A Scheme for Systematic Classification of the Singing Voice in Indian Music by R. Sathyanarayana
article published in "Gav®Àa¸¡" Vol. xi, no. 1, July 1995, Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta
A Scheme for Systemati Systematicc Classifica Classification tion of the Singing Singing Voice in Indian Music R. Sathyanarayana
1. Introduction Sa´g¢ta is traditionally held in India as comprising singng, instrumental music and dancing.1 Singing is accorded the pride of place in this trilogy. 2 Except a few forms of instrumental music, most of Indian music is modelled on vocal music. This has been so for some three thousand years and is true even today. Yet, it is amazing that the history of Indian music reveals little or no systematic investigation carried out into the nature and scope of the singing voice, except perhaps incidentally in the early Pr¡ti¿¡khya-s Pr¡ti¿¡khya -s and áikÀ¡ áikÀ¡-s. -s. 3 Some treatises on Indian music such as Mata´ga's B¤hadd®¿¢ (c. (c. 7th. cent. A.D.), N¡nyad®va's Sarasvat¢h¤day¡la´k¡rah¡ra Sarasvat¢h¤day¡la´k¡rah¡ra (11th. (11th. cent. A.D.), P¡r¿vad®va's P¡r¿vad®va's Sa´g¢tasamayas¡ra Sa´g¢tasamayas¡ra (betw. 1160 and 1330 A.D. but probably c. 1200 A.D.) and á¡r´gad®va's á¡r´gad®va's Sa´g¢taratn¡kara (c. 1230 A.D.) 4 have recorded interesting and important observations on classification of the singing voice. Unfortunately, this interest and investigation were not sustained in the following centuries; however some interesting and useful, empirical formulae of herbal recipes, called K¡À¶hauÀadhi called K¡À¶hauÀadhi are are given in some early works on phonetics and music in India. The present writer has carried out some qualitative investigation on some of these formulae and has found them moderately promising, but systematic investigation on these is still a desideratum. Studies in Indian music today are preponderantly addressed to historical or descriptive issues or the so-called 'practical' or pragmatic issues relating to the content and form performed music. work has psychoacoustics, been done in India on the singing voice in theininterdisciplinary areasLittle of physiology, aesthetics and musicology. In fact even the acoustic or psychoacoustic parameters of a good singing voice yet remain to be established through experimental procedures. procedures. Thus the occurrence of a good singing voice is still a matter of chance or freak in Indian music. There is little, if any at all, systematic effort in the traditional gurukula gurukula system and even less so in modern, institutionalised music teaching to determine objectively the merits and demerits of the voice of an aspirant to vocal music and still less effort to adopt or adapt procedure to enrich the merits and remedy the defects in the voice. Another serious and urgent need is voice therapy; this could - and should benefit thousands of singers in adolescence, senascence and pathology. Such therapy would greatly alleviate pathalogical disorders of the voice. Rehabilitation of
such singers in the musical world as also the prolongation of their successful musical activity is an important socio-cultural need. There is at least a nominal recognition of the need for voice training in art music - especially Hindustani music but none at all in Karnataka music. music. And there is not even a vestige vestige of such effort in the vast field of light classical and film music in which a pseudo-sweet voice generally parades as good singing voice. Again, there is the need for extending the scope of such work to objectively determine, evaluate and) engineer the parameters for isoptimal in different styles of singing (g¡yak¢ g¡yak¢ in Hindustani music which relatedexcellence to specific musical forms such as dhrupad, khy¡la, ¶humr¢ etc. etc. Methodologically, there are two aspects to any work as outlined above: First of these is to develop a theoretical model which is consistent with i. the foundational and formative concepts which characterise Indian music i.e. with the general frame of its parent culture and ii. the specific form and content which this music has assumed when emerging from such frame. The second is to analyse the Indian singing voice quality so as to be consistent with the realities and special problems which are peculiar to Indian music. A convenient methodological approach is to enunciate one or more uniform criteria on which available, desirable or desired voices may be classified, so that techniques and procedures may be developed to engineer the available voice, within the parameter of its inherent resources and limitations to a more desirable or desired voice. The aim of this presentation is to show that a systematic attempt to classify singing voice on objective criteria already exists in early texts on Indian music. This theoretical model will be presented here in an augmented form. Aspects related to this such as requirements of a good singing voice (acoustical, technical, musicological), voice pathology, corrective or ameliorative procedures etc. have been described by me elsewhere. 5 2. Conceptual and Empirical Foundation (a.) Trid°Àa
According to S°m®¿vara the singing voice, ¿¡r¢ra, ¿¡r¢ra, is so called because it is coeval with ¿ar¢ra ¿ar¢ra,, body. Its excellence lies in snigdhat¡ snigdhat¡ (glossiness, unctuousness) and is inherent to it as is fragrance in flower, lustre in pearl and sweetness in sugarcane. Vocal excellence accrues only by virtue acquired in previous births, through jµ¡na-y°ga jµ¡na-y°ga or by worshipping God, but never by mere practice. 6 So, the qualities of the singing voice must be sought in the constitution of the human body. Equally expert in the sciences of music and medicine, á¡r´gad®va is the* first authority in Indian music to correlate singing voice quality with trid°Àa trid°Àa,, a postulate which is both foundational and formative in the science of Ëyurv®da.
The constitution of the human being is physical, physical, being made up ooff aair, ir, fire and 7 water according to an ancient (anonymous authority quoted by Su¿ruta. These three factors are called pitta, called pitta, v¡ta v¡ta (v¡yu v¡yu)) and kapha and kapha ¿l®Àman) (¿l®Àman) in Ëyurv®da, characterised by the three gu¸a gu¸a-s -s sattva, rajas rajas and tamas tamas respectively. These 'd°Àa 'd°Àa-s' -s' are responsible for all the functionings of the organism and play a dual role : When normal, they support the body-mind complex and are hence called dh¡tu dh¡tu-s; -s; when excited or the out of balance, are pathogenic andseven are therefore 'd°Àa-s'. 'd°Àa In Ëyurv®da term 'dh¡tu'they 'dh¡tu ' denotes collectively structuralcalled aspects of-s'.this complex viz. plasma tissue or chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and sperm. Dh¡tu-s Dh¡tu -s must be distinguished from d°Àa d°Àa-s; -s; the former are structural in nature and are body constituents while d°Àa d°Àa-s -s are functional and behavioural processes. The terms v¡ta, pitta and pitta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman do do not refer to the gross, physical materials wind, bile and phlegm but are more or less abstractions and should be regarded rather as referring to the windy aspect, fiery mechanism and watery network of the organism. The n¡·¢ --s, s, cakra cakra-s -s and granthi -s -s postulated in y°ga-¿¡stra y°ga-¿¡stra are analogous. In the course of its evolution the concept of trid°Àa trid°Àa has has oscillated between 'constituent' and 'potentially morbid'. Su¿ruta regards them as factors which form the body while Caraka and V¡gbha¶a incline to the latter view. The body is verily the product product of food : 'd®h° hi ¡h¡ra-sambha ¡h¡ra-sambhavaÅ vaÅ'.'. 8 Body means the totality of the transformation of five forms of matter, a totality that becomes the substratum of consciousness : ' ¿ar¢raÆ ¿ar¢raÆ n¡ma c®tan¡dhiÀ¶h¡nabh£taÆ 9 paµca-mah¡bh£ta-vik¡ra-samud¡ paµca-mah¡bh£ta -vik¡ra-samud¡y¡tmakam. y¡tmakam.'' 'Food which is made up of five-fold matter paµca-bh£ta) (paµca-bh£ta) is fully transformed in the body which is (also) made up of the (self-same) five-fold matter : and its five-fold properties go to add (to the corresponding properties in the body)' : Paµca-bh£t¡tmak® d®h® d®h® hi ¡h¡raÅ paµcabhautikaÅ paµcabhautikaÅ l Vip¡kaÅ paµcadh¡ samyag gu¸¡n sv¡nabhivardhay®t ll 10 In order to explain the transformation of food that is natural matter into body matter, Caraka makes the following postulates 11: (i) The microcosm is the miniature of the macrocosm. (ii) Both are composed of the self-same five elements, earth, water etc. (iii) Fire abides in each element of the body-microcosm; it cooks the corresponding correspo nding element in the food into the body element. (iv) The food so cooked is transformed into two kinds of substances : a. Nourishing or nutrient substance ( pras¡da) pras¡da) called rasa called rasa (vital (vital sap): b. Waste products or impurities ( mala) mala) called kitta called kitta (excrement). (excrement).
(v) Pras¡da (v) Pras¡da dh¡tu becomes dh¡tu becomes individuated into rasa into rasa,, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen. It produces the five kinds of substances which form the sense organs, body-joints, ligaments, mucus etc. Kitta Kitta similarly similarly individuates itself into sweat, urine, faeces and other similar impurities which are excreted through the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair follicles, genital organs, hair, nails etc. Its main products are pitta, v¡ta v¡ta and ¿l®Àman and ¿l®Àman which which remain in the body unexcreted. (vi) The dh¡tu dh¡tu-s -s and the mala the mala-s -s maintain an optimum optimum balanc balancee in propor proportion tion which is consistent with the size and age of the body. The excretable mala mala-s -s such as urine, sweat and faeces must be promptly eliminated from the body; otherwise they disturb the balance. In the process of such dichotomic division of transformed food into pras¡da dh¡tu dh¡tu and mala dh¡tu dh¡tu,, the d°¿a-s d°¿a -s are affixed to pras¡da dh¡tu dh¡tu if they are optimally in their most propitious qualitative and quantitative proportion svan¡ma); (svan¡ma); they thus result in health. If they are not so, such imbalance results in disease. That is, the dh¡tu dh¡tu (sap, (sap, blood etc.) is in itself neutral; it becomes pras¡da becomes pras¡da or or mala mala depending depending upon whether the trid°¿a trid°¿a-s -s are balanced or not. The trid°¿a trid°¿a-s -s are essentially emergent and functional. Each d°Àa d°Àa is asso associated ciated with its own specific specific body re region gion and with its ow ownn physiologicall functions, its own diurnal physiologica diurnal and seasonal variation variation etc. Each ha hass its own caya (arousal in its own specific body region), prak°pa caya prak°pa (excitation and consequent overflow into other regions), pra¿amana pra¿amana (normalisation (normalisation or tranquilisation, resulting in its return to normal region). Optimal caya caya results in health, prak°pa prak°pa in disease and pra¿amana is pra¿amana is treatment. Each d°Àa d°Àa is a complex of processes and phases. But all three function collectively with a common focus and towards a common goal - health or disease. Body constitution derived from the excess of a single d°Àa d°Àa,, such as pure v¡ta prak¤ti is but rarely encountered. Constitutions determined by a pair of d°Àa d°Àa-s -s viz. V¡ta-pitta, V¡ta-¿l®Àman, Pitta-¿l®Àman are Pitta-¿l®Àman are more common and are called dvandvaja dvandvaja.. Admixture of of all three is called sannip¡ta called sannip¡ta or or mi¿ra mi¿ra.. It is true that the trid°Àa trid°Àa-s -s are largely abstractions or postulates; but they are based on firm, empirical, systematically observed, statistical behavioural patterns of the body-mind complex. This has made systematic typology possible in Ëyurv®da. Two such classifica classificatory tory criteria may be briefly discussed here because they would enable relating voice typology at an empirical level; these are psychophysical traits or the body-mind complex and the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ phenomenon. phenomenon.
(b.) Traits and Temperament Thus v¡ta prak¤ti may may be diagnosed by such traits as scanty hair, lean and fragile figure, high body temperature, dry skin, dark complexion and low voice. Such a person has a weak constitution and a weak digestion. He has low resistence and immunity and is therefore frequently sick. Ailments are mostly of the nervous system; he is very intelligent, imaginative and highly receptive. He is likely to be nervous, timid,
suspicious, fickle-minded, and dislikes. He is a light sleeperjealous, and when he dreams,loquacious he soars inand thequick sky. 12in likes According to Trivikramapa¸·ita, V¡taprak¤ti is characterised by windiness, grey complexion, dislike of cold, fickleness in courage, intelligence, humourous foppishness, love of music and humour, quarrelsomeness, quarrelsomeness, liking for sweet, pungent, sour and hot food, suspicious of women, limited progeny, etc. besides the above traits. 13 According to Su¿ruta, the constitution dominated by v¡ta v¡ta produces produces a person who is ugly, jealous, brutal, timid, unstable (in friendship), ungrateful and disturbed in sleep. He keeps awake at night, loves music, has dry skin, dry hair, protruding veins. He is given to wandering, biting of teeth and nails, prattling and rapid walking; he is disturbed in sleep; his mind is confused and gaze unsteady. He has neither much property, nor many friends nor much money. The habits of such persons resemble those of goats, camels, frogs, dogs, vultures, crows, asses etc. 14 Constitution dominated by pitta pitta produces a person who has a good appetite, good digestion, unsteady muscles, loose joints, glowing complexion and premature greying. The body tends to be soft and odorous. He is intellignet, imaginative, irritable, impatient, proud, haughty, boastful. He has burning sensations in parts of his body, disturbed sleep, poor perseverance, unstable moods, good stamina. His urine is highcoloured and eyes are yellow-tinged. He is susceptible to digestive disorders. 15 Su¿ruta observes the following temperament and traits: the the pitta pitta dominated dominated person is talented, inventive, energetic. He emits sweat and foul odour; his colour is yellowish, limbs are loose, his nails, eyes, palate, tongue, lips and soles of the feet are red. His head is bald, face is ugly and body is wrinkled. He is always disgruntled, overeaten, irritable, easily appeased, appeased, avoids hot things. He is moderately strong and has average (middling) life span. He is a good orator, irresistible in combat. In dreams he sees gold, fire, lightning, meteors and plants such as pal¡¿a as pal¡¿a and and kar¸ik¡ra kar¸ik¡ra.. He is prone to diseases of the mouth; shows no compassion to refractory adversaries but is mild and full of concession to those who yield; in nature such a person resembles serpent, owl, cat, monkey, tiger, bear, mongoose, gandharva gandharva or yakÀa yakÀa.. 16 According to V¢rar¡j®ndra, the following additional traits characterise characterise the pitta-prak¤ti person: intense hunger and thirst, red hair, little body hair, liking for garlands, perfumes, sweetmeats, astringent, bitter, bilious foods, drinks; sweaty, malodorous, loquacious, lustful, angry; small, tawny eyes which redden when intoxicated or in the sun; ferocious with adversaries; sees the hill lotus tree kar¸ik¡ra) (kar¸ik¡ra) and bastard teak (butea 17
frondusa) in bloom, sun, lightning, meteors and fire in dreams.
A person produced by constitution determined by dominant dominant ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman has a wellintegrated body mechanism, a robust physique, a well-proportioned but heavily built body. Such person is the healthiest of the lot. He is prone to obesity, vigorous sex activities, sluggish habits; he is strong, courageous, free from envy and greed; he has a great endurance power, firm gait, even steps, heavy undisturbed sleep. He does not sweat much; his digestion is weak. He is prone to ailments of respiratory and 18
lymphatic systems.theHephlegmatic sees watery stretches e.g.: his lakes rivers inisdreams. Su¿ruta describes person as follows skinand complexion like d£rv¡ d£rv¡ grass, blue lotus, green, sword-blade. He is handsome and attractive. He is courageous, grateful, hardy, unaddicted to pleasures, robust. He likes sweetmeats; he has retentive memory and does not forget a wrong done to him. His eyes are clear and white; his hair is firm, curled, jet black; he is rich. His voice is resonant like thunderclap, m¤da´ga thunderclap, m¤da´ga or lion. The corners of his eyes are rosy; his limbs are very proportionate;; his complexion, bright and smooth. His tendencies are lofty and noble. proportionate He vever feels tired of work and respects elders. He is given to the study of science. He is steady in friendship and acquisition of wealth. He studies carefully the pros and cons before taking any action, he readily gives large sums of money; his words are replete with wisdom and judgement. He reveres learned men. In dreams, he sees lotuses, swans, cakrav¡ka cakrav¡ka-s -s and charming pools of water. In temperament and trait, he resembles Brahm¡, Indra and Varu¸a among gods and lion, elephant, horse, bull, among animals and eagle or swan in birds. 19 V¢rar¡j®ndra further adds : a complexion complexion of lotus, gold, g°r°cana g°r°cana or pearl-shell, soft skin, influential, dharm¡tm¡ dharm¡tm¡,, hides his antipathies, clever, polite: not easily tired, generous, scholarly, courageous, selfsacrificing, venerable, tolerant. He sees in his dreams lakes lined with birds and lotuses, thunderclouds, Brahm¡, Rudra, Varu¸a, Indra, falcon, cow, elephant in rut, horse, lion or bull. 20 Su¿ruta asserts that these natural tendencies will never suffer extreme change except at death; many tempe temperaments raments are blends blends of two or even even three constitutions. constitutions.21 It may be recalled that the d°Àa d°Àa-s -s are related to gu¸a gu¸a-s. -s. Drawing upon Caraka22, á¡r´gad®va offers an analogical typology based on gu¸a on gu¸a-s -s23; there are seven kinds of s¡ttvika bodies, six of rajasa s¡ttvika rajasa and three of t¡masika t¡masika.. I have discussed these elsewhere. 24 (c.) N¡·¢
N¡·¢ , also called sn¡yu called sn¡yu,, vas¡ vas¡,, hiÆsr¡ hiÆsr¡,, dhaman¢ , dhar¡ dhar¡,, tantuk¢ , j¢vitajµ¡ j¢vitajµ¡ and and sir¡ sir¡ in Ëyurv®da is loosely and inaccurately translated as pulse. N¡·¢ is is much more than pulse. The following is a brief account based eclectically on diverse sources. 25 There are in the human human body, 35.5 mi million llion n¡·¢ n¡·¢ -s, -s, thick or thin, each terminating in a body upward, hair. They meet near navel a bunch called theof canda equina equina. . They radiate downward andthe front and inback. The substrate all this is the vital air
which pervades them in the form of pr¡¸a of pr¡¸a etc. etc. The n¡·¢ The n¡·¢ -s -s succour and sustain the body through the juices of food and drink which flows through them. Those that carry the qualities of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are the more important among the n¡·¢ -s. -s. The body is held together tautly by seven hundred n¡·¢ -s. -s. Twenty-four among these are prominent which pervade the body from head to foot and of these, the foremost lies along the right hand and right foot in men and along the left hand and left k¤kara, foot in d®vadatta and women. The 'winds' pr¡¸a, 'winds' pr¡¸a, ap¡na,allsam¡na, vy¡na, n¡ga, k£rma, d®vadatta andtendhanaµjaya dhanaµjaya flow flow along the n¡·¢ ud¡na, the n¡·¢ -s; the n¡·¢ -s; the n¡·¢ -s which -s enter the eyes, ears, nostrils, tongue and skin serve as agents for the perception of (visual) form, sound, smell, taste and touch respectively. Sleep results when the mind merges or dissolves into the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ called pur¢tat¢ called pur¢tat¢ . The n¡·¢ Vi¿v°dar¢ extends The n¡·¢ extends 32 cubits in length. One cubit of this lies in the neck region, 10 cubits in the ¡m¡¿aya ¡m¡¿aya,, ten in pacyam¡n¡¿a pacyam¡n¡¿aya ya and another ten in the pakv¡¿aya.. The remaining one cubit lies in the rectum in the form of a whorl. The juice pakv¡¿aya of the digested food enters in the n¡·¢ at at the navel and is impelled by wind to flow throughout the body. From the tortoise-like navel radiate eight large n¡·¢ -s, -s, four of which lie in the thorax and four in the back. The latter proceed upward to the head, each branching out into two; one of these splits into five n¡·¢ -s -s one of which reach the eyes, one the nostrils and one, the tongue. One reaches the nostrils and the other the upper and lower lip. Besides these, each of two n¡·¢ two n¡·¢ -s -s splits, in the hands, into five and extends into the fingers; these are responsible for manual acts such as stretching, flexing etc. Again, two downward n¡·¢ downward n¡·¢ -s -s extend to the feet, each splitting to be sought under ring-finger and forefinger, pitta-¿l®Àman pitta-¿l®Àman excess is perceived under midfinger and ringfinger. Excess of all three, called sannip¡ta sannip¡ta manifests in the (equally) dominant n¡·¢ beat beat beneath all three fingers. If the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ beat beat is in slow (or dull), middle or fast tempo, discrepancy in v¡ta, pitta pitta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman should be inferred respectively. In v¡ta-pitta discrepancy the n¡·¢ beat is crooked (irregular) and leaping; in v¡tav¡ta-pitta ¿l®Àman discrepancy ¿l®Àman discrepancy it is crooked and slow; in pitta-¿l®Àman pitta-¿l®Àman discrepancy discrepancy it is slow and leaping. D°Àa leaping. D°Àa in in v¡ta, pitta and pitta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman results results in a n¡·¢ a n¡·¢ beat beat which resembles the gait respectively respectively of a snake, quail (perdix (perdix chinensis) chinensis) and swan. If all three are discrepant, the gait of the the n¡·¢ n¡·¢ beat beat resembles the gaits of the quail, partridge and the vartaka vartaka variety variety of the quail. The pitta The pitta n¡·¢ is is warm, the ¿l®Àman the ¿l®Àman n¡·¢ is is cold and v¡ta n¡·¢ is in between; they are unctuous, hot, fast and dull respectively in the morning, noon, afternoon and night. The v¡ta n¡·¢ is is felt by the forefinger, pitta forefinger, pitta n¡·¢ by the midfinger and the ¿l®Àman the ¿l®Àman n¡·¢ by by the ring finger of the physician. Similarly, if the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ beat beat is very fast at the (physician's) forefinger, midfinger and ring finger, it indicates respectively respectively pitta, pitta, v¡ta and v¡ta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman n¡·¢ . According to another authority n¡·¢ ¿l®Àman. beat is crooked beat excessivethat v¡ta, v¡ta excessive excessive pitta pitta and and stableauthority n¡·¢ in excessive ¿l®Àman excessive . Its gait inresembles of, unstable a snake in
v¡ta-pitta excess, leaping in v¡ta-pitta v¡ta-pitta v¡ta-pitta (?) excess. In a healthy person the n¡·¢ is strong and stable like that of an elephant or swan. Such n¡·¢ is unctuous in the morning, hot in the afternoon and fast in the night. Again, in disorders of v¡ta v¡ta,, the n¡·¢ beat beat follows the pattern of the movement of snake or leech; in disorders of pitta pitta it is like the gait of a crow, the t¡vaka t¡vaka bird bird (francoline partridge) or frog; in disorders of ¿l®Àman,, it resembles the movement of the king swan, peacock, ¿l®Àman peacock, turtle, dove, spottynecked pigeon hen, in v¡ta-pitta v¡ta-pitta diseases it isA frequently winding like that of snake and into or fivethe branches which lie diseases in the toes. ninth n¡·¢ , called li´ga n¡·¢ enters the genital organ; here it splits into two; one of these serves as agent for excretion while the other is a vehicle for semen in men. Ëyurv®da teaches of eight positions in the body in which the n¡·¢ -s -s may be clearly perceived and examined : one in each hand, one in each foot, one on each side of the neck, one beneath each nostril. The one in the hand lies for three (Indian) inches at the end of the forearm, in the wrist. The one in the foot lies for three (Indian) inches below the ankle. The n¡·¢ in in the neck extends for two (Indian) inches below the root of the neck; those beneath the nostrils extend for one (Indian) inch. Pr¡¸a Pr¡¸a abides in these positions. Its state is determined by the proportion of the trid°Àa trid°Àa-s -s viz. v¡ta, pitta pitta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman i.e., health by their optimal balance and ill-health by imbalance, resulting from the excessiveness of one or more of these. The physician squeezes the right (in women, the left) forearm of the patient and places his left middle three fingers on the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ beating beating under the thumb. Conditions for n¡·¢ examination examination such as the states of the physician and patient are laid down. The phases of the trid°Àa trid°Àa at at different parts of the day and in different seasons are described. The equilibrium or excessiveness of the trid°Àa trid°Àa-s -s is inferred from two parameterss of the n¡·¢ parameter the n¡·¢ beats beats viz. position and temporal pattern. Thus v¡ta v¡ta excess excess is manifested in the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ beat beat under the thumb, while the pitta the pitta and ¿l®Àman ¿l®Àman excesses are manifested if the n¡·¢ beat is prominent under the midfinger and ring-finger respectively. Dual excess is manifested in both the regions or in between; v¡ta-pitta v¡ta-pitta excess excess is observed between forefinger and midfinger; v¡ta ¿l®Àman excess ¿l®Àman excess should be recurringly like a frog's leap; in v¡ta-¿l®Àman v¡ta-¿l®Àman diseases, diseases, it is like the king swan or snake (!); in in pitta-¿l®Àman pitta-¿l®Àman excess, excess, it is like the leap of frog or the walking of peacock. The sannip¡ta The sannip¡ta (i.e. (i.e. mixed) n¡·¢ mixed) n¡·¢ is is like the (mixed) movements of francoline partridge, common partridge (tittir¢ (tittir¢ ) and quail; or like the rapid aand nd (then) slow pecking of a woodpecker. woodpecker. Ëyurv®da also describes the effect of food and drink of various tastes and qualities on the n¡·¢ the n¡·¢ as, as, of also diurnal and seasonal variations.
3. Theoretical Model (a.) Trid°Àa-s and Voice Quality
Harip¡lad®va (c.1175 A.D.) is the earliest known authority to classify the singing voice*. He describes four kinds : kh¡hula kh¡hula (lit. (lit. sweet), b°mbala b°mbala (lit. bamboo), n¡r¡¶a n¡r¡¶a and mi¿ra (mixed). and mi¿ra (mixed). Kh¡hula Kh¡hula (called (called k¡vula k¡vula in in early Kannada epic poetry) is ranged in all three registers, firm, bold and sweet to the ear like honey. Bambala Bambala (called (called b°mbaka b°mbaka by other authorities and bambala bambala,, lit. heavy in early Kannada epic poetry) is deep, powerful, audible at a distance but somewhat lacking in appeal. appeal. N¡r¡¶a N¡r¡¶a (lit. (lit. fluid?) can touch the three registers, very appealing to both ear and mind and partakes of female tone quality. Mi¿ra quality. Mi¿ra is is a mixture of the above qualities, rapidly and intensely mobile in the high register, deep, full of appeal and audible at a distance. 26 P¡r¿vad®va (11601330 A.D.) defines dhvani as sound which shines in clear articulation gradually ascending the three registers. He also classifies dhvani into k¡bula, into k¡bula, bambala, n¡r¡¶a n¡r¡¶a and mi¿ra mi¿ra.. Of these, k¡bula k¡bula is abundant in the low register and has the quality of 'sweetness'. Bambala 'sweetness'. Bambala (mentioned (mentioned by other authorities as b°mbaka as b°mbaka)) is hollow (without kernel) like the stem of the castor plant (ricinus communis) and is abundant in the middle register. N¡r¡¶a register. N¡r¡¶a is is sans sweetness, abundant in the high register; mi¿ra mi¿ra is is an admixture of these three. Mi¿ra Mi¿ra may be n¡ra¶a-k¡bula, k¡bula-bambala, k¡bula-bambala, n¡r¡¶a27 bambala,, or n¡r¡¶a-k¡bula-ba bambala or n¡r¡¶a-k¡bula-bambala mbala.. However, it is only only á¡r´gad®va (c (c.. 1230 A.D.) who relates thes thesee voice type typess to the trid°Àa trid°Àa.. His treatment of the subject is the most systematic and elaborate in all the literature in Indian music. 28 Thus, Thus, kh¡hula kh¡hula is is generated by ¿l®Àman by ¿l®Àman,, is unctuous, sweet and delicate; it is called ¡·illa ¡·illa if if it is confined to the low and middle registers only. N¡r¡¶a only. N¡r¡¶a is is the result of pitta of pitta;; it is deep, blending and dense in all three registers. B°mbaka is B°mbaka is generated by v¡ta v¡ta;; it is hollow,rough, high-pitched like the braying of a donkey,heavy, hard. The mi¿ra The mi¿ra type type of voice is born of sannip¡ta of sannip¡ta and and is a mixture of the qualities of the above three types. á¡r´gad®va then proceeds to analyse the mi¿ra type into subvarieties by a process of permutation and combination. He lays mi¿ra down that compatibility of quality is a necessary and sufficient condition in combining the qualities. For example, sweetness and heaviness are imcompatible mutually; so are denseness and hollowness. So they should not be, or are not found in nature, mixed. His words in this connection29 admit of an inference of deliberate mixing i.e. voice type or voice quality engineering, though his commentator SiÆhabh£p¡la interprets the passage to mean occurrence in nature. 30 There are three binary combinations viz. kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a,, n¡r¡¶a-b°mbala n¡r¡¶a-b°mbala and kh¡hula-b°mbala and one tertiary combination viz. kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a-b° kh¡hula-b°mbala kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a-b°mbala mbala.. The last, minus hollowness and roughness is regarded as the most excellent singing voice type. Kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a type. Kh¡hula-n¡r¡¶a type type is superior. Kh¡hula-b°mbala superior. Kh¡hula-b°mbala is is middling, while b°mbalawhile b°mbala-
n¡r¡¶a is inferior. A combination of hollowness and roughness results in the worst n¡r¡¶a voice. The binary combinations altogether yield some 22 kinds of the singing voice. These may be listed here in terms of qualities. The singing voice is eclecticall eclecticallyy analysed into some fourteen elements, specific combinations of which yield a particular voiceofquality. These elements are snigdhat¡ snigdhat¡ (glossy, unctuous) vy¡pti (range three registers), m¡dhurya m¡dhurya (sweetness, appeal), niÅs¡ra tristh¡na niÅs¡ra (hollow), ghana (dense, compact), gambh¢ra ghana gambh¢ra (deep, resonant), uccatara uccatara (high pitched, shrill), r£kÀa (rough, dry, parched), sth£la r£kÀa sth£la (heavy, thick), k°mala k°mala (tender), sukum¡ra sukum¡ra (delicate), l¢na l¢na (blending, concealed, melting), paruÀa paruÀa (hard, harsh, sharp, rugged, stiff, brittle) and m¤du and m¤du (soft). (soft). A. Binary Combinations I. Kh¡hula-N¡r¡¶a I. Kh¡hula-N¡r¡¶a 1. Ûadhura-snigdha Ûadhura-snigdha-k°mala -k°mala 2. K°mala-snigdha-ghana K°mala-snigdha-ghana 3. Madhura-m¤du-tris Madhura-m¤du-tristh¡navy¡pta th¡navy¡pta
B. Tertiary Combinations Sannip¡ta (mixture of v¡ta, pitta and ¿l®Àman) 1. Snigdha-tristh¡navy¡ Snigdha-tristh¡navy¡pta-niÅs¡ra pta-niÅs¡ra 2. M¤du-madhura-ghana-gambh¢r M¤du-madhura-ghana-gambh¢ra-uccatara a-uccatara-r£kÀa -r£kÀa 3. Snigdha-k°mala Snigdha-k°mala-ghana-l¢na-sth£la-u -ghana-l¢na-sth£la-uccatara ccatara 4. Snigdha-k°mala Snigdha-k°mala-tristh¡navy¡pta-l¢na -tristh¡navy¡pta-l¢na-ghana-niÅs¡ra-s -ghana-niÅs¡ra-sth£la-uccatara th£la-uccatara
5. Madhura-l¢na-tristh¡navy¡pta-r£kÀath¡navy¡pta-r£kÀa-sth£la-niÅs¡ra-ucc sth£la-niÅs¡ra-uccatara atara 6. Madhura-l¢na-tris Madhura-snigdha Madhura-snigdha-k°mala-tristh¡na -k°mala-tristh¡navy¡pta-ghana-ga vy¡pta-ghana-gambh¢ra-l¢nambh¢ra-l¢nauccatara 7. Madhura-m¤du-ga Madhura-m¤du-gambh¢ra-l¢na-tris mbh¢ra-l¢na-tristh¡navy¡pta-r£kÀa-uc th¡navy¡pta-r£kÀa-uccataracatara niÅs¡ra 8. Madhura-k°mala Madhura-k°mala-ghana-l¢na-tris -ghana-l¢na-tristh¡navy¡pta-r£kÀa-uc th¡navy¡pta-r£kÀa-uccatara-sth£la catara-sth£la á¡r´gad®va31 avers that notwithstanding this enumeration and description of thirty varieties, there is an endless variety of subtle distinctions which are left undescribed by him for fear of excessive length of his treatise. Thus he proposes a model based on both empirical and theoretical considerations to cover every possible variation in the quality of the singing voice. Such a model has the following merits : i. Analysis of the quality of singing voice into component elements. ii. Description or definition of component elements in common or colloquial musical parlance. iii. Systematic permutation of these elements into desired or specific combinations. iv. Progressive variation in permutation resulting in progress progressive ive derivability. v. Bivalency in correlatio correlationn : empirical paramete parameters rs (voice quality components) related to theoretical postulates of fundamental body constitution (trid°Àa (trid°Àa).). vi. Enunciation of the principle of compatibility / incompatibility among components to account for merits / demerits in the singing voice. (b.) Elements of Voice Quality
In India the phoneticist and the musicologist have been aware for nearly two millennia of the role played by various elements in determining singing voice quality. They have defined these by extensive, careful analysis. The phoneticist often makes an oblique approach to the problem whereas the musicologist is direct, immediate and articulate. For example, N¡rada defines some of these elements incidental to the characterisation characteris ation of the ten merits of song (i.e. singing). 32 i. Vyakta Vyakta : : Clear and effective articulation of the word content in both phonetic and grammatic grammatical al structure. ii. ii. P£r¸a P£r¸a : :and Completeness the svara and union and ¿ruti of syllable, prosody in filling thisinwith svara with ¿ruti i.e. i.e.word tonaland content to the
optimal best. iii. iii. Prasanna Prasanna : : Expression Expression without faltering, stammering or hesitation. iv. Sukum¡ra Sukum¡ra : : Delicacy in diction in soft syllabic and tone material v. Ala´k¡ra v. Ala´k¡ra : : (Uniformity of) tone in low, middle and high registers. vi. Sama Sama : : Appropriate dynamics such as crescendo and diminuendo. vii. Rakta vii. Rakta : : Coincidence of voice with the flute and v¢¸¡. viii. álakÀ¸a : Smooth, neither too fast, nor too slow, neither too low nor too moderate; high. ix. Vik¤À¶a Vik¤À¶a : : Pronunciation in high pitch. x. Madhura x. Madhura : : Natural richness in charming words, syllables and quality. á¡r´gad®va adopts these definitions with some modifications which will be presently studied. Bharata Muni is the first known authority to deal with voice qualities in Indian music. He describes six of these qualities33 : i. ár¡vaka ár¡vaka is is audible at distance. ii. Ghana Ghana is is dense (not hollow). iii. Snigdha Snigdha is is dhvani which is not rough, dry, parched. iv. Madhura iv. Madhura is is pleasing to the mind. v. Avadh¡na v. Avadh¡na (attention) (attention) is exact intonation, neither underpitched nor overpitched. vi. Tristh¡na¿°bh¢ is is sweet tone uniformly in all the three registers. Elsewhere, he enumerates voice qualities as p£r¸asvara p£r¸asvara,, vicitravar¸a vicitravar¸a,, tristh¡na¿°bh¢ , trilaya trilaya,, trim¡rga trim¡rga,, rakta rakta,, sama sama,, ¿lakÀ¸a ¿lakÀ¸a,, ala´k¤ta ala´k¤ta,, sukha sukha,, prasanna prasanna 34 (pra¿asta) and madhura pra¿asta) madhura.. Again, he describes a singer as possessed of a pure, unctuous, sweet-tone-enriched voice, expert in laya laya,, t¡la t¡la,, kal¡p¡ta kal¡p¡ta,, pram¡¸a pram¡¸a,, faultless, sweet, unctuous, continuous, even, appealing, auspicious voice. 35 N¡nyad®va upholds these views by quoting Bharata. 36 S°m®¿vara again, defines some of these elements : according to him dhvani is is n¡da which is similar in quality to and blends with the flute and v¢¸¡ v¢¸¡;; madhuradhvani is sweet like the call of the koil ; if it is pleasurable even when high pitched, it is compact and not thin, it is called ¿r¡vaka ¿r¡vaka,, if it has m¡dhurya has m¡dhurya and and other qualities as also clearly audible from a distance or among babel of sound (in an orchestra?); tristh¡na¿°bh¢ dhvani is is uniformly melodious in all three registers, even though high pitched; it is best among the best voices. 37 P¡r¿vad®va also mentions five elements of voice quality : m¡dhurya m¡dhurya,, ¿r¡vakatva ¿r¡vakatva,, snigdhatva snigdhatva,, ghanat¡ ghanat¡ and sth¡naka-traya sth¡naka-traya- ¿°bitva.. He takes note of the fact that appeal of the singing voice may lie only in one ¿°bitva or two registers registers or in all three; thus voice is said to be ka·¡·a ka·¡·a ka·¡la (ka·¡la means lustrous in Kannada) if it is uniformly sweet in all three registers; it is madhura madhura if if it is sweet only in the low and middle registers; if it can enlighten the r¡ga r¡ga only only in the high register it is defined as p®¿ala as p®¿ala pausala?). (pausala If it and is ansometimes admixturein mandra these, and madhya that madhya is if it is sweet sometimes in mandra, in mandra , madhya madhya or or?).t¡ra t¡ra and inof mandra and
and sometimes in all three, it is said to be bahubha´g¢ (many-postured). He then proceeds to define madhura define madhura as as sweet quality of the voice : snigdha snigdha is is emotive voice and not rough or dry even when high-pitched; ghana ghana voice is dense and correctly intones the notes; if it is sweet, lustrous and splendid in all three registers it is defined as tristh¡na¿°bh¢ .38 á¡r´gad®va the 38 :subject comprehensively. He describes as many as fifteen elements of voicetreats quality. i.i. M¤À¶a M¤À¶a is is pleasing to the ear (sensuous). ii. ii. Madhura Madhura (is (is sweet and) remains undistorted (and without broadening) in the three registers registers.. iii. C®h¡la C®h¡la is is high pitched, mature (bold), neither thick nor thin, sweet, appealing, polished and compct; it is possessed by female voices and till puberty in male voices (the difference in quality between the male, female voice was ascribed in medieval India to t o the development of a special bone or cartilege in the larynx in the male at adolescence which caused the voice to 'break'. iv. Tristh¡naka Tristh¡naka is is uniform in lustre etc. throughout the three registers. v. Sukh¡vaha Sukh¡vaha is is pleasing to the mind. vi. Pracura vi. Pracura is is heavy, thick. vii. K°mala vii. K°mala is is tender like the voice of the koil the koil . viii. G¡·ha G¡·ha is is strong. ix. ár¡vaka ár¡vaka (clearly) (clearly) audible afar. x. Karu¸a x. Karu¸a illumines illumines the listener's mind with pathos or compassion. compassion. xi. Ghana Ghana is is compact, dense, audible afar. xii. Snigdha Snigdha is is audible afar, neither thick nor thin, not harsh or rough, is unctuous. xiii. álakÀ¸a is smooth, polished, continuous like the strand of oil. xiv. Raktiyukta xiv. Raktiyukta is is full of appeal, generates attraction. xv. Chavim¡n Chavim¡n is is faultless, lustrous. Further, á¡r´gad®va borrows the concepts of ten qualities of song i.e. singing, from N¡rad¡'s áikÀ¡ áikÀ¡ but but modifies them or adopts them to the autonomy of music.40 i. Vyakta Vyakta is is clarity in articulation of syllable, word, svara word, svara and and r¡ga r¡ga.. ii. ii. P£r¸a P£r¸a is is being replete with (all) organs of the song, with with gamaka gamaka and and in prosodial structure. iii. iii. Prasanna Prasanna is is instantaneous intelligibility of meaning. iv. Sukum¡rat¡ Sukum¡rat¡ is is tenderness t enderness of voice. v. Ala´k¤ta v. Ala´k¤ta is is extensivity in the three registers. vi. Sama Sama is is equitable distribution of registers in syllabic (? melodic phraseoloy)) content and in rhythm content. phraseoloy vii. the Surakta fusion ion of voice with the tones ooff the v¢¸¡ and flute. is complete fus
viii. álakÀ¸a álakÀ¸a is is smoothness in (all) the registers and (all) the tempi. ix. Vik¤À¶a Vik¤À¶a is is high-pitched pronunciation. x. Madhura Madhura has has abundant charm and popular appeal. Demerit in a singing voice is regarded as the absence of merit. However, á¡r´gad®va is explicit and detailed on this subject also. 41 He lists them as lacking in resonance, harshness roughness or brittleness) lacking in appeal (i.e. in colouring the mind), (dryness, hollowness, distortion in intonation (vaisvarat¡), (vaisvarat¡ ), thinness (reediness), grating karka¿a) (karka¿a) etc. Thus attributes or elements in good quality or bad quality in singing voice may be resolved along the psycho-physical, psychophysiologicall and psycho-acoustical physiologica psycho-acoustical dimensions.
4. Suggestions It is evident from the foregoing that medieval Indian music theory postulated a model of the singing voice based on both theoretical t heoretical and empirical consider consideration ation such as i. Enunciation of postulates of fundamental body constitution and relating them to behavioural patterns. ii. Correlating these postulates and therefore the behavioural patterns to broad voice types. iii. Characterising each voice type in terms of quality attributes or elements. iv. Deriving a naturally occurring voice quality, a desirable / required or undesirable voice quality as a specific combination of these elements. This model may be further validated by introducing further objective parameters and verificatory or predictive procedures. Thus each of the above attributes elements couldon bethe related analysis to trid°Àa acoustic correspondences corresponde such as spectralor characteristics one by hand and to trid°Àa regulation on nces the other. This would require psychoacous psychoacoustic tic characteris characterisation ation fully of specific aspects of voice quality such as brightness, dullness, heaviness, sharpness, nasality, denseness, logate etc. and would require further development of experimental procedures to modify by therapeutic or other methods, to induce desired optimal condition of trid°Àa.. trid°Àa This naturally leads to the concepts of voice-engineering voice-engineering and voice therapy : a) development of corrective procedures at physiological level by manipulating or modifying various attributes of elements of voice quality so that the latter would closely approximate to desired or required condition within limits of natural resources or endowments; b) development of therapeutic procedures procedures, , medical and surgical by a judicious integration of knowledge and technology available in Ëyurv®da, Yun¡n¢,
Homeopathy and Allopathy; c) study of the effect of herbal formulae prescribed in textual traditions in both Indian music and Ëyurv®da; d) designing of appropriate vocal (music), respiratory etc. exercises to correct defects and to augment natural endowments in the light of existing methods in Hindustani music and Karnataka music. The needenough. for concerted and systematic endeavour emphasized I hope we would do something soon.in Indian music cannot be --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------References
1. á¡r´gad®va's Sa´g¢taratn¡kara Sa´g¢taratn¡kara,, 1.1.21 2. ibid. 1.1.25 3. e.g. Îkpr¡ti¿¡khyam e.g. Îkpr¡ti¿¡khyam,, ''V¡jasan®y¢ V¡jasan®y¢ Pr¡ti¿¡khyam, Pr¡ti¿¡khyam, Y¡jµavalkaya áikÀ¡ áikÀ¡ 4. Vide infra, section 3 5. Sathyanarayan, R; Voice Training in Indian Music in Sangeet Natak, No. 53-54, New Delhi, 1976, pp. 78-95 6. S°m®¿vara III, C¡lukya Sarvajµa, Sarvajµa, AbhilaÀit¡rtha-c AbhilaÀit¡rtha-cint¡ma¸i int¡ma¸i , 4.16.51-53 7. Su¿ruta, Su¿ruta SaÆhit¡ 3.4.80 SaÆhit¡ 3.4.80 8. Caraka, Caraka SaÆhit¡ 1.28.41 SaÆhit¡ 1.28.41 9. ibid. 4.6.4 10. Su¿ruta, op.cit. 1.46.533 (Kashi SaÆsk¤ta Series, 1973) 11. Caraka op. cit. 1.28.4-5 12. V¢rar¡j®ndra, Kalala, Sakalavaidya SakalavaidyasaÆhit¡ saÆhit¡ S¡r¡r¸ava pt. S¡r¡r¸ava pt. 1, p. 16 13. Trivikrama Pa¸·ita cit. Pa¸·ita cit. V¢rar¡j®ndra, Kalala, op.cit. p. 17 14. Su¿ruta, op.cit. áar¢ra-sth¡na áar¢ra-sth¡na 4. 4. 64-67 15. Ramachandra Rao, S.K. (ed. tr.) Ëyurv®davalli tr.) Ëyurv®davalli N¡·¢vijµ¡na N¡·¢vijµ¡na,, p. 102