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Concert


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Pandit Kartik Seshadri, sitar
Saturday, April 27th, 2019
7:30 pm
Conrad Prebys Concert Hall
General Admission: $15.50
UCSD Faculty, Staff, Alumni: $10.50
Students : Free with ID
MUSIC Box Office: 858-534-3448
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Sitar master Kartik Seshadri performs classical Indian ragas in the tradition of his mentor, legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar.

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Indian classical music known as Raga Sangeeth, is an improvised art form based on the concepts of Raga and Tala. The historical origins of this spiritual musical tradition date back to the sacred Hindu scriptures known as Veda(s), which were the early precursors to the system of music that developed gradually. Raga(s) are the tonal idiom for improvisation and these precise melodic forms while essentially modal in structure, acquire their distinct musical
identities from a complex range of factors: the Indian tonal system of perceiving the octave as 22 microtonal divisions (Sruti); the subtle nuances, inflections, and ornamentations associated with each Raga; and the particular emphasis of certain notes (Vadi, Samavadi) within the specific ascending and descending (Arohana and Avarohana) movement of each
Raga. While all Raga(s) are specific to the time of the day (morning, evening or night) some Raga(s) are performed only during certain seasons, festivals or special occasions. The melodic and rhythmic aspect of our tradition is completely consistent with our aesthetic and philosophical idea that each Raga expresses a single dominant mood (Rasa). The nine
Rasa(s) associated with our music are: Shringara (sensuous or erotic), Hasya (humorous), Karuna (pathos), Rudra (anger), Veera ( heroic), Bhayanaka (fearful), Vibhatsa (disgust), Adbhuta (wonderment) and Shanta (tranquility).

The second aspect of improvisation in Indian classical music pertains to the concept of rhythm known as Tala. A Tala is conceptualized in cycles of beats ranging anywhere from a three beat cycle to a 108 beat cycle. There are other complex cycles in fractional beats such as 41⁄2, 61⁄2, 111⁄2 to mention a few, that make for complicated improvisations. An accomplished musician of Indian classical music has to develop complete mastery and facility over both Raga and Tala to acquire the total freedom of improvisation within the complex constraints that Raga and Tala impose on the performer. Indian classical music is predominantly steeped in melody and rhythm as opposed to the ideas of contrast manifested in harmony, counterpoint and modulation which shape traditions such as European art music or Jazz. The challenge of our music lies in the musician’s ability to shape and develop an entire musical edifice of a Raga and to express its fullest depth and excitement. This is acquired through many years of Talim (training) with a master musician (Guru).

A typical performance of instrumental Indian classical music begins with Alap, Jor and Jhala rendered on the solo instrument such as Sitar, Sarod, etc. While the Alap is a slow, spiritual, non- metric rendition of the Raga, the following sections Jor and Jhala are somewhat free and bound to a more defined pulse. The Gat (theme) follows the previous sections and it is in this section that the concept of Tala is introduced and the accompanying percussion instrument (such as Tabla or Pakhawaj) joins the main instrument.

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