Vocal Chords: Jaime Jones talks about the voice in Carnatic and Hindustani cultures

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Ethnomusicologist, specialising in North Indian Music, Jaime Jones talks to us about the importance of the voice in Carnatic and Hindustani cultures and even shares with us the unique vocal experience she has while on a trip to India.

© Athena Media Ltd.

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Transcript:

00:00

Jaime Jones: There are systems present in both Hindustani and Carnatic music that really mean that you always learn to sing what you’re playing before you actually play it on the instrument. Em and that’s something musicians emphasise over and over again and this extends to really all kinds of instrumental performance. So for example, I was learning to play a drum when I was in India and all of the rhythmic syllables, there’s a very complex system of kind of syllabic notation for these drumming patterns and before I was allowed to actually touch the drum, the first thing I had to do was learn to recite a certain number of these, they’re called bowls which just means word.

00:37

So, an example of that would be.... *makes drumming pattern noise*, for example. Which you would then be able to imitate on the drum em and one of the very funny things is that I’ve heard several musicians say, y’know, it’s really unclear if these syllables are imitating the sounds of the drum or if in fact the drum is imitating the sounds of the voice.

1:03

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jaime Jones

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Nov 05, 2014, 01:33 PM
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