Acharyanet recently interviewed accomplished Vidushi Smt Kiranavali Vidyashankar on the topic of “What makes a complete musician?” The video interview contains some thoughts shared by the artiste.
Smt Kiranavali shares some thoughts on the mastery of skills that a Carnatic Musician needs to achieve in order to become a complete musician.
1) There are general aspects that apply to all musical systems like development of voice, tonality and range. Even gifted artistes have to work hard to nurture their talents and continue the progress to higher levels of proficiency.
2) Mastery over melodic aspects like sruthi shuddham ( pitch perfection) , gamakas (oscillations of notes specific to Indian Classical Music) and a good understanding of essence of ragas.
3) Mastery over Rhythmic aspects from basics to advanced right from the process of rendering the tala (expression of rhythm with deliberate movements of the hand) to other overt and covert methods like tanam, neraval etc.
4) A very good understanding of compositions and their varied styles from varnams to krithis, javalis, thillanas are required. The compositions range in tempo from slow to fast, present themselves in wide variety of languages and are often composed with varied musical settings. Learning, absorbing and internalizing is an ever continuing process.
5) In Carnatic Music, an additional challenge appears in the form of mastery over creativity and improvisation, both in melody and rhythm such as raga alapana, kalpana swaram, neraval, tanam, pallavi and tani avartanam.
6) The Carnatic Music Guru plays a very important role to help the student in this path of mastery over many challenging and demanding skills over many years of focused training. Ultimately the path to become a complete musician requires years of dedication, perseverance and hard work.