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Letters

A historic breakthrough
in music research

Dr K Varadarangan: integrating music with mathematics Dear Sir,

Earlier, you had posed a question to me whether I believed in the 22 srutis of the Indian music system (you may kindly recollect that this question was part of an interview that appeared on the web and The New Indian Express). At that time I had replied that I did believe that these srutis exist as they are formed from the cycle of fourths and the cycle of fifths.

Recently, I made a remarkable discovery that the 22 srutis indeed exist and there is a solid mathetical basis for their existence. In fact these are directly derivable from the frequencies of the 12 srutis which we already have, and there is no need to resort to the indirect approach of the cycle of fourths and fifths. Nevertheless, the frequencies I have derived for the 22 srutis agree perfectly with those computed from the the cycles of fourths and fifths.

This in fact settles a major controversy going on for ages with each expert claiming a different number of srutis (within an octave). Kudos to those ancient musicologists who conceived of the perfect system of 22 sruti intervals purely through experiments with veenas, and with deep musical insight.

I strongly felt that I should share the joy of this dicovery with a person like you, who is striving to spread awareness about our music worldwide.

By the by, one of my old friends who is in the US and who had read your article about my work, was here some time back. He met me and congratulated me on my work and took two copies of my book for further study. I once again thank you immensely for your kind efforts in promoting my work.

Dr K Varadarangan
Bangalore

Read The Music Magazine's feature on Dr K Varadarangan's book

Pt Bhimsen Joshi: a letter to
Pt Madhav Gudi

Pandit Madhav Gudi: 25 years with a genius Namashkar Panditji,

I read your interview and agree wholeheartedly with it. I think Bhimsenji is not only a genius, but also deserves a Ph.D. for each of his raga rendition.

As an Indian living in the US, I take great pride and inspiration (in my livelihood) from the fact that Bhimsenji has explored the ragas so systematically and thoroughly. He has brought great gambheerya to the Kirana style.

Since I could not be in India, I'm trying to learn from his CDs (I think I have all his CDs). The songs are so evolved that it takes me weeks to even understand one vilambit...

Amongst contemprorary Hindustani musicians, I think he can be regarded as the true torch bearer of our classical music.
Actually, I am a composer myself and have just released a Kannada folk music cassette called Jane Ba Manege. I have used Raag Kalashree in one of the tunes. I hope to send it to you and Bhimsenji when we get the copies.

Sunderrajan Narasimhan

Marvellous review

The Munnudi album review says everything about the movie and the music with a bit about literature. The way you started it is marvellous. I don't think any newspaper reviewed Munnudi like this. Taranga magazine carried a feature where the writer failed to cover certain aspects which you highlighted.

One small doubt. You have mentioned P Seshadri as one of the four assistant directors of Mayamriga. I think it's just two. The other one is Nagendra Shah. Please check this out. On the whole the review is excellent.

Look forward to more Kannada music and movie reviews from you.

Vishakha
Bangalore

An offer from Austria

www.race.at was founded in 1999 by Georg Ragyoczy, Sasa Alexander Cekic and Waltraud Ragyoczy as the first legal European mp3 music-server. Since March 2000 we sell music on the net.

We provide music in a legal way on the net. We have a licensed contract with the Federal-Austrian-Music-Authority AKM and AUME. This guarantees the rights of musicans, writers, authors, labels...

How it works: send us your material (CD, photo, biography) and we do the rest. It costs ATS 300 (about US $ 22) for the technical process. We send you the contract and a bill. In Austrian law it is not possible to make a contract on the net. But this procedure guarantees you fairness and saves your music-rights!

We create a short 10-minute cut from every title for free loading. The full download costs the user EURO 1.50 (about US $ 1.50). We share the money 50:50 with you each quarter of the year. The AKM/AUME controls us. So be sure that all is transparent and controlled by federal organizations.

Address: RACE, Beethovengasse 35, A-3003 Gablitz, Austria (Europe)

Waltraud Ragyoczy

Noorjehan

She was one of the greatest singers ever. God bless her soul

Dr Nick Verma

Read Noorjehan obit

It's not Lata's fault

Rekha, Manoj Bajpai and Karishma Kapoor in Shyam Benegal's 'Zubeidaa' I don't think Lata sounds strained in the Zubeidaa numbers. However the music director should have made her sing the So Gaye Hain number at a faster pace. If, as you say, she sounds strained, anyone else singing the song would have been worse.

Although I am not a professional singer, I do try out a few songs in the shower. I tried to sing the two Lata numbers after someone posted them on the newsgroup, but I just couldn't get going. I found them to be quite difficult compared to other popular songs.

No wonder then that only the likes of Lata could sing songs like So gaye hain and Pyara sa gaon. Unfortunately So gayen is just too slow. I would rather hear her duet Dekhen bhi to in the new audio Farz.

Nazir Patel

Read review of Zubeidaa


Rahman's encroaching on
art-film space

There were parts of the review of the score for Zubeida by Ms Suchitra Lata that I found insightful. I was, however, puzzled by the following that appears toward the end of the piece:

"Shyam Benegal's Sardari Begum featured such a score. Not many may be aware that Zakir Hussain, the tabla-playing, highflying wizard who preceded Rahman, came up with a wonderful, warm album for that film".

The composer for Sardari Begum is Vanraj Bhatia, according to the film credits as well as the cassette. The film titles do not indicate any function fulfilled by Zakir Hussain. Does the reviewer know something we are not privy to? Or, is it the case that she may not be aware of what some are aware of!

The reviewer also refrains from commenting on the implications of Rahman encroaching on the very tiny space that talented art-film composers (e.g., Vanraj Bhatia, Ajit Verman) used to survive in. Of course, whether to deprecate this trend, as I do, is a matter of personal perspective.

Ashok Dhareshwar

(You're right. The score is by Vanaraj Bhatia and we've corrected that in the review. Thanks for pointing out the error. -- Ed)

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