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Ninad, Journal of the ITC-SRA, vol.22 December 2008: Abstracts

Study of Nonlinearity in Indian flute by fractal dimension analysis

It has been observed that sound production in flutes is essentially a non-linear process. When air is blown into the flute hole, it does not divide smoothly, but tends to move to one side and form a swirl or vortex, which in turn bounces in and out of the hole creating a periodic sound specified by the resonating structure of the flute. Such nonlinear dynamics may be studied by measuring the fractal and correlation dimensions along with other higher order moments of the produced acoustic waves. The sound signals of five Indian flutes played on seven ascending and descending notes have been used for the fractal dimensional analysis. Standard box counting method has been used for calculating the dimensions. The results show no dependence of fractal dimension on the pitch. The fractal and correlation dimensions do not show any discrimination for the different flutes. However, the multifractality and intermittency behaviour is reflected.

Developing a tabla playing robot

This work describes the development of a biomimicking robot to play hand drums. The drum technique used by human players was analysed from which the design parameters were determined. A prototype was designed and programmed to play various rhythms.

Pitch discrimination and pitch matching skills of trained and untrained subjects for vocal and non vocal stimuli

Past research on the difference in the sensory abilities of trained and untrained singers have not advocated the role of one’s own voice in the ability to discriminate and match pitches. Though research suggests these skills improve with age, there is no evidence regarding the gender differences in performing these skills. The present study investigated the differences between trained and untrained subjects in their pitch matching and pitch discrimination abilities for vocal and non vocal stimuli. Ten untrained (5 males and 5 females) and 8 trained singers (3 males and 5 females) in the age range of 15 to 25 years participated in pitch discrimination and pitch matching tasks. Each participant’s vocal stimuli, and a common non vocal stimuli were manipulated (using Cool Edit Pro software) and pairs and triplets of stimuli were made for discrimination and matching tasks, respectively. Results indicated a significant difference between groups, type and stimuli. However, no significant difference between genders was evident. The scores of vocal stimuli were significantly higher than the non vocal stimuli and trained singers performed better than the untrained singers. The results indicated that singing training increases the precision in discrimination and matching; hearing one’s own voice (vocal) yields better performance than tones (non vocal). It was concluded that trained singers have better perceptual abilities compared to the untrained group.

Musical notes quotient - MNQ

So far there was no parameter available indicating the preparedness of the ear or ‘sharpness’ of the ear in differentiating between the frequencies of two very close musical notes. The concept of Musical Notes Quotient has been introduced by the author. Previously one could only guess, though more or less correctly, that accomplished musicians will have a ‘sharper’ ear than the common man. But there was no quantization. Quantization has the advantage that it is objectively defined and hence a valid comparison is possible. For a vocalist, both the voice and sharpness of ear are essential. But it is possible that, for an individual, the ear is very sharp but the voice is not suitable for singing. A high MNQ will indicate a ‘very good’ ear. But if the voice is not ‘good’, then such a person can specialize in instrumental music. With MNQ as a tool at our disposal, it will be easier to identify such potential artistes. MNQ is also useful as part of the aptitude test for music education. Possibility of improving MNQ was also studied by the author. It was found that it can be improved in a short period of four weeks when ‘objective measurement’ of progress is possible. Extensive and intensive trials of this particular training method provided conclusive proof. This method is now popularly known as the Ketkar Paddhati or ‘Ketkar method of training’. This method has an added advantage of increasing both breathing capacity and range of voice which are essential for a singer. The ear training (MNQ) and voice conditioning (indicated by breathing capacity and range of voice) can be achieved simultaneously. It has an added advantage of promoting the physical and psychological health of an individual. This makes it useful to everybody, whether or not one wants to pursue music as a career. These two concepts – MNQ and the training method - are equally applicable to any system of music throughout the world, and are thus universally useful to one and all. This paper explains both the concept of MNQ and gives an outline of the method of training.

The meaning and importance of Shruti - a contemporary perspective

This paper aims to redefine the term ‘Shruti’, relating it to present performing practices rather than the accepted interpretation of the term as has been recorded in available texts, or as interpreted by local or foreign musicologists.

The relevance of Gharana (Tabla) in the modern context

The sole aim of this paper is to search for answers to questions that beset all musically inclined minds and scholars. Some such questions could be – Are the aesthetic principles of the Gharanas different from each other? What are the limitations of Gharanas? And more importantly, how were they initially established? This might help us in reaching some conclusion about their relevance in the modern context.

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