Brhaddhvani’s cross-cultural program is rather to open the doors of performing musical traditions to each other in order that we grow together as one progressive world music culture with a growing respect for each other. All skills and styles complement each other. Learning the relationship between the vina and the voice for example is mutually beneficial for performers of either.
In making cultures cross, we recognise the spirit of the cultures in its movement. The strength of the program lies in the Indian musical tradition itself. COMET brings a perspective that is traditional in its content but contemporary in its approach. The contemporariness is from the objectivity in music.
Students come from different backgrounds with different kinds of demands on them to learn COMET. The result, the world’s musicians are able to quickly perceive the deeper aspects of the essentials in Indian music as a whole and Karnatak music in particular. The interactive practical work among the musicians helps build a corpus of interesting cross-cultural compositions.
Improvisatory music is a term used in music where there is spontaneity in performing without a preplanned structure. However, in the world’s music cultures improvisation has played a great part. When what is improvised is played many times, the individual aesthetics begin to be more and more pronounced and at one point in time, it becomes compositional. Western classical music has come to be understood as compositional with a fixed structure for performance with a precise notation indicating how a particular melody supported by harmony should be played. However, Western classical music had also passed through the improvisatory stages.
The American jazz idiom comes close to Indian music primarily due to its improvisatory nature. Many Carnatic musicians have played with Jazz musicians because of this commonality. Although there are very few exceptions, in most cases, the Jazz musicians borrow the ideas of rhythmic and scalar based improvisations and bring in improvisations that bluntly suggest the typical characteristics of Indian raga and tala concepts. On the other hand, COMET brings in the Indian musical concepts, in such a way that a newer path in improvisation both for the Jazz musicians and Indian musicians is thrown open. This way a more unified improvisatory procedure is evolved.
COMET is the ideal framework for the meeting of like minds across artistic, cultural, and intellectual boundaries.
Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III
The vision of Brhaddhvani is to provide space for the study of musical traditions including Western Classical. The classical music tradition of the West is a world phenomenon. There are many institutions in India where Western classical music is taught. Our idea of an inclusive study of Western music is to provide opportunities for traditional performers to access and interact with Western classical musicians to expand their knowledge and experience.
I have been struck by the great emphasis that the system places on the re-integration of all these skills into a unified, comprehensive musicianship.
Prof. Eero Hämeenniemi
Experimental music is an area that has little attention in traditional cultures such as India. Music as a social phenomenon needs acceptance by society for its survival. As a principle, we, at Brhaddhvani, believe that there should be space for experiments in music. Creative musicians do experiments but mostly in enhancing the music they practice. They seldom dare beyond certain boundaries. The conception of music in traditional cultures will have to change in order to be accepted in society. At best such experiments may attract very few individuals. Music as compositions or productions of ‘sound and non-sound’ with materials that are not traditionally recognized as musical instruments is quite a new concept. Brhaddhvani, with its World music vision, encourage experiments in music.
COMET, as I see it, is based on modern insights into the psychology of creative processes and music making.
Prof. Hans Neuhoff
Finnish composer Eero Hämeenniemi shares his perspective on Brhaddhvani’s work.