Enter Violin! | Daily News

Enter Violin!

The entry of Violin in the Carnatic music traces back to over a hundred and fifty years. According to the earlier history of Carnatic Violin states that one of the ministers of Marathi regime of Thanjavur, named Varahapayya was the very first person who was attracted by this very sharp and high tonal quality Western string instrument. He, first of all, heard the melodious music of the violin at a European band of East India Company. Minister Varahapayya, before trying to introduce this instrument in the Carnatic music, tried his best to explore all the possibilities in using this instrument for the Carnatic music.

Violin has become a part and partial of Carnatic instrumental music arena. It generally accompanies the vocal and instrumental music. It is considered that Violin was the first alien instrument from West, which penetrated the Indian musical system, and gained the social and cultural recognition, especially in the traditional South Indian Carnatic music world.

This four-stringed instrument is played with a bow and with fingers.

Limited music

From the 16th century onwards gradually the alien influence started penetrating the Indian musical system slowly but in a limited manner. It is said that Baluswamy Dikshitar 1786-1859, one of the brothers of the great Carnatic musicians undertook training in Western Violin and tried to adopt this alien string instrument into Carnatic music with its own identity.

While using this Western musical instrument in Carnatic music, it avoids all the Western musical influences. For instance, when Violin is used for Carnatic music by tuning the instrument, playing posture position, adopting techniques are entirely different from the usage of Western Violin. The player of Carnatic Violin sits down on the platform and plays. The player holds the Violin in between his right heel and his chest. The left-hand fingers are freely allowed to move, while the right-hand plays the bow.

Vadivelu of Tanjore Quartette, a Carnatic music stalwart, boldly adopted violin for Carnatic music as well as Tamil classical dance. Vadivelu was the eminent court musician of the famed Swathi Thirunal Maharaja. With time, many Carnatic Violinists emerged into the Carnatic music world.

This string instrument is more or less considered as an easy and adjustable instrument to any type of human voice. The melody of Violin instrument is beautifully blended to a different pitch and a different quality of human voice. Among the strings the fourth string is much more suitable for the human voice, this particular steel string has a high tonal and excellent expressive quality. Violin in the Carnatic music arena beautifully and expressively expresses the Gamagas and the nuances of Ragas clearly and exceptionally.

Revealing emotions

Today Violin in Indian music is used as a separate solo musical instrument as well as an accompanying musical instrument for vocal, instrumental and dance performances. In dance sometimes during the performances, musical interludes are adopted to reveal certain emotions. Especially in dance, violin music is used to reveal emotions like sorrow and sadness. Even sometimes it is used to play the opening bars of the song in the music and the dance concerts.

Playing the Violin is an exceptional and remarkable talent. It sweeps from one sting to another smoothly. The use of Violin in Indian music could be divided into two different categories. One is for the Hindustani Music violin and the other is for the Carnatic music Violin. The purpose of using Violin in Carnatic music as well as in Hindustani music is the same, yet the trend and tendency of the musical factors of two varieties are different from one another.

Still, Indian Violin has its origin from the Western Violin, yet there are some Western scholars who felt that the Indian Violin has had its origin from some of the ancient traditional native ancestral Indian string instruments. Especially from the oldest Indian string instrument and the folk musical instrument known as Ravanastram.

This folk instrument Ravanastram is still in use in certain Indian states like Rajasthan and Gujarat.