South Indian "Gamaka" and the Violin Author(s): Gordon N. Swift Source: Asian Music, Vol. 21, No.

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VolumeXXI,number2

ASIANMUSIC

1990 Spring/Summer

SOUTH INDIAN GAMAKA AND THE VIOLIN
by

Gordon N. Swift Introduction
On first hearing the violin played in the South Indian classical (Carnatic)style, listeners often remark how well instrument and music suit each other. The violin's unfretted fingerboard and player's relaxed left-had hold seem ideal for executing the various gliding and wavering gamaka(s) (ornaments) which characterize Carnatic raga. Investigation reveals a specific reason for this good fit: each type of gamaka matches a distinctive violin technique. This article is based on material drawn from the author's doctoral dissertation (1989), which explores the thesis that types of melodic ornamentation shared by South Indian and other musics can be matched with shared principles of violin fingering. This correspondence helps to explain why the violin appeals to the various peoples who have adopted it. And it accounts, at least in part, for the instrument's power as a vehicle of communication and influence between musical traditions. In particular, the three broad classes of modern South Indian
gamaka -- slides, deflections, and fingered stresses -- correspond to

the three types of left-hand movement which are intrinsic to the violin: shift, oscillation, and fingerfall. This parallel was key to the author's dissertation, and the present article describes it in detail.

Overview of Literature on Gamaka
The standard translations of gamaka as "ornament" (used in this paper) and "embellishment" are both inadequate, to the extent that they suggest something incidental added on to what is fundamental. For gamaka is itself a fundamental element of raga. Gamaka performs an integral, rather than decorative function in Indian music. Theoretically, one can define a svara simply

This content downloaded from 119.40.120.195 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

the effort to convey such intricate. For the gamaka builds up a relationship with neighbouring members of the family [of svara(s)]to the right and to the left..120..are the subtle shadings of a tone. This dynamic quality leads the contours of a particular gamaka to vary from one context to another.. When a South Indian musician does use notation. As an organic manifestation of riga. Its subtle and variable nature makes gamaka highly problematic. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and resolving notes -. (Shankar 1968:23) Gamaka animates a svara. Letters represent the svara(s) which This content downloaded from 119. it serves only as an aid in remembering a piece already learned by hearing and imitating another musician. And this is especially true of the densely ornamented Carnatic style. or gamaka. A detailed notation of gamaka isn't needed. or grace notes -. (Ayyangar 1972:148). depending on the preceding and succeeding svara(s). embellishing. they seem to grow out of it. imparting motion and life to the scale degree.72 1990 AsianMusic. Gamaka is what gives a raga its unique character. but a scale degree and all its associated melodic movement. fluid melodic movement by means of fixed-pitch signs may seem quite futile.the many different ways of sounding. but in practise a svara is properly defined only when taking into consideration the gamaka(s) traditionally associated with it. in any notation of Indian music.40. delicate nuances and inflections around a note that please and inspire the listener . At times. Svara is not a discrete note in Western terms.. (Viswanathan 1974:1/150) So svara and gamaka are intimately linked. gamaka has affective power. and can directly influence the listener's state of mind. at best.195 on Sun.. The moment a gamaka clothes the Swarasthana [note position in the octave].. The ornaments are not arbitrarily attached to a melody.Spring/Summer as a scale degree . The gamakas. rather. the latter is quickened into life.

te Nijenhuis reproduces Somanatha's ornaments and musical examples in Western staff notation.) This content downloaded from 119. (In a related effort. discussing the ornaments in terms of modern music and the technique of the modern v7na (Powers 1959: 1/127-128). On the other hand. often using symbols attached to svara letters. A major advance in the written description of gamaka(s) came in Somanatha's Raga-vibodha (1609). gives examples fifty-one rega(s) in svara-letter notation.with modern ornaments. Over the past four centuries they have proposed various solutions to the notation of gamaka(s). Nijenhuis correlates some of Somanatha's gamaka(s) with Sarafigadeva's. Ranganayaki has conducted an exhaustive comparison (1981) of the gamaka(s) of the Rafga-vibodha with earlier and later compilations of ornaments. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Swift: SouthIndianGamakaand the Violin 73 form the main structure of the melody.120.the fretted plucked lute which has been an emblematic Indian instrument from ancient times. According to Harold Powers. "this section is the only example before modern times of any Indian music in notation sufficiently detailed to be interpreted at all" (ibid. Sararigadeva describes many of his gamaka(s) in terms of their execution on the v7na -. But so little is known now about the actual sound of this period's music that modern writers can only make free interpretations of Sararigadeva'sdefinitions. theorists have long labored to notate this music as accurately as possible. E. Sararigadeva lists fifteen gamaka(s)in this Sangita-ratnikara. But the symbolized gamaka(s) must first have been defined and distinguished from each other. and these summon up the appropriategamaka(s)in the musician's memory. Writing in the early thirteenth century. Somanatha describes the execution (vadana-bheda) of the corresponding and he musical of ornaments. V. In her study (1976) of this chapter of the Rfga-vibodha. the most important musical treatise of India's medieval period.40. and translates his detailed ornament descriptions (1976:2/64-67).195 on Sun. The famous fifth chapter of this work lists twenty-three symbols for use in Vif2anotation.:1/40).

195 on Sun. Vidya further describes this set of ten ornaments in an article on gamaka symbols in notation (Vidya 1943).74 AsianMusic. That is. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Diksitar's work attempted to reconcile the fifteen gamaka(s) of the written theoretical tradition with ten from the oral tradition.) According to Ranganayaki. deflections (gamaka) and fingered stresses (janta ). The functional slide connects two significant pitch areas in a phrase. using the threefold grouping first described by Subbarama Diksitar. The preface of this work discusses violin technique in some detail and will be referenced below. and it will be the central feature in the discussion of violin technique here. he describes them in terms of v7na technique.120. he lists fifteen. Like Sarafigadeva. The three classes are: slides (jfru or ullasita). but assigns symbols to only ten (Ranganayaki1981:345) Mrs.S. Subbarama Diksitar's Sanglta-sampradaya-pradarsin7 (1904) is a treasury of compositions in the family tradition of its author's great(1775-1835). or the release of a final note. the saint-singer Muttusvamy DIiksitar the younger DIlksitar introduced a new threefold classification of ornaments. but this doesn't mean that the ornaments applied only to that instrument.as in the attack of an initial note. with symbols. Ayyar (1955) of compositions by Tyagaraja (the most famous Carnatic saint-singer. "It would appear .Spring/Summer 1990 Somanatha's twenty-three ornaments include a striking variety of sounds and musical events. S.. Powers divides the slides (jfru) into functional and stylistic types.. (Note that the more specific meaning of gamaka here should not be confused with its use as a general term for all ornamentation. in a collection by C. He This content downloaded from 119. His grouping was taken up by later writers. In his dissertation on the South Indian tradition (1959) Harold Powers analyzes the melodic functions of a similar set of ten ornaments. that by Somanatha's time the v7na had acquired a style of performance similar and comparable to that of the voice" (Ranganayaki1981:232). 1767-1847). while the stylistic slide involves a single significant pitch -. Seven of the ornaments appear yet again.40. In this work uncle.

195 on Sun. In her dissertation. Ranganayaki discusses ten ornaments know in the oral as opposed to the literary tradition (1981: 343). those which contribute to melodic movement. and ravai or brika (turns and mordants).7).jjru .stress from above on repeated tones Khandippu.momentary flick.jfru .40.120.Swift: South Indian Gamaka and the Violin 75 divides the deflections (gamaka) into three types: those which serve to prolong a note.oscillation Orikai . Her third type exemplifies Diksitar's fingered stresses.turn from above Sphurita . and those which are specific to the technique of a particular instrument. so these represent the same three classes described above. stationary tones (Powers 1959:1/chap. The fingered ornaments (janta) he describes as stresses which emphasize relatively stable. His list is a distillation of the earlier writers' gamaka(s) together with Viswanathan's own knowledge as a preeminent performer and scholar. gamaka (shakes).descending slide Etra . 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . at the end of the main tone. to a higher tone Janta (Fingered stresses) Ravai .stress from above on successive (non-repeated) tones (Deflections) Odukkal . TABLE 1: Classification Of Carnatic Ornaments Jfru/Ullsita (Slides) Irakka .sharp dynamic accent Finally. in his ground-breaking work Rfga Alapana in South Indian Music (1974).stress from below on successive (non-repeated) tones Kampita . Viswanathan presents a similar list of ten ornaments with examples of each in svara-letter form.ascending slide Gamaka Nokku . and these ten are treated here as the established modern ornaments This content downloaded from 119.stress from below on repeated tones Pratyjhata . She identifies three types as most important: Jaru (slides). T. V.

Shankar. Subramaniam. but also for the types which they represent. L. Remarks on technique in this article draw on direct study with. and Lalgudi Jayaraman. and Vadivelu (1810-1845). one of the Tanjore Quartet (four brothers. a slide. many of these modern gamaka(s) can be correlated with ornaments in the Raga-vibodha (Nijenhuis 1976:1/2-3). The left hand is thus freed from having to support the instrument as in the Western hold. a stress) are found even in the thirteenth-century Sang7ta-ratnikara. in second position it is a third above the open string.76 AsianMusic. several South Indian artists of the violin -including V. sitting cross-legged. all famous musicians).Spring/Summer 1990 (Viswanathan 1974: 1/152-153).40. where the scroll of the violin rests. Fingering Techniques in South Indian Violin This section discusses specific techniques by which the Carnatic violinist executes the various classes of ornament. Both men studied the Western style of playing the violin before going on to experiment with applying the instrument to their own music.T.N. And three of them (one from each of the three main groups: ullgsita.195 on Sun. (The author is a practicing violinist and a longtime student of Carnatic violin. or close observation of. So there emerges a line of continuity through seven hundred years of theoretical writing -. grouped for analysis by the author into the three broad classes. In first position the index finger is at an interval of a second above the open string.L. (The term "position"on the violin refers to the placement of the left hand relative to the end of the fingerboard. and the player moves with ease among the various positions. kampita. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . braces the instrument lightly between chest and hollow of the right ankle.) According to most accounts. the earliest master musicians to successfully adapt the violin to Carnatic music were Balasvamy Di ksitar (1786-1858).120. Thyagarajan. and sphurita.) This content downloaded from 119.not just for these three specific gamaka(s). disciple and younger brother of the saint-singer Muttusvamy Diksitar. As Nijenhuis points out. and so on. a deflection. The Carnatic violinist. Table 1 presents them. Krishnan.

These slides vary from quite short to very long.highly enriched with a sense of true notes without any dissonance . the fourth being restricted to the steel [i..120..40.. The 1-finger and the 2-finger technique now-a-days adopted in the first grip position on the four strings.) Various motions of the hand and fingers are used for the different classes of gamaka(s) The first class considered here is j-ru.. the highest] string only. has only one "finger. and fingered clusters which is found in the playing of today's concert artists (Benary 1971:38).. The usual grip positions used by the South Indian in European terminology are the 1st and the 3rd." yet this does not prevent vocalists from showing the raga in its true colors. the slides. C.. to the sophisticated blend of slides. The whole hand. oscillations.Swift: SouthIndianGamakaand the Violin 77 Barbara Benary (an accomplished player of both Western and South Indian classical violin) has traced the development of left-hand technique during the century-and-a-half since the violin's assimilation into the Carnatic tradition. If only one or two fingers are used. and are usually executes on the violin by one finger as it tracks a movement of the forearm up or down the violin neck. (Of course it could be argued that the voice itself.. (Ayyar 1955: iii) The passage invokes a standard justification for using all four fingers of the left hand: this preserves the integrity of the various svara(s) in the rJga.195 on Sun..destroying by "dissonance"the true colors of the raga. then a slide from one svara to another blurs together all the intervening pitches .e. Ayyar comments on a typical method in the preface to his Tyagaraja collection: The fingering technique with 4 fingers enables one to produce the gamakas . it includes etra-jgru (ascending) and irraka-jaru (descending). through a slide-based ("two-finger") style.S. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . thumb This content downloaded from 119.. after which instrumentalists model their playing. I regret to add. She describes a progression from the initial style which used mostly discrete fingered notes in the Western manner (the "four-finger" style). entirely kills the emission of the full and pure tone of the violin .

A crucial element here is the thumb's movement. It must take over smoothly from finger one.. Finger one slides up to cover most of the interval between its former position and the place where finger two will be. According to Benary.78 1990 AsianMusic. the wrist is the foremost source of motion for the wide variety of oscillations. rolls.195 on Sun. Only here the motions are much slower and more deliberate. two svaras are connected by a gamaka. The deflections are usually executed without changing position. The smooth transition between the two fingers is accomplished by a rolling motion of the wrist. in which the oscillation is so narrow that (as in western vibrato) it does not impinge on either of the This content downloaded from 119. the slide leads to and ends in a new area of melody elaboration. that is. or by rolling a fingertip (or a group of adjacent fingertips acting as a unit) forward and backward. in the western technique. If . although this may not be obvious in very short slides. kampita. They include nokku.Spring/Summer included. It is the same motion by which. But finger two cannot come down sharply. These are often termed "deflections.gamaka -"the most characteristic of South Indian music" (1959:1/149). and short slides which comprise the deflection class. Powers calls the ornaments of the second class -. by sliding the entire hand back and forth between two positions. In some mordant-like ornaments. they should blend into a continuous sound.40. instead these ornaments are produced by short slides up and down the string." after the associated v7na technique of deflecting or pulling the string sideways to modulate the pitch. with the thumb stationary. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .120. the hand (with thumb) returns immediately to its former position. odukkal. (Benary 1971:73) All manner of kampita(s) are made with this general motion. But some broad kampita(s) (oscillations) may be played on just one finger.. moves with the finger in an outright shift from one position to another. in other cases. On the violin no such technique exists. They range from the microtonal. The fingers are touching sides and their tips are adjacent. and orikai. hand vibrato is made.

And khandippu. the ten ornaments do not fall neatly each into one class as depicted in Table 1. The violinist produces janta(s) with fingers placed precisely along the string at scale degrees of the raga. This content downloaded from 119. or more fingers. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for example) can be sounded quickly. The goal is always to transform the sequence of finger-contacts into a continuous glide. pratyahata. The microtonal kampita may be executed by one finger alone. Thus the different tones involved (in a turn. distinctly. rolling on its tip. The third class of ornament is janta. the fingered stresses. rather than placed together with sides touching as for deflections. the middle one of the three joins in the rolling contact with the string. and more motion among individual fingers. or by two fingers lying very close together. he prefers to keep the lower finger in its place and to slide through the entire interval with the higher finger. He strives for less motion in the wrist and hand. Subramaniam. and khandippu. to the broad wave whose limits are an interval of a third apart. and in tune.120. The larger waves may use one. When three fingers are used.195 on Sun. in an oscillation between one note and another a whole tone distant. depending on the size of the interval and on the player's fingering style. while ensuring accurate intonation by fixing one of the limits of the oscillation (personal communication). a variation can be seen in the technique of L. but their typical execution (by rolling or sliding) puts them in the deflection class rather than among the crisp fingered stresses. His explanation for this technique is that it allows the hand as a whole to remain calm and relaxed. This description applies to the playing of most violinists. these include sphurita.Swift: SouthIndianGamakaand the Violin 79 neighboring half-tones. Orikai too has attributes of both deflection and stress. ravai. a dynamic accent which is classed with the fingered stresses. two.40. nokku and odukkal are described there as stresses. rather than by simply fingering the upper limit of the ornament. For instance. For example. A broad kampita executed on just one finger partakes of slides as well as deflection. may be executed on the violin with an explosive slide or roll up and then back down again. In practice.

120. while profuse as in Carnaticmelody. Since vibrato is an oscillation. and oscillation -. And vibrato is an example.) in Violin:Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin (1971).114).emphasizingsome and underplaying music. consist mostly of trills.40. the deflections. grace notes. and arpeggiatedfigures -.represented chiefly by vibrato. And they correspond to the three classes of Carnatic ornamentation.shifting and vibratowill be seen to be not only related.but to proceedfrom a wavingaction. and oscillationsare less various.195 on Sun.these "mainfunctions"are the three intrinsicmotions identifiedabove. And the ornamentsof the Persian classical style. each violin style uses a particularblend of these others.Spring/Summer 1990 Intrinsic Elements in Violin Fingering This section describesleft-handmotions which are intrinsicto the violin -. But the author'sstudy of violin and fiddle styles in several musics around the world has failed to uncover other motions so basic as the ones describedhere.fingerfall. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .ratherthan the sinuous slides and oscillationsof the South Indianstyle (Zonis1973:109. Of course. thus eliminatingshifts.and correlates them with the classes of Carnaticgamaka. within a very narrow compass. He observes that "the three main functions of fingerfall. In some fiddle styles. This This content downloaded from 119. like jaru.all discrete pitches -. Most of the sources quoted here on techniquebelong to the Europeanclassical tradition. Fingerfall is the motion involved in janta. This is because Western classical violinist-teachershave written the most detailed works on violin technique. uses a sliding movement up or down the fingerboard. In Carnatic techniques.Most pitches in western classical music are of the discrete type. The key used here to identify common elements in different violin styles is the concept of wave motion describedby violinist and teacher YehudiMenuhin(1916. shifts and oscillations are more common than the discrete fingered pitches of janta(s). the player remainsentirely in first position. of the motion used in gamaka.80 AsianMusic. those stresses and turns which are fingered as in Western music. Shifting.varyingin amplitudefrom a narrow vibrationto a broadscope"(1971:108). shift.

Likewise.the trill. but it is ever-present. an ornamentwhich partakesof both fingerfall and vibrato movements. elbow at the center.:109-110) Menuhin analyzes the physical movements involved in fingerfall. saying goodbyeto yourself. To introduce a circular swing into the continuingwaving of the hand. At these moments the wave acquires a circular or rotating quality. The rotationstend to alternate... the wave movement now becoming smaller and faster to resemblean oscillatingpivot movement" (ibid.on the violin the wave motion manifests itself in rotating gestures along the fingerboard. in which the wrist and the fingertip on a stopped note act in This content downloaded from 119. repeatedback-and-forth And plain fingered notes are produced through even subtler rotations.add a sideways oscillationof the elbow and arm (ibid. This alternatingmovement is most easily seen in oscillating ornamentslike vibrato and Carnatickampita.moving in one direction and then back in the oppositedirection. offering no resistance.195 on Sun..Swift: South IndianGamakaand the Violin 81 match betweenmusicalstyle and instrumental techniqueis what gives the violin such a naturalplace in the Carnatic ensemble.:122). 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Oscillations are rotationson a smallerscale. as when the top of a breakingocean wave curls down towardthe beach while the bottom is sucked up and out. "grows naturally out of our exercises in waves. and wave it as if instrument.shifting. For example: A shift may be thoughtas a largerotationin which the forearm serves as radius. See that the wrist and fingers are completelysoft.40. Each time the hand changesdirectionin the whip-likemotion describedabove. Now induce a passive waving of the hand by moving your forearm back and forth . fingers and wrist move contraryto each other. The reader may easily experiencethe basic wave motion by directions: followingMenuhin's Hold the left hand in the playing position. For example. without the with loose wrist.120.and vibrato.to show they all derivefrom this wave motion.palm facing you.

Fine movementsof the wrist muscles accompanyand oppose these finger motions: on fingerfall the wrist bends very slightly away from the player. The holding of the This content downloaded from 119. by working with the wave in its various magnitudes or frames of reference. Their results are presentedaccordingto a nowfamiliar threefolddivisionof muscle actions involvedin stopping(i. The Physiology of Violin Playing (1971)by Otto.e.Spring/Summer oppositionto each other. the physiology of Carnatic violin playing is somewhatdifferent from that of Westernplayingbecauseof different posturesand holds.40. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (Szende and Nemessuri1971:73) It is their common origin in the wave motion that links the three left-hand functions together.120.vibrato(oscillation).they observed muscles and nerves involved in playing the violin. To fill out these connections. and with holdingthe instrumentsecurely but without tension. Using electromyography-. the physiologists conclude that the various muscle functions are interrelated: a student's progressin learningany one function is dependenton progressin the others.82 1990 AsianMusic. The authorknows of no such scientific study of muscle movements in the Indian hold. A student graduallygains more facility with each function.ly Nemessurigives a scientific basis to Menuhin's analysis. Table 2 summarizes this discussion. A falling finger is part of a rotationup the fingerboard(towardthe player).195 on Sun... To attain the thumb relaxing its clutch-like action [as in violin itself becomes really responsiveonly after vibrato and changes of position have been mastered. But the reader may acknowledge by now the coincidence between basic violin techniques and classes of Carnatic gamaka. In a comment to violin teachers. the stopping] constitutes a persistent problem . and changeof position(shift)."the automatic photo-registrationof muscle action potentials"-. fingerfall).and on fingerlift the wrist moves toward the player.while a rising finger is part of the reverse(awayfrom the player). Of course.. Szende and Mih.

Some Carnatic violinist use the fourth finger rarely or not at all. which is naturally the weakest. a little longer.rapidfingerfalland fingerlift in a vertical plane. Violin Technique. deserves special attention.and in 1756 he broughtthe first edition of A Treatiseon the FundamentalPrinciples of ViolinPlaying. Others.195 on Sun. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The fourth finger. Like janta. and Carnatic Ornament Class. build its strength through exercises and regular use. Wavemotion Great Medium Small Violintechnique Shift Oscillation Fingerfall Ornament class Jaru (Slides) Gamaka(Deflections) Janta (FingeredStresses) Motion involved in the janta ornaments are familiar to Westernviolinists: precise. executed while the hand as a whole remains in one position. the movementsof the jJru (slide)class of Carnatic ornamentshave their counterpartsin Western playing: portamento and glissando. because it is the weakest and shortest. There he gives timeless advice on the problemfourth finger: "This finger.Swift: South IndianGamakaand the Violin 83 remainder of the discussion here draws on comments by Western writers as well as on Carnatic practice.120. The Hungarian-born violin teacher Carl Flesch (18731944)discussesthese techniquesin his ViolinFingering(1966): This content downloaded from 119. and more useful" (1948:190). more expert. like Western classical player. TABLE 2. Relation Of Wave Motion. LeopoldMozart was esteemed in this time as a master violin teacher.must by unremittingly earnestpractisebe made stronger.40.

120. In fact. One practical consequence of this design is what Barbara Benary calls the "one-string aesthetic. Soviet violin teacherand musicologistI. Yampolsky makes the same (1905-1976) distinctionbetween glissandoand portamento. Yet slides are inherent in the violin by virtue of its fretless fingerboard. and second note are all made on one finger. in effect.195 on Sun. they merely representa technical necessity. slide. the lower finger sounds its note and slides into a new position. In one type.M. slides are constrainedsomewhatby concern that the instrumentnot fall while the thumbis in transitbetweenpositions. gives a particularexpressiveness to the sound. and he describesthree kinds of portamento. Portamenti.since they have no expressive value. all three kinds of portamento are types of slide.whetherit is audible as in portamentoand glissando. Since in the Westernhold the thumb is critical to supportingthe violin.It is. the jaru of Carnatic music. In anothertype. the first note. And in the third type. The unavoidable type is designatedglissando.or inaudibleas when the playershifts on one string while bowinga different(open)string. Further.the higher finger slides into its note as the hand arrives in the new position. similar to the expressiveeffect of portamentoin the human voice" (Yampolsky 1967:121). Commonto all is a movement of the whole hand along the violin neck.the higherfinger then dropping onto its note.the optional type portamento. produce a gliding sound by which the player deliberately connects two tones and intensifies their expressivepower.this may be a matter of either necessity or choice. "producedby the direct slide of the same finger from one note to the other.however. Glissandi accompany any change of Position in a series of rapid notes and shouldbe as inconspicuous as possible. The third type.any shift of positioninvolvesa slide -.Spring/Summer 1990 Whentwo tones are connectedby gliding.40. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (1966:329) In The Principles of Violin Fingering (1967)." a feature of her Carnatic violin teacher's style in which even wide-ranging phrases This content downloaded from 119.84 AsianMusic. after the lower finger'snote has sounded.

LeopoldMozart describes the same ideal: The position are used for the sake of elegance when notes which are Cantabileoccur closely together and can be played easily on one string. but also a more consistent and singing style of delivery. (1967:125) He recommends restrictingthe use of the fourth finger in such because of its comparativephysical weakness.Swift: SouthIndianGamakaand the Violin 85 were often played entirely on one string. These motions generallydo not involve outright shifts of position.:127). Not only is equality of tone obtained thereby. gamaka (deflections) involve motions which are exploited least in Western classical technique. limitationof the extent of vibratopossible. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . or slip furtherunderneath the neck at times.195 on Sun. In Cantilena (at slower tempi) it is possible to choose a fingeringwhich allows a greaternumberof shifts with the aim of increasing expressiveness . tend to use the fourth finger in fingeredstressesbut not in slides and oscillations. The fact that the thumbremainsbasicallyin place provides a feeling of security in the hold. and this in turn frees the playerfor othermovementsof the hand..(c) its unreliabilityin the higherpositions"(ibid.unless it is supported by the other fingers. Of the three classes of Carnatic ornaments. thoughit may well move from side to side. (1756:132) aesthetic"for cantilena Yampolskytoo invokesthe "one-string passages.40." This content downloaded from 119. (b) the "(a) passages.120.the "half shift. who play with a vocal or cantilenaideal most of the time. One should aim at preserving uniformity of timbre by playingthe phrasesas far as possible on one string..These are the very reasonswhy Carnatic violinists. Herethe thumbstays in positionon the violin neck. teacher and editor Ivan Galamian (1903-1981)describesa comparable motion in the Western hold . In Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching (1985).

g.the half shift.they are intrinsicto the instrument.Spring/Summer 1990 In the half shift. the thumb does not change its place of contact with the neck of the violin. relatively rapid oscillation -. Shifts (e. vibrato takes its place as a very narrow. This type of motion.rolls..janta. Properly applied. it can greatly promote facility and security. Oscillations (e. But the player is usually taught to think of vibratoas a naturalattributeof every tone sustainedlong enough to be vibrated.gamaka. though it may bend or stretch.the deflections) are executed by rolls or short slides with the thumb in place.and by bendingand stretchingpermitsthe hand and fingers to move up or down into other positions.g. which include oscillating ornaments.and oscillationsof variouswidths. These links help to account for the violin'srapidassimilationinto the Carnaticensemble.120.195 on Sun. Every classicallytrained Western violinist has a physical understanding of this oscillating movement.. the slides) are made with a sliding movement of the whole hand.g. fingers. When viewed instead as a specific ornament(as it was before the nineteenth century).to a new position. family comprising Conclusion This article has described Carnatic gamaka types and has correlated them with distinctive violin techniques. (1985:23-24) The deflections. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .86 AsianMusic.40. Instead it remains anchored. And fingerfall (e. can be used in many instanceswhere the fingers have to move into another position for a few notes only.the thumbremaining This content downloaded from 119. These has correlatedthem with distinctiveviolin techniques.just one member of a large shakes. Vibrato is a prime example. Carnaticjaru. includingthe thumb.clearly displaythe wave motion which permeatesboth Carnaticand Western violin technique. the fingered stresses) is accomplishedwith crisp stopping and release of the stringby individual still. These motions are of three types.. The techniques discussed representthe basic left-hand motions which may be used in playing the violin in whateverstyle -. and for its enduring popularity there.

Benary. supportis unstableuntil it comes to rest again.This is one example of how the violin.using the half-shift as a source of security in the hold -. Madras: AnandaPress. This content downloaded from 119.Subbarama 1904 (Telugu).S. and oscillationsof variouswidths and speeds.may itself act as a vehicle of practical communication betweenthem. through far-flung adaptations to different musics of the world. 1955 108 Kritis of Tyagaraja: Text and Notation (Devanagari). This constraintis due to the role of the Westernplayer'sthumb in supportingthe instrument: wheneverthe thumbmoves. There is no way that a violinist working in the westernhold can achievethe free fluidity of left-handmovementthat is possible in the Carnaticplayingposition.195 on Sun.A. References Cited R.can enhance any violinist'sease and confidencein movingaboutthe instrument. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Swift: SouthIndianGamakaand the Violin 87 This study has an implicationfor Westernviolinists who want to developelementsof techniquewhich may have been underplayed in their own training.C. 1972 Music from Vedic Historyof South Indian(Carnatic) the to Present. thesis. Barbara 1971 "The Violin in South India. Wesleyan University.With an English Preface. Times Aryabhushan Ayyar.40. Diksitar. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar.120. Poona: Press. EttayapuSangTta-sampradfya-pradarsini ram: Vidyavilasini Press."M. But experimentationwith the techniques described here -audibleslides.

N. Ann Arbor. English adaptationby Boris Schwarz. This content downloaded from 119. Ph. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .40. Sarangadeva 1945 by C.120. 1959 "TheBackground of the South IndianRaga-system". Powers. Translated Madras: The AdyarLibrary. PrincetonUniversity.Leopold A Treatise on the Fundamental 1948 Principlesof Violin Translated Edith Knocker.88 AsianMusic. Te Nijenhuis. Cliffs.diss.Mich.. E. With a Forewordby London:BarrieandRockliff. 2d ed. Ivan Galamian. Carl 1966 ViolinFingering:Its Theory and Practice.HaroldS.195 on Sun.: Prentice-Hall.D. Brill.Spring/Summer 1990 Flesch.J. YehudiMenuhin.diss.University of Pennsylvania. London: Oxford UniversityPress.J..New York: Viking Mozart. Leiden:E. Ragavibodha Ph. 2 vols.: Microfilms. With a Postscript by Elizabeth A. KunhanRoja. University V. Ranganayaki. Green. SangTta-ratnakara. 1971 Violin:Six Lessonswith Yehudi Menuhin. 1981 "Gamaka and Vadanabheda: A Study of Somanatha's in Historicaland Practical Context".D.H. Englewood Yehudi Menuhin. 1985 Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching. 1976 The Ragasof Somanatha. by Preface by Alfred Einstein. With a Playing.

D. Gordon 1989 "The Violin as Cross-cultural Vehicle: Ornamentation in South Indian Violin and Its Influence on a Style of Western Violin Ph. 1974 "RagaAlapanain South IndianMusic". UniversityPress. Translated by I. Swift. 31 Mar 2013 21:19:53 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . WesleyanUniversity. Zonis.Wesleyan Improvisation". Szende.diss. With an English SangTta-swayambodhini Introduction. 1943 "Gamaka Sign in Musical Notation. London: OxfordUniversityPress.M.M. Ravi Shankar. London: Collett's Vidya.D. Venkatesa 1892 (Telugu).T. Cambridge: Harvard This content downloaded from 119.195 on Sun.Madras:LawrenceAsylumPress.My Life. Ella 1973 Classical Persian Music.Swift: South IndianGamakaand the Violin 89 Sastri. With a Preface by David Oistrakh.120.diss." Journalof the Music Academy (Madras) 14: 117-121.S.. T. Ph. Translatedby 1967 Alan Lumsden.40. New York: SimonandSchuster. I. Yampolsky. Viswanathan. N. The Principles of Violin Fingering.. Szmodis.Otto and MihalyNemessuri 1971 The Physiologyof ViolinPlaying. University. 1968 My Music.

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