Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notes for Indian Music

The Northern and Southern Traditions

The Indian music tradition is divided into the North ( Hindustani ) and South Indian ( Karnatic ) traditions.

Some instruments of the Hindustani tradition:
- Seetha ( or Sitar )
- Tabla
- Serangi
- Sarut.

Some instruments of the Karnatic tradition:
- Violin ( An European-based instrument. It is played when the musician is seated )
- Flute
- Veena
- Redangam.

Instrumental Classification

The 4 key instruments are: Sitar / Harmonium / Tabla / Violin

The Aerophonic instruments -
- The Harmonium is an European-based instrument.
- The Bansuri is a 6-hole flute.
- The Venu is an 8-hole flute.
- The Nadaswaran is a 9-hole flute.

The Chordophonic instruments -
- The Sarod
- The Seetha ( or Sitar )
- Tambura
- Veena

The Membranophonic instruments -
- Tabla ( played mainly or only by male musicians )
- Pakhwaj
- Kanjira
- Mridangam ( played mainly or only by male musicians )

An Idiophonic instrument -
- Ghatam

Raga, Talla and others

The Raga and Talla are the 2 basic elements in Indian music:
1) The Raga refers to the basic scalic system used.
2) The Talla refers to the fixed number of beats of each cycle used.

- Indian music expresses 9 fundamental moods.

- It corresponds also to the different times of the day.

- Sruti refers to the musical note sustained throughout a phrase. This is specially used in the Karnatic tradition.

The Sitar

The Sitar is a 20-string instrument.

It has 7 main strings. They are used to play the main melodic phrases.

The other strings are known as "Sympathetic Strings". They are used to play the embellishments or ornamentation of the piece.

The "mizraab" is attached to the Index and Pinky fingers to play the Sitar.


The Tabla

It is made up of two drums known as the Bayan and the Dayan.

The Bayan is made of wood while the Dayan is made of metal.



Traditionally, the teaching and learning Indian music is taught in a "Guru-Disciple" context.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Notes on Malay Music

Dear Students … these are the notes on Malay Music.

I have kept them as close as I could to the assessment.

Enjoy !!


Genres / General

Some genres related to Malay music are:

1) Joget

2) Wayang Kulit

3) Religious music

The “Serampang Laut” is:

1) a form of “Joget”

2) played in an ensemble consisting of instruments from varied


3) contains influences from the Portuguese, Indian, Chinese Dutch and

the British

Fusion music involves the use of instruments of different countries and is influenced by various cultures. It reflects the evolving nature of music in relation to societal development.


Western musical instruments such as the flute, violin, keyboard and others have been adopted into the Malay orchestra.

An idiophonic instrument makes music through percussive means.

The Rebana convey messages and news from different beats.

Wayang Kulit uses the Rebab as accompaniment during performance.

The Rebab is a bowed instrument.

The Gambas is a chordophonic instrument.

Feather quails are used by Gambas players in the past.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Most beautiful Hong Kong "OLDIES" !!

Do listen to this most beautiful song - your dear grandparents may know it:
Do look at the lyrics too .... they are so poetic !!
Mr Tan bb :)

National Anthems

Dear People,

More notes on chapter to be tested - the National Anthem

The general characteristics of anthems

Anthems usually involve simple rhythm and stepwise movements in their main melodic lines for their citizens to easier learn it.

Anthems involve significant intervals of 4s and 5s to project a sense of stability and "grandiosity".

Most anthems end in the Tonic for a sense of closure, finality.

Countries have anthems to forge a sense of unity and identity and to stir up pride amongst its people.

"That's all folks !!"


Dear people,

As requested, these are the notes for JAZZ ( !! ).

I have make them as succinct as i can so that it is easy for you guys to learn for the coming test.

Where it started
Jazz music started from the spiritual songs and work songs of African slaves in America.

Its relationship to other music forms
It influences many of the major music forms-genres including the pop, hip-hop and rock.

Many performers include jazz in their works and repertoire. Outstanding among them is B.B. King.

Technical aspects
The main melodic phrases of a jazz piece is carried mainly by what is known as the "12 Bar Blue Scale"

The accompaniment's harmonic progression of a typical jazz piece usually follows this pattern: 5 6 5 6 / 5 6 5 6 OR "Extended 5 - / Extended 5 -

Do listen to some samples of jazz integrated with say the rock or the pop if only for enjoyment !!
( You can get them from the You Tube !! )

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hanya Ingin Tau

Dear Students,

As promised, this is one of the favourite songs I heard while on a 9 hour long bus ride from Borobudur back to the historic city of Solo in Indonesia.

I literally explored cose to 20 You Tube postings of it but none could come close to the utter magic of listening to the Street Musician with his "ukelele" like instruments on ths bus and his slightly husky voice minus the perfect vocalisation-techniques.

Hope you will all like it !!

bb : )