What is Alaap Of A ?The word alaap means a dialog or conversation. Alaap is a dialog between the musician and the raga. The purpose of including an alaap in a composition is for the singer to set the scene for the composition itself. In order to tell a story emotionally, the storyteller is required to set the scene for the listener. The alaap prepares the listener to receive the emotions from the singer. Suspense is also being built up through the alaap for the listener.
In other words, alaap is the beginning part of the raga, starts with the key note of the mode it uses, that is “Sa”, both in the instrumental and vocal pieces. The tempo at the beginning is usually slow in order to show the scale and the key structure of the melody. There is no drum in this section; if it is a piece of vocal music, there are no lyrics with it.
The asthayee is the first part of the main melodies in the raga. It consists of two music phrases, and is the most important part that shows the raga’s main musical ideas. In vocal music, this part always comes with lyrics. Antra, which originally meant “the rhyme of the poem,” it can also be translated as “stanza". The length and times of improvisations mainly depend on the feelings of the performers.
The gradual exposition of Raga emphasizing Vaadi, Samvaadi and other salient features of the raga in a slow tempo is known as Alaap. Alaap reflects the depth, the temperament, creativity and training of the musician. The tala is the part located in the latter part of the raga. It is played by tabla drum solo to show the different rhythms and techniques of the drum performance.
Making of an Alaap
The laws governing the performance of vocal and instrumental music are much the same. The purpose of including an alaap in a composition is for the singer to set the scene for the composition itself. In order to tell a story, the storyteller is required to set the scene for the listener, the point being to engage the listener emotionally and mentally to listen to their story. The alaap also serves this purpose; to prepare the listener to receive the emotions and the story from the singer. Suspense is also being built up through the alaap for the listener. In order to create an alaap it is essential to distinguish what raga is to be performed. Every raga is unique and has its own characteristics. First of all it is crucial to know which notes are allowed to be used:
Arohi – ascending notes
Amrohi – descending notes
Next its important to get the five key notes:
Samvaadi – 2nd
Niyas – 3rd
Anuvaadi – 4th
Vivaadi – 5th
In order to compose an alaap for any raga, it is important to initially establish the Sa. The closest most important note to Sa will be second important note (samvaadi). Once the Sa has been established, the singer is then required to establish the first, second, third and fourth important notes respectively.
In brief in
all alaap compositions, Sa of madh saptak is
considered to be a very important note and therefore
must be established reasonably quickly. Sa can’t be
directly established and has to be approached from
either the vadi or samvadi. The vivadi is also an
important note that must be used but too much emphasis
on this note will change the raga.
In alaap, the musician improvises each note gradually. Beginning with the lower octave and in a slow tempo. The alaap is sung in the beginning of the raga at the time of a performance. When the musician starts rendering a bada khayal or chotaa khayaal (bandish) the tabla or any other percussion instrument joins. Alaap is used again with the composition, some time with the rhythm and is slightly faster. Some times the words of the song are also improvised with notes. This is known as bol alaap. This process of establishing the important notes and thus revealing the raga step by step is known as a barat. Finally the alaap must end on the most important note in all ragas, that is the madh saptak Sa.
Alaap is usually sung in Aakaar i.e. without pronouncing any syllables only using the sound "aa" of the vowel. Sometimes syllables like teri, Nom, Tom are also used for singing the alaap. Vilambit alaap presented in sections from low notes to high.
Arohi: 'N R G M D N S'
Amrohi: S' N D P M G R S
Raga Yaman or Aiman are same. Some people call Yaman and some call it Aiman. Our practice will be in the madh saptak. In Raga Yaman all the notes are tiver and we have shown tiver notes with capital letters throughout the website. In the below given exercise of raga yaman use your index finger for the note S and keep finger on note S for at least two seconds and then use your second finger for the second note R and stay on the note for 2 seconds. Now use your third finger for the note G and stay there for two seconds as you have done on previous two notes. By pressing the above three notes one by one you will also utter Sa, Re, Ga on each note and duration on each note must not be more than two seconds.
Then repeat the same process on the notes R G M, and rest of the arohi. After practice of arohi practice amrohi. Practice whole arohi and amrohi for at least ten minutes.
S R G, R G M, G M P, M P D, P D N, D N S',
S' N D, N D P, D P M, P M G, M G R, G R S,
Fingering Yaman Arohi:
S = Finger 1, R = Finger 2, G = Finger 3
R = Finger 1, G = Thumb, M = Finger 1
G = Thumb, M = Finger 1, P = Finger 2
M = Thumb, P = Finger 1, D = Finger 2
P = Finger 1, D = Finger 2, N = Finger 3
D = Finger 1, N = Thumb, S' = Finger 1
Film songs of Yaman or Aiman
Akale na jana, Film Arman
Ansoo bhari hain, Film Parwarish
Lagta nahi hai dil mera ujre dyaar mein, Ghazal by Mohd. Rafi
Chandan sa badan chanchal chitwan, Film - Saraswati Chandra
Alaap Yaman Kalyan
Please do not confuse with different s of thaat kalyan.(aiman, yaman, yaman kalyan, shuddh kalyan). Most of the s of kalyan thaat have only one note difference. For a beginners important s are provided in "sargam book" and in "keyboard in desi style". Most of the film songs are based upon important s which already have been provided in our books and e.books.
Yaman Kalyan is named after valley of Yaman and Hazrat Amir Khusroo have invented this . Yaman is derived from Thaat Kalyan (Parental scale). Its Vaadi (main note) is G and Samvaadi (second in importance) is N. Its Jati (class) is Shadav-Sampoorn. Its time of performance is evening. Its Pakad is ’N-R-G-M-P-R-G-R-’N-R-S. It is played in mandr saptak. Its bhaav is Shadj-Pancham.
Note:- In thaat sargam the seven notes ascending and descending are taken but in extra tiver or komal notes are also taken or not taken. So, study tiver and komal notes theory from harmonium lessons of this website. In Alaap, you need not speak 'N R G etc, sing only Aaaaaaa......Match your voice frequency with the sound coming out of Harmonium or Keyboard while pressing the right key. At comma ( , ) stop for a short while but at dash ( - ) and ( , ) both together, take out breath completely and take in again. Yaman Kalyan has all 7 notes, all of which are pure (normal) notes except M which is Tiver (Sharp) and represented as M. Normally S and P are not used in ascending order e.g. 'N R G or M D N. In descending order all the notes are used in the below given .
Here we have shown arohi notes (ascending notes) and amroi notes (descending notes) of madh saptak. In yaman kalyan there are seven notes in ascending and seven notes in descending. First note Ni belongs to mandar saptak and our allaap will begin from mandar saptak note 'N. In the following diagrams we have shown note 'N in mandar saptak and our alaap starting point.
Yaman Kalyan Diagram Shown For Alaap Practice
Arohi: 'N R G M D N S'
Amrohi: S' N D P M G m G R S
Alaap Yaman Kalyan
In alap, you need not speak 'N R G etc, sing only Aaaaaaa......Match your voice (frequency) with the sound coming out of Harmonium or Keyboard while pressing the right key.
2. At comma ' , ' stop for a short while but at dash ' - ' and ' , ' both together, take out breath completely and take in again.
3. yaman kalyan has all 7 notes, all of which are pure (normal) notes except M which is tiver (Sharp) and represented as M.
4. Normaly S and P are not used in ascending order. In descending order all the notes are used.
a. 'N R G , R S - , 'N R G M G - , G M P - , M G - , R G R S -
b. 'N R S - , S 'N D P - , M D 'N R G - , G M G - , P M G R S -
a. 'N R G M P - , M D N D P - , M D N S' - , S' N D P - , N D P - , M G - , R G - , R S -
b. G M' D N S' - , N R. S' - , S' N D P - , M D N S -
a. M D N R S' - , N R G - R S' - , S' N D P - , M' D N - , M D N R S' -
b. G M D N R. S' - , N R G - , R S - , N R M G R G R S' - , S' N D P - , M D N S' -
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Contents Of Lessons
+ Harmonium Basics
+ Sargam Exercises
+ Raga Basic Theory
+ Raga Based Songs