REALLY BIG BOXES - Click to see details on Amazon. All sales from these links support your forum.

Author Topic: Minimalism and Hindu chant  (Read 245 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sean

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: England
Minimalism and Hindu chant
« on: February 06, 2015, 05:53:09 AM »
Glass and other minimalists are influenced by the hypnotic and mesmerizing Indian devotional chant in Sanskrit, endlessly but narrowly varying, and dispatched at greater velocity than the intellect can follow.

Suprabhatam uses poems or hymns at dawn to wake a deity; it uses the Vasantatilaka metre and is often sung by two women in unison. Its most well known example, taking about 20 minutes to sing, is the setting of a text from around 1430 to an avatar of Vishnu prominent in Andhra Pradesh called Venkateswara.

Sahasanama by contrast is a recitation of 1000 or 1008 names of a deity, shorter versions having 108; hymns addressed to divinities generally are called stotras.

Suprabhatam (singer MS Subbulakshmi here I think uses overdubbing for the second voice, tremendous stuff)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzr57yL_5fQ

Sahasranama (words to follow on screen)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq2-EpO26Gk

Offline Purusha

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 126
  • Location: Italy
Re: Minimalism and Hindu chant
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 08:31:54 AM »
Beautiful singing, but i think without understanding what is being chanted a lot of the value of the art is lost. I have made several attempts at learning Sanskrit before, but progress has been slow, particularly since my memory isn't what it used to be (not sure if its because of age or stress).

My favored "Indian" music remains Hindustani music. I say Indian in quotation marks since this music appears to have been greatly influenced by Persian music, hence i suppose why so many musicians in this tradition appear to have Muslim names. The degree of sophistication and complexity of this music is astounding, but one thing that i find particularly fascinating is the how the structure of the improvisation follows the same cyclical pattern which according to the Hindu tradition is essentially an unfolding of the universe out of an overarching principle witch in itself is beyond both space and time and which represents the "matrix" of this emanation, itself containing an infinite number of possibilities that are then actualized in the relative realm, that where physical reality is situated. And as this unfolding of possibilities moves forward in time, manifestation begins to brake down as those possibilities grow more and more distant from the original source, hence, the theory of the four ages, each punctuating a new degree of separation between relative reality and its transcendent source, until this distance grows so extreme that relative reality begins to tear itself apart at an increasingly accelerated rate (since time becomes faster and faster as it moves away from its origin in eternity) during the so called "Kali" Yuga (the iron age according to the Greek tradition).

And we can see this at work in the music itself, where the possibilities inherent in the raga are slowly unfolded in a series of extremely complex variations which become more and more undisciplined until towards the end the music reaches its own Kali Yuga, where the pace of the music becomes so frenetic that the entire structure of the improvisation basically falls apart:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_CtXORtvvYM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/_CtXORtvvYM</a>


« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 12:12:00 PM by Purusha »

Offline Sean

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: England
Re: Minimalism and Hindu chant
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 01:15:50 PM »
Hi Purusha, thanks for that, great stuff.

Sanskrit is the world's most beautiful language and the sounds of the words are as important as their intellectual meaning; nice to hear about your linguistic efforts.

Great analysis you have there, I've read it closely and though I wasn't aware of the Hindustani-yuga connection I'm not surprised, the whole culture being powerfully interconnected. I have some notes on file for a talk on the Indian arts and I'll be adding these thoughts to them.

Let's have a listen to the link.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 07:15:40 AM by Sean »

Offline 7/4

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 286
  • Location: other
Re: Minimalism and Hindu chant
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 07:06:54 AM »
It's beautiful music. I went through a phase and went to a lot of concerts, bought a lot of CDs. Little India in Iselin, NJ isn't far from here.  :)

Offline Sean

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: England
Re: Minimalism and Hindu chant
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 07:16:48 AM »
Big Indian contingent over here too, keeping a much lower profile than the Pakistanis and other Muslims.

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK