Friday, 4 January 2008

Subjects in Semester 1


Some friends (& strangers!!) had contacted me from Malaysia, enquiring about my are the subjects I took in my first semester at University of Madras, under MA Indian Music:
  1. Foundation in Performance I
  2. Compositions in 8 Ragas
  3. Alapana in 4 Ragas
  4. Devotional Compositions: Music of South India
  5. Historical and Theoretical Concepts of Fine Arts I
  6. Introduction to Sanskrit I
  7. Spanish - Compulsory to take one subject within the group of subjects called "soft skills", as per the new university ruling.

Rough Descriptions:

  1. Includes understanding of tala, nadai, use of nadai in tisram, kandam, misram (and naturally chatusram). Varnam will be sung in all these nadais, in 1st and 2nd kalam. Alangkaras in all talas, using 8 ragas. This will have to be rendered with and without gamakas. It is implied that sarali, jantai, dhatu varisais and relevant geethams and varnams are already covered when the student joins the course, as they will be the basis of introducing other new concepts. (Practical)
  2. Compositions in 2-kalai covering 8 important ragas will be covered. These compositions are different every semester, hence no preparation can be undertaken except sharpening one's knowledge of the ragas in which the compositions will be taught. Ragas include among others: Purvikalyani, Kamboji and Saveri. This subject is the basis for subjects in musical improvisation in following semesters. (Practical)
  3. This is a creative subject but it requires understanding and apt rendering of the 4 selected ragas. Ability to notate alapanas that masters of the art render, is also examined. (Practical)
  4. Devotional compositions in Telegu, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada. Compositions include ragamalikas. Some compositions may also be in Manipravalam. (Practical)
  5. As the title suggests. Topics covered include music theory and literature pre- and post-trinity, largely covering history of tamil music. Thus topics such as 4000 Divya Prabandham, Thevaram, Tirupugal, Panniru Tirumurai etc will be covered along with ancient works such as Silapadikaram, Tolkapiyam, Bharatasenapatiyam, Cacaputavenpa, Talasamudiram etc. There are over 25 main topics so the list above is not exhaustive.
  6. This subject is a follow-on for students who, in India, have studied the basics of Sanskrit in school already. Note to the non-Indian student: To be able to complete this subject successfully, you may consider learning sanskrit on your own first, and come up to speed with the Indian school-leaver. Sanskrit is an excellent allied-subject to take alongside your music studies, to aid in the appreciation of sahitya in Carnatic music.
  7. This is one of the university's new (compulsory) subject introductions, alongside other options such as Managerial Skills and Computing Skills, to keep postgrads upto par with the requirements of the Indian/ international job market. Languages offered include French, German, Italian and Korean, besides Spanish.

Hope the description above is helpful. All the best!

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