The Ritualistic Singing of S – P – S in Carnatic Music

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Today, lets look at the challenge of rendering S-P-S in Carnatic Music. It has become a ritualistic practice to sing S-P-S before or after completing a practice routine without mindfulness. The underlying purpose of the routine should first be understood clearly. Students may fail to sing the notes in tune or fail to sustain a note for as long as possible or even sing with a sub-optimal tone. It should also be noted that the interval between the notes S-P-S is considerable. Even seasoned artists may have trouble if they attempt the routine without warming up first. It may take a lot of practice to be able to master the ability to sing a good S P S without needing to warm up first.

When we start early morning practice, we should first sing S or Shadajam and warm up by singing the neighboring notes like r and n first. Warm up the voice with long sustained phrases and then go to P. Do not sing S-P-S as a ritual. Some parents may insist that their kids sing S-P-S as a checkmark routine. They may also observe whether the S-P-S routine is carried out tunefully, with long sustained notes and an ideal volume level.

Many composers have even used the S-P-S scale as a grand opening in their compositions. Shyama Sastri has used the sequence in the opening of PahishreeGirirajasuthe in Anandabhairavi as has Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar in Shreeraghukulanidhim in Huseni. Subburaya Sastri uses the same sequence more subtly in Venkatasailavihara in Hamirkalyani. These brilliant compositions illuminate the voice requirements for each of the notes from a lower toa higher pitch. Rendering these three notes with brilliance, purity and good tonality is very essential for all students, especially for those at advanced levels.

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