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Musicolinguistic artistry of niraval in Carnatic vocal music

CollectionsAustralian Linguistic Society Conference (2011)
Title: Musicolinguistic artistry of niraval in Carnatic vocal music
Author(s): Radhakrishnan, Mahesh
Australian Linguistic Society
Keywords: Carnatic singing
verbal art
Publisher: Australian Linguistic Society
Citation: Radhakrishnan, M. (2012). Musicolinguistic artistry of niraval in Carnatic vocal music. In M. Ponsonnet, L. Dao & M. Bowler (Eds), Proceedings of the 42nd Australian Linguistic Society Conference – 2011, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 2-4 December 2011 (pp. 423-464).
Series/Report no.: Australian Linguistic Society Conference: 42nd
Niraval is a form of virtuosic musicolinguistic improvisation in Carnatic music whereby a line within a song is repeated in various melodic and rhythmic manifestations within the rāgam (melodic framework) and tāḷam (beat cycle). For a Carnatic singer, niraval makes different aesthetic demands than other forms of non-textual improvisation within the tradition. To convey artful, sincere renditions of the same lyrical text, the singer-musician must imaginatively devise interesting repetitions which attend to both melodic and rhythmic elements and the lyric text. Combining melodic and rhythmic skill and verbal artistry in a range of South Indian languages as well as Sanskrit, Carnatic singers display extraordinary communicative and artistic competence and captivate their audiences. This paper analyses the musical and linguistic elements of a single niraval performance in Sydney’s Carnatic music community. It is hoped that such research will contribute to a greater understanding of the interplay of language and music in sung performance
ISBN: 978-0-9802815-4-5


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