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Veena's popularity on the wane

Staff Reporter

"Effect of gamakas and anuswaras are best seen in `veena' rendition"

CHENNAI: " I say this with considerable regret that the current popularity and audience receptivity for the `veena' have come down," said musicologist V.V. Srivatsava at a seminar on `veena' at the Narada Gana Sabha on Saturday.

Dr. Srivatsava, who chaired the seminar organised as part of the National `Veena' Festival, spoke on the different types of `veenas', their origin, references made in the compositions of Saint Thyagaraja and Dikshitar and the scope of the instrument.

If one were to look at the instrument from a yogic point of view, it is a prototype of human anatomy, Dr. Srivatsava said. "The effect of `gamakas' and `anuswaras' are best seen in `veena' rendition," he explained.

The seminar featured lecture demonstrations by S.A.K. Durga, R.S. Jayalakshmi, and T.R. Balakrishnan. Dr. Durga spoke on `The `veena' as an experimental medium in Carnatic music'. She explained how the variations in rishabam (The note `ri') could be clearly seen when demonstrated on the veena.

Dr. Durga's disciple K. Shobhana demonstrated usage of ekashruti rishabam — as in raaga gowlai, dwishruti rishabam — as in raaga mayamalavagowlai, tishruti rishabam — as in raaga bhairavi and chatushruti rishabam — as in raaga shankarabharanam.

Dr. Jayalakshmi, who made a presentation on `Tanam aspect in `veena' playing' demonstrated the fundamental differences between raaga (alaapana) and tanam rendition. She explained the scope for tanam rendition on the `veena', by demonstrating variations in plucking techniques.

The final session of the seminar was the presentation made by T.R. Balakrishnan on the `bala veena'.

The seminar was followed by a series of `veena' concerts by eminent artistes. The third day of the festival was held on Sunday at Vani Mahal.

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