Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Music -- Truly boundaryless

I visited the Lantern Festival at the Chinese Garden on Sunday. The animals made out of lanterns were truly amazing. After a long walk , I sat next to the podium which was playing some chinese music. For the first couple of minutes I didn't notice anything unusual. But the carnatic music fan inside me could not help noticing that the Raaga being played was Mohanam. I was bewildered for a minute and listened more closely . It was unmistakable ( The swaras Sa ri ga pa dha sa ) . What was raaga Mohanam doing in chinese music ?

Googling tells me that Mohanam is used extensively in Chinese & Japanese music ( I now remember that the famous song "Sayonara Sayonara " from the hindi movie "Love in Tokyo" was based on Raaga Mohanam too ) . Also found an interview of ARR where he says composing for chinese films is quite easy because of their extensive use of the Mohana raagam. Mohana raagam is known as Raag Pahari in Hindustani music .

It just re-iterates my belief that music knows no language and is boundaryless.No wonder that I count musicians as diverse as Illayaraja,Saint Thyagaraja,Bob Dylan,Simon & Garfunkel,Mozart,Beethoven,S.D.Burman,Madan Mohan,Mehdi Hassan,Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as my favorites.

As they say,there are only two types of music -- Good or bad.


  • you forgot T. Rajendar's epic song - thatti paathen kottaamkuchee. That is music!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 PM  

  • hmm..that was an education for someone not very familiar with carnatic music like myself. do the chinese call it raag mohanam or credit it as being indian or do they have another name for it?

    By Blogger Abhishek Chatterjee, at 3:57 PM  

  • Hi!
    First time visiting your blog. Your messages make very interesting reading.
    Mohanam is known to be an extensively used ragam.

    By Blogger Nalin, at 6:44 PM  

  • காக்கா கறைவது கூட இசைங்கறாங்க

    By Blogger ILA (a) இளா, at 8:17 PM  

  • hi arun mohanam is the base raga in the entire Asia. u can pitch this raga in places like indonesia.kambodia,china mangolia, infact at the time crowing thai king and intheir marriage the raga mohanam is being sung. that is because of the structure of that ragam where swaras are symentric both in arohanam and avarohanam ---- appa

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:41 PM  

  • hi
    that is a nice analysis...music has no language....

    By Blogger Slice Of Life, at 9:25 PM  

  • First time visitor..came via yr comment on Quizman's "raushan jamaal-e-yaar post". Several things here..

    I have zero exposure to Carnatic music...so this raaga being used in Chinese music was quite a news for me. Also it's definitely more than just a coincidence that I've seen most ghazal fans, including yrs truly, also love Bob Dylan, Beethoven, Nusrat Fateh Ali, Mehdi Hasan...etc.
    Infact, I am still grieving that I missed this Dylan documentary. It's billed as one of the Best Documentaries ever made.(ofcourse take that claim with a pinch of American mktg-juggernaut salt)

    You might also want to read this post of mine where I wrote abt Feynman's book. I too hold it as my fav..and had some other things to say(ants, lock-picking etc :).

    One question:
    a) I joined the party late when BBC was celebrating Beethoven and gave for free download his symphonies. I missed the first three symphonies. Any idea, where else I can download it? or any chance you might be having it?

    Nice blog, will be back!

    -The Kazi

    By Blogger Suhail, at 3:22 AM  

  • anonymous -- that is music too !

    Abhi -- Wish I knew the answer.Got to check with the fellow chinese students .

    nalin -- thanks

    ila -- yes sir

    appa -- Thanks for the explanation

    uma -- thanks !

    suhail -- thanks. yeah, I am looking fwd to the Scorcese documentary.
    The BBC thing is news to me. not sure abt the download thing.

    By Blogger Cogito, at 12:58 PM  

  • A good piece on Mohanam. I was told by some musicologist that Mohanam is a very easy raaga to understand and deal with.In the same vein, I was told that the national anthem of Thailand is based on Mohanam. No doubt as TRC mentioned that the trade contacts between South India and the South East Asia must have taken Mohanam to these countries and the very basic gravity of a Mohanam or a Kalyani must have attracted those people to.
    By the way Mohanam's equivalent in Hindustani is Bhoop or Bhoopali.
    Kumar mama

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:45 PM  

  • The follwg was the first among the few sentences which popped up on the background screen, during the recent ARR show...

    "Thanks to the creator for making music the language of all languages...."

    100% I agree...

    By Blogger Ram C, at 9:44 AM  

  • Kumar mama -- Yeah,the chola conquest and trade with S.E.Asia might have taken Indian music there.Thanks for clarifying the Hindustani equivalent.

    ram.c -- absolutely

    By Blogger Cogito, at 11:30 AM  

  • ah at last, I could find your post again. You have few [url=http://tipswift.com]useful tips[/url] for my school project. Now, I won't forget to bookmark it. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:54 AM  

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