anticipation. Gradually, I became comfortable with his tempo, and intonations when I could get the sam.

Table Ki Bhasha

Eventually, he decided to interact with the audience. He explained the language of tabla by speaking the tabla syllables impeccably clear and unblemished. He then started the jugalbandi between the speech and hand bols, i.e., he played what he articulated at the same time. Then he engaged the audience by the tabla stories based on the tabla language and his demeanor on this was simply splendid. He started the audience-interaction by the story, Invite Guest at home. Watch this out:



Tope-paran: Next gig was the tabla language for ‘description of a missile’ i.e., tope-paran. How the missile looks, its nozzle, etc…pretty whimsical description. Watch this:


Listening to their perfection and potentials, I do not mind considering them Gods on earth who are especially manufactured to provide bliss and pleasure through their lineage and abilities, in this frustrated world. For that matter, I consider comedians too as God, and people like them are actually needed in today’s hi-tech world. I can still perceive the soft tabla dhun in my ears.

Power of ‘Nritya’

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma

An acclaimed Lucknow-based young Kathak Dancer Gaurav Sharma becomes a permanent Meera to marry his (her) Pakistani boyfriend:

Indeed, music and dance has no boundaries which has the direct connection towards unconditional love. Sometimes, in today’s scenario, ‘unconditional’ also replaces the word ‘obsessive’. A dancer Gaurav Sharma, authored many books, has undergone around three sex reassignment surgeries to marry her Pakistani boyfriend, Rizwan.

Gaurav Sharma, now Meera, was a pretty much normal man before, only when proposed, decided to change his gender by his family support. Read some more here.

“I am very happy today”: Ghulam Ali

Ghulam Ali was overwhelmed with the immense gratitude received in Kolkata while performing after 35 years, who accompanied his son Aamir:


“I am very happy today. I have been coming to Kolkata for 30-35 years. But this time it feels like I have come back after 50 years. I was so sad and today my sadness ends,” admits Ghulam Ali saab with immense delectation. Read some more on this on NDTV.

These mature gestures (served by Mamta Ji) should be encouraged as our country needs it implicitly. Above all, music, arts are above all the boundaries and ego. A feel good factor really imbibes in when you get to make someone happy especially from the other country.

SO Why can’t we keep it simple? Why do we need to churn people, their specializations, their art, their attributes with the religion, caste, creed… Why can’t we just appreciate people and that’s it…No thoughts trailing by behind … No filters … trashing all the jargon aside for a moment and just praise once … Believe me, by this, we are helping the country in the positive direction.

Let’s continue to Welcome, enjoy, & APPRECIATE people’s art at least once.

Swami Vivekananda in the beam of Musical Light

Swami Vivekananda

A child loves lively music, because the rapidity of the notes gives the mind no chance to wander.  A man who likes common music dislikes classical music because it is more complicated and requires a greater degree of concentration to follow it.
– Swami Vivekananda

Pure attributes and knowledge come over hand in hand when one is focused. One of the most popular spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda is an appropriate example.

We often read about his quotes, preaching, visit to Chicago, his Knowledge in Vedanta, sciences, etc. But did we know that he was a great musician too? probably not.
Obviously, when the mind is pure and concentrated, it’s ready to get delve deep into wherever directed vigorously.

As a Bengali Sapoot, that too in Kolkata, Swami Ji not only inherited the musical background from his parents but also conceptualized in his life by taking talim from the then Gurus in Vocal and Pakhawaj.

His mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi taught him the lighter genre like ‘Krishna leela’. Swamiji was an accomplished Dhrupada singer who practiced raga Ahir Bhairava Dhrupada composition early morning and performed in the lots of concerts in Kolkata.

In addition, he authored a few books known as “Sangeet-Kalpataru”, Sachitra Vishwa Sangeet” “Music-Highest form of worship”, may be one self-published  “Swami Vivekananda in the beam of musical light”

A good read – Vedanta In Song

Techniques To Sing Like A Star

You are ambitious, aspire to become a musician. You work pretty hard over particular songs, but are often told “Better luck next time..”

Above all, the most disheartening aspect is when you get rejected by a few disastrous judges who actually do not possess the right kind of singing.

In today’s scenario, the one who has confidence, stage presence, and idea to handle technology is the Star. He or She can easily hook the listeners. Can reach the peak in no time. But that would be momentary.

Why? It’s the lack of basic knowledge, practice and accuracy. After a period, listeners can easily make out the these imperfections.

Not just Music but in any field one needs solid skills to stand the test of time. To get good at singing, here are a few areas where a vocalist should focus during Riyaz.

To grab a potential and perfection in singing, here are a few areas where a vocalist should focus while Riyaz:

Remember to create bigger space in the mouth while singing:

imagesIt might be whimsical but opening adequate mouth while singing amazingly helps. Remember to drop the jaws and prepare a good oval steddy mouth shape for singing. This creates a sufficient space in the mouth and provides enough rooms for the air to cross in the form of sound. If you notice any good singers like Shreya, Sunidhi,  Lata Ji, or Shankar M, you will notice their mouth shape pretty much spacious which makes them loud and clear even in the lucid impromptu nuances. Watch out Lata Ji’s old live recordings like “ Tum Asha Vishwas Hamare…

Continue reading