by David Courtney working tools

Ornamentation is essential to the proper performance of the rag.  When one hears Indian music, it is the ornaments which first make an impression.  However, this is a confusing subject.  The concept implies a technique which is used for artistic reason yet not necessarily of theoretical importance.  This is usually the case, however there are many instances where such ornamentation is a defining characteristic of the rag.  This is when the ornament is part of the pakad.

Here are some common ornaments.  Meend is the most common; it is basically a slide or glissandoAndolan is another common ornament; this may be described as a slow vibratoKrantan is a purely instrumental ornament; this may be described as a hammering action of the left hand against the fret.  Krantan is often used on the sarod or sitar.  Notes may also be sharpened or flattened.  Rags such as Todi or Darbari Kanada use lower forms of some notes as part of their definition.  In many other cases these are mere ornaments and have no theoretical significance.




Selected Video

Sitar: meend technique




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For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at david@chandrakantha.com