ARTS OF SPEECH
SPEAKING RECITING, SINGING
The primary use of human speech is being the sign
vehicle for language, man’s dominant medium of understanding his environment,
indeed reality to which man has access and at the same time man’s
dominant means of communication through which to gain access to his
social environment. But the primary use is not the sole use. Loss of speech or absence of speech robs man
not only of the prime sign vehicle of language but also of a means
of expressing his feeling and of a vehicle of musical art.
Even in respect of the arts of language like poetry of drama,
speech in an important element in the artistic vehicle.
In these days of writing and printing we are apt to lose sight
of this: we only need to read a poem or a dialogue in a play ‘silently’
to realize that the text demands to the ‘heard’ even if only heard
by the mind’s ear. Any written or printed text (short of statistical
tables or formulas of organic chemistry) when read out well is read
effectively; coming from a poor reader the text becomes virtually
unintelligible. Singing, speaking
eloquently, effective loud reading are all arts of speech.
distinguishes between three modes of vaṇi
(speech: ordinary speech
reciting of a text from memory or from written record (paṭhana),
and singing (gāna or gāyana).
Modern Indian languages tend to follow suit. Marathi, for instance, disitingusies correspondingly between bolaṇe,
mahaṇe, and gāṇe;
the distinction is obscured slightly because mhanaṇe
a has also a second sense-saying something, especially through speech.
It will be recalled that the Sanskrit etymon of mhanaṇe,
namely, bhaṇiti has he same sense. Printer! print-as or-dahs and print as hyphen
throughout namely, saying something.
There are occasions when an identidal text could be preseted
through ordinary speech, reciting, or singling. A written poem, for
example, can be read aloud, recited, or sung-kavitā-vācana,
and kavitā-gāyan are regularly distinguished
One could look at these three arts of speech, which
range from the most language-oriented (and least art-oriented) to
the most art-oriented (and least language-oriented), from two distinct
points of view, namely, the language-oriented and the sort-oriented.
The very first question that any language-oriented investigation
of the arts of speech needs to take up is-how does one go about distinguishing
between the three categories of ***
or speech, namely, ordinary speech, recitative, and song? While the distinction is well recognized traditionally,
there are no traditional definitions (as far as I am aware).
To begin with, one could observe that ordinary speech and song
are the most different from each other while recitative has some resemblance
to either of them. In other
words, recitative could be thought of as a middle term with ordinary
speech and song figuring as the two extremes.
But them, it soon becomes evident that the three constitute
not a chain so much as a continuous spectrum with two poles.
In other words, there are some cases halfway between ordinary
speech and recitative and other halfway between recitative and song.
Al l this indicates that the arts of speech all share certain
variables such that observing how the variables are handled enables
us to position a given specimen of speech within the spectrum.
It will be illuminating then to examine some specimens that
a native speaker of the language concerned unhesitatingly identifies
as ordinary speech, recitative, or song.
Given that I am a native speaker of Marathi and an analysis
of the Marathi speech system is readily available (kelkar 1993), a
scrutiny of some Marathi specimens will be useful.
Marathi operates with the following speech segments and prosodies.
(a) Speech segments: p t ṭ b
g, ph th ṭh kh, bh dh, ḍh gh,
f; c č , j ǰ, čh, ǰ
h, h, ṣ
s š; m
M; l ḷ, r, mh, nh, ṇh, lh,
ḷh, rh; h, y v, vh; i u, e
o, əe ə, a,
u , ə, a ī
ū ; n
hyphen, word space, single bar, double bar
phrase-nucleus, tone-nucleus (both marked the same, since the last
nucleus in a tone group is automatically the tone-nucleus; the word-nucleus
is fixed, typically penultimate)
modifiers: single underline (making exclusivity, double underline
(marking intensity) consisting of progressive tension loss and tension
tone-rise and tone-fall either gradual, steep, extra-steep, or reversed
modifiers: pitch-squeeze, pitch-stretch
speech prosodies: paid & slow tempo, high & low pitch register,
loud & soft volume, abrupt & smooth prosodic transitions,
clip & drawl in sallable-balance
the remaining peripheral phenomena (special speech segments and articulations,
voice modifiers and qualities) need not detain us here.
a couple of specimens of ordinary speech.
A dialogue by way of question and answer.
bollas // ||
\\ | ‘bollo-tyača-nokri-bəddəl \\ ||
to him? –Yes, I did, about his job.
A monologue by way of depiction
‘rum || || su’ s əjj ə ‘
nsli /| t ‘ ri bə’ rya-pəi ki \\||
\ | ‘vara k sa ‘bhəṇṇ
-bhəṇṇ ‘suṭla-uta \\ ||
A room in a hotel.
Not well-appointed, but fairly good.
It was a hill station. The
wind was blowing hard, relectlessly.’
specimens show a handling of rhythm features (namely, juncture, accent,
and their timing) an melody features (namely, accent
modification, tone, tone modification, pitch register, and their timing)
in accordance with the meaning being formulated and the speaker’s
communicative intent (that is, speech sense together with speech address). Note, for example, the abbreviations in the
dialogue, the loose-knit depiction adding a detail at a time, the
exclusive accent on ‘special’ and the intensive accent on the wind-depicting
onomatope, and so on. In ordinary
speech the speaker’s art in respect of rhythm and melody is narrowly
governed by sense and address.
Before we move to specimens of recitative and song, the notation
of rhythm and melody needs to be amplified.
Marathi recitative and song operate with the following.
single bar, dotted single bar, double bar (corresponding to tālī, kāla or
sama in Indian music, roughly ordinary, elided, cyclic beats)—the
time interval between successive bars being constant
group: hyphen (the number of moras in each group being constant-typically,
Notes in the scale: S R G M P D N (being
the sliding sol-fa scale of Indian music-corresponding to C D E F
G A B in Western music), out of which M may be marked ‘sharp’ (tīvra) (Ro
S2 S1 S s S1 (corresponding to atimandra, mandra, madhya, tāra, atitāra octaves
of Indian music-ranging very low to very high)
The tie line joins sequences of speech segments across rhythmic groups.
of recitative now allow.
The traditional recitative of multiplication tables or syllabaries
or the like designed for young children (paravacā), of
which some modes are being illustrated
‘ek ‘a:kra: | I’ka-vər
‘don ‘ba:ra ||
| ‘soīa- əṭṭthe əhavi’ sase |
(Mora count |8|8|8|8; Note the draw marked; to
fill out. Moras.) ‘One-and-two, twelve.’ ‘Sixteen seven-times, twelve-and-hundred. Sixteen eight-times, twenty-eight-and-hundred.
| / |/
| / | /\
‘u’u ‘eəi ‘oəu ‘əmm- əhha ||
‘kəka ‘kikki ‘kukku ‘keki
‘koku ‘kəmm-kəhha ||
(Mora count |4|4|4|4|4|4; Note the clip
marked with apostrophe, to fill out moras.)
‘a ā i
ī u ū e ai o au aṁ aḥ. ‘
‘ka kā ki kī ku kū ke kai ko kau kaṁ
The traditional recitative of the divine names, often accompanied
by a telling of rosary beads (japa), of which one of
the modes is being illustrated.
count | 2-2-2-2| 2-2-2-2;)
verse prosody recognizes four kinds:
vṛtta, metre based on heavy
and light syllable sequences, of Sanskrit origin
metre based on mora count (2) for heavy, 1 for light syllable), of
Sanskrit, Prakrit, or native origin; (c) chanda, metre based
on syllable count, of Sanskrit
of Prakrit or native origin (d) Muktapadya, non-metrical free
rhythm verse, of late Modern origin.
The fist three admit of recitative rendition with traditional
verse melodies. For any given metre, more than one verse melody are sometimes variable.
Specimens of these three kinds of metre follow.
Any given metre may or may not feature recurrence of syllable
or mora patterns.
verse in vṛtta
metre (bhu jaṇgaprayāta metre, which
features recurrence is being illustrated, the poet being Rāmdās)
| GRG |G,
GR| GMP | MG
‘ sərvə-da: ‘ yogə ‘ tūjha gh’əḍava
HLH HL HH
count 1|5|5|5|4 Syllable count 5, 7; Metrical count the foot Light
Heavy recurs four times.)
A vṛtta metre like mālinī has a pattern
without such recurrence: LLLLLLHH, HLHHLHH;
Verse in jāti metre (āryāīgi) metre, which is without recurrence is
being illustrated, the poet being is Rmachandra sadave)
RMGMP, PMG, RN1 SRG;
‘vmna-ca | ‘bhMg-vai pr ‘siddh ‘tukya-I ||
Ro Ro S; N1N1Ro G, MGR, N1 SS;
dnya’neša-či | ‘təisi
‘ariya mə’ yr-p Mta-I ||
count 8 ,4; 8 ,10; 8, 4; 8, 10;)
Verse in chanda metre (ov metre, which
features recurrence, is being illustrated, in one of its many varities.
‘ye-gə-tu-gə: ‘ga:i: |
‘tanhya ‘baa-la ‘dudu:
is a lullaby stanza with 4 lines and a refrain.
Mora count 2-2-2-2, 2-2, (first, second line), 2-2-2-2-2-2-2,
2-2; up to 9 (third line), Syllable count upto 6 (first, second line),
up to 4 (fourth line refrain)
metre like anuṣṭubh metre has a pattern
without recurrence 2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2, and syllables 8 in alline.
These different specimens of recitative illustrate varying
adjustments between speech rhythm and speech melody on the one hand
and song rhythm and song melody on the other had.
In the school child recitative (5), speech accent and juncture
combines with song measure in respect of rhythm; speech tone (pitch
contour) combines with song pitch level and range in respect of melody.
In the religious recitative (6), speech accent and juncture
combines with song melody. In
verse recitative (7, 8, 9), relatively simpler patterns of song rhythm
and melody are imposed on speech rhythm in various ways.
Finally, a couple of specimens of song
A popular song with druta kaharva song measure by was of rhythm
and a popular song melody is being illustrated
to : | məjə-vəri
gu’ la: lə
Go’vind : ye
Gu’la: l udhəḷī
To: | |
Rm: g u ‘v
To: || ‘gop-
Ge: |’ m-vri
A stage (from G.B. Deval’s play šāradā 1899)
with jhaptāl song measure by way of rhythm and a popular song
melody of being illustrated with its refrain
Song measure count ||2|3:2|3
Verse rhythm count |5|5,|5|2; |5|5,
recitative shows varying adjustments between speech rhythm and speech
melody and song rhythm and song melody; in the song, the song rhythm
an d melody takes over completely.
Speech juncture and accent, so submerged, contribute only to
the intelligibility of speech meaning.
While one continues to handle rhythm and melody as one moves
from ordinary speech to song, the whole orientation to art orientation.
What is art? As soon
as man’s engagement with the world that he has made a home in by way
of understanding that world and coping with it moves beyond a hand-to-mouth
animal existence, the engagement tends to take either of two forms-the
form of science and the form of art.
(Greek epistēmē and tekhnē, Latin scientia an šarstra, Sanskrit šātra/vidyā an ṣilpa/kalā
convey basically the same insight into this duality.) Science tends
to operate with logical form, reason, abstraction from raw existence,
acceptance of what there obviously is, rule-conformity, measurement. Art on the other hand tends to operate with imagined form, intuition,
concretion from raw existence, transcendence of what there obviously
is, sense of tact or finesse (tāratmya buddi) (as in approximating/pursuing
an ideal or improvisation), guestimate. The pursuit of science culminates in Science
with a capital s; the pursuit of art culminates in Art with a capital
moving from the art of ordinary speech to the art of song, we appear
to be moving from art in the broader
sense just sketched to Art in the culminative sense.
A useful point of entry in the understanding of Art in this
narrower sense for our present purposes is characterizing an Art work
or object or performance.
How does a work of art exist at all? What is it made of? A work art exists at two levels-at the level
of material and at the level of medium.
(This distinction is prefigured in Kant.) Thus, a painting can be thought of as pigments mixed with oil smeared
onto a stretched piece of canvas; it is it this level that it can
be said to have been produced and be bought or insured against fire
or theft. But then, clearly, not every paint-dabed canvas-piece
is a painting. That is why
nobody would call paint an canvas the medium of painting-at best they
constitute the vehicle material of painting.
The vehicle material is to be distinguished from the other
kind of material. A painting
can also be thought of as made out of its content material or experimental
material. The question, What does the painting show?
What is it about?, can be meaningfully asked about any painting,
whether representational or non-representational.
Again, however, the painting the eluded us.
Not every painted every painted map will be a painting.
The painting as such exists at the level of medium-at that
level the painting presents line and shape, colour, light an d shade
as they operate within painting space.
These constitute the medium of painting.
It is at this level that the painting has been created (not
merely produced); interpreted (not merely annotated or figured out);
and appraised (not merely priced). The medium is what imparts form or shape to
the vehicle material as well as to the content material, what brings
the material home or projects it to the recipient, what enables one
to assign a work of art to certain art form to be received as painting
or sculpture or music or poetry or whatever.
The medium of any art form operates at two levels-the level
of technique and the level of style.
At the level of technique, the medium is the body of devices
through which vehicle coveys content in the course of an act.
At the level of style, the medium is the fusion of qualities
through which vehicle embodies content in the forming of an object,
the line between vehicle and content getting blurred.
The site of existence of a work of
art way thus be set out as follows:
Technique: devices: act: vehicle
Style : qualities: object: vehicle
present concern is with an art in which speech figures as vehicle
material. When language-oriented,
speech subserves meaning consisting of speech sense and address. When
art-oriented, speech fulfils the demands of delectation (āsvāda)
and projection (kṣepaṇa/samrapaṇa). In the recitative, there is an attempt to reconcile
the two orientations.
the level of technique, one considers the musical possibilities of
speech. Speech and music share syllabication, rhythm,
and melody. (Harmony can appear
in musical speech or song when there is more than one voice and need
not detain us here.)
Compare syllables in speech (as: nok and ri in the speech form
nokri ‘job’) and in music (as: sa, re in sargam, a:, in ālāpī, na, tom in tarānā
-all forms of non-verbal spoken music; dha, dhin in percussions, di,
da in strings in instrumental music).
The syllables can be checked or free, clipped or drawled (nok,
reg, tom, dhin, did as against ri, re, dha, da).
Some languages use checked syllables sparingly (Italian, Japanese),
others use them in abundance (German, Chinese).
Compare rhythm in speech in music.
Rhythm is the perception of a certain handling of time intervals
between auditory figures auditory ground.
The time intervals may appear bound my measure or free from
measure. Rhythm in ordinary
speech and recitative may be free or bound. Bound rhythm typically involves the recurrence
of some auditory property at measured intervals. In ordinary speech the rhythm is ordinary free.
In some languages (like English or German) with a noticeable
word accent, there is a tendency to accentual bound rhythm.
ṭh’ ‘nəu dəha ‘ăkra’ ‘bara’ ‘tera (in
Marathi counting, free rhythm)
‘seven’ ‘eight’ ‘nine ‘ten’ ‘level ‘twelve thirteen (in English counting,
accentual bound rhythm)
In recitative, bound rhythm
is fairly common—as in (5, 6, 7 bhujaṅgapryāta, 8 pādākulaka,
9 ovī). This is especially seen with accentual meters
in languages with accentual bound rhythm.
The-‘curfew’ tls the –‘knell-of ‘parting ‘day The-‘lowing ‘herd wind—‘slowly
‘o’ er the –‘lea (Thomas Grey, ‘Elegy Written in a Country churchyard’)
The –‘one red—‘leaf, the ‘last of –its-‘clan, That-‘dances as-‘often
as-‘dance it-‘can. ‘Hanging
so-‘light and ‘hanging so-‘high On-the ‘topmost ‘twig that looks-‘up
at-the –‘sky. (coleridge)
While both (14a) and (14b)
illustrate accentual bound rhythm, there is an important difference.
In the former, the measure is regular in that there is a simple alternation
between unaccented and accented syllables.
In the latter, the measure is bound, but neither regular nor
simple; perhaps it may be described as pleasingly and adequately variable-ornamented,
in short. In song, free rhythm of the ornamented kind
can be seen in ālāpī. Bound
rhythm is much more common-relatively simple in (10, 11) ; more ornamented
bound song rhythm can be seen in pieces that are far more music-oriented
than language-oriented. In
sum, rhythm can be more and more music oriented.
Rhythm can be progressively more music-oriented:
free and simple
free and ornamented
bound and simple
bound and ornamented
To take purely musical
example of the distinction between (15c) and (15d), the introduction
of kāla and sama makes rhythm ornamented (alaṁkṛta);
the tāla cycle may be less ornamented as in ṭhekā
or more so as in qāidah.
by itself and without will make for bound and simple rhythm.
Finally, compare melody in speech and in music.
In Marathi speech melody,
for example, one operates with four pitch levels, namely, low, mid,
high, extra high; four pitch contours, rise, rise prefixed with fall,
fall, fall prefixed with raise; and three pitch ranges, normal, squeezed,
stretched. But in recitative of school lessons (5), the
fall-rise tends to come off not as the usual speech melody high-mid-extra-high
or extra-high-mid-high but as SN1S.
The melody thus tends to be bound by scale.
Languages differ in this respect.
Some (like Telugu, Marathi) have a ‘sing-song quality’: that
is, their speech melody is incipiently bound and the contour depends
almost wholly on pitch. Others
(like English, Hindi) have a ‘crisp quality’: that is, their speech
melody is wholly free and the contour partakes of pitch, intensity,
Melody can be progressively more music-oriented:
free and simple
free and ornamented
bound and simple
bound and ornamented
Ordinary speech is free
and simple in its melody. Recitative
tends to be free and ornamented as in (5), bound and simple as in
(6,7), bound and ornamented as in (8,9).
Song is bound and ornamented as in (10,11).
In bound melody, pitch level, pitch contour, and pitch range
operate with fixed intervals within a scale.
The pitch level of the middle c(ādhāra-ṣaḍja)
may be variable as in Indian and early European music, or fixed as
in late European music. Ornamentation
in melody begins with mini-contours within contours.
At the level of style, one considers the artistic possibilities
of speech. Speech in this context is inclusive of the
musical possibilities of speech in respect of syllabication, rhythm,
and melody (as we have just seen).
The questions to ask are as follows.
At the level of style—
How is speech as vehicle material conducive to insight into content
What qualities can speech achieve and so help define a style-
In respect of delectation?
In respect of projection?
(a), (b1), (b2) correspond to abhinaya, sāvāda,
ṇa/saṁparṇa in the large sense.
respect of conduciveness to insight into content material, speech
enriched musically can offer certain possibilities.
It can offer iconicity—consider the depiction of relentless
wind at (3). It can offer mimicry—the peripheral feature
of lax larynx quality can suggest drunkenness.
It can evince feeling—the peripheral features of high pitch
register, loud volume, sharp voice quality (with energy concentration
in higher overtones and high damping leading to ‘ringing’ tone) can
evince anger. It can assuage feeling—pitch squeeze, soft
volume, light or mellow voice quality (with low damping leading to
non-resonant tone) can bring reassurance to disturbed or fearful addressee. It can evoke
or excite feeling-overall labiovelatization and nasalization, soft
volume tend to call forth protectiveness from the addressee. Iconicity, mimicry, evincing or assuaging or
evoking feeling are all aspects of expressivity—to give definiteness
to a much abused word.
respect of delectation, speech enriched musically can contributed
to certain aesthetic qualities. Sparing
use of junctures and fewer accentual nuclei promote aesthetic unification;
more junctures and nuclei promote aesthetic dispersal.
Constant duration of intervals, mirror-imaging of pitch contours,
appropriate selection of speech feature for desired quality promote
aesthetic harmony; irregularity, unpredictability, frustrating of
expectation promote aesthetic disharmony. Abundance of detail, variation, novelty, liveliness
in speech promote aesthetic richness; their lack promote aesthetic
sparseness. Low pitch register,
smooth prosodic transition, low unrounded vowels, near-level pitch
contour, mellow voice quality (with energy concentration in lower
overtones and low damping) promote aesthetic infintitude;
precise articulation, abrupt prosodic transition, high unrounded
vowels, contribute to a ‘mincing’ tone and aesthetic finitude.
way of exploiting and exhibiting
the possibilities of the vehicle material is achieving a certain quality
of projection. The Indian
tradition offers certain useful, indeed illuminating, categories in
Getting the addressee involved in this work of art in one or more of these ways (in
simultaneity or sequence)—
Respective mood (citta-vistāra, prasāda)
Kindled mood (citta-dīpti,
Melting mood (citta-druti, saukumārya)
Restful mood (Citta-Višrānti,
the middle register, medium volume, steady and distinct, articulation,
mellow voice quality induce receptivity by virtue of offering ample
space; sharp or heavy voice quality (with high damping resulting in
‘ringing’ tone), loud voice, abrupt prosodic transition, retroflex
and other ‘dark’ quality segments induce kindled mood by virtue of
offering ‘tough’ or ‘luminous’ effects; soft voice, smooth prosodic
transition, slurred articulation, feeling-laden voice (husky with
pharynx air friction or glottis air friction), light voice quality
(energy concentration in higher overtones and high damping) induce
melting mood by virtue of ‘tender’ or ‘fluid’ effects; slow tempo,
low pitch register, soft volume, smooth prosodic and artificulatory
transition induce restful mood by virtue of effects of stillness.
is obvious that there are properties of song that are purely musical
(and thus shared with non-speech music, that is instrumental or non-verbal
vocal music) and that the account just given of the expressivity function,
the delectation function, and the projection function of song prosody
fails to take note of these purely musical properties. These certainly
have their own functions of expressivity, delectation, and projection,
but they have been poorly understood and call a for a study across
historical periods, cultural, groups, and laboratory subjects.
Indian traditional thought about the performing arts applies the conceptions
of āvāda and kṣepana
to singing and instrument-playing (gāyana and vādana)
as well as dancing and paly-acting (narthana and nāṭya)
but the notion of abhinatya is applied only representational
dancing (ntya) and play-acting, and not to non-representational or
abstract dancing (nṛtta)
nor to singing and instrument-playing.
But the element of expressivity (abhinaya in a large
sense) does appear to be present in these letter art forms. Again, while Indian traditional thought on the performing arts,
perhaps because of it šāstra-orientation,
is preoccupied more with technique than with style. It is high time
that we pick up the thread from where Indian traditional thought leaves
of. This may help us to ask interesting questions
such as the following.
The characteristic sequences (pakaṛ)
of rāga pūriā are the following:
Gm Do Gm’G
M’N Ro S
singing or instrument-playing in this rāga is deemed to
be conducive to karuṇa rasa (the pathetic).
Presumably, the presence of the pathos in the words helps, but is
not critical. For testing
this out with listeners within and outside the tradition, wouldn’t
a weaker’ hypothesis be more plausible?
The hypothesis namely that the tonal sequence is conducive
to citta-druti (melting mood)?
Given the present state of near-ignorance
in this area, it will be more sensible to return to the speech or
language end of the spectrum.
First, some specimens intermediate
between ordinary speech and recitative, between (2, 3) and (5, 6,
7, 8, 9).
Non-poetic drama: dialogue: non-rhetorical style
: u’gic kəlpəna-kərit-bsu-nəkos
To : ‘hya- či ‘jəruri-nahi
\\|| ‘tu svə’təMtrə-ashes
\\|| ‘ svə’t
ḍhai ‘laun-deṇya-t ‘mətləb-nahi
\\ || svyMbhutv ‘imkel \\||
\| ‘aj-hi ‘ǰiMkel \\||
: pəṇ-šīrdhər /|
To : ‘əikun-ghe || ‘mi-te ‘bhṣəṇ
‘mage-gheṇar-nahi \\ || ‘tya-ca ‘lekəh- krun/| mi-to-‘ čhapṇar-ahe
\\|| hya-t- ‘təḍjoḍ-nahi
\\| ata-kə’ ša-t-hi ‘təḍjoḍ-
nahi \\ ||
Deshapande, Uddhavasta dharma
act, I scene 4: end)
Don’t you keep imaging things to no purpose…
He : That
was unnecessary. You are independent,
but I’m self- dependent. Little point in setting independence and self-dependence
against each other. Self-dependence
will win. Always win.
Win even today.
‘Saraswathi : But,
Sridhar. . .
He : Just listen! I’m not going to withdraw that speech. Indeed, turning
it into an article, I’ll print it.
No compromise in this. Now, no com-pro-mise, no way !
the effect of interruptions on junctures, and the tone modifiers,
pitch squeeze marked and pitch stretch marked.
Sharp voice quality should suit Srdhar.
The three final tone gous, all tone-falls in loud volume are
reminiscent of the terminal tihaiy in tabl-playing.
Free rhythm and melody. Speech
segments are typical of deliberate rather than informal delivery.)
Speech-making : monologue : non-rhetorical style mah’rašṭra-ča
či /| hi-moṭhi-c moṭhi
til \| amhi-prə
‘vasi-ahot /| hi-‘bhavəna ‘nəmrəte-
ttyek-paul-ṭaktana \| apə-aplya-mə’na-ši ‘ṭuhe
future story of Maharashtra
is a tremendous voyage of a long duration. In that voyage, we are
but passengers. This humble sentiment should keep us company
at each step we take.’
(Speech segments are again as in formal delivery. Long breath groups segmented by non-final pauses.
Restrained in feeling. Peroratory low pitch register.
Texture of pitch-rises and pitch-falls.
Ornamented free rhythm. Simple
Verse in mukapadya in kāvaya-vācana (the poet
being A.R. Deshpande ‘Anil’), slightly rhetorical cə
‘vij \\|| ‘gəMbhir
\\| ni’nadǰle ti’ce ‘sad-pəsadə
\\|| su’ru i -jhali
‘flashed the lighting, deep the roar of the clouds
sounded and resounded, comes the rain, the rain brought by the Mriga
constellation begins pouring, the creation gets thrilled.’
(Note: the partial restoration of the elided to
fit the ornamented free rhythm. The
adjustment of the accent groups likewise.
The melody is simple and free.
Speech –making: monolugue: rhetorical style
deš-MdhuM-no /| vi’
\\ || deša-la ‘ag-lagli- əstana
\/| tumhi-kai ‘aplya-c su’kha- či ‘kaḷǰi-vahṇar
countrymen, give a thought. When
country burns, are you just going
to care for your own little happiness?’
first and third tone groups in high pitch register and lax pharynx
‘booming’ voice, the other tow tone groups low pitch register.
The fourth tone group in tense pharynx voice. All the four tone groups in loud volume, smooth prosodic transition,
precise articulation. Ornamented
free rhythm. Simple free melody.)
Poetic darama: monologue: rhetorical style Lakh mərot /| pəṇ-lakhaM-ca
/\ || raǰa /| tu ǰha ‘hukma- ča ek-eka bola –bərobər
/| mohr’lelya ‘jhaḍaM-na sabǰi
‘lagtil \\ ||
Ganesh Gadkari, Rājasaṁnyāsa, act 5, sene 5, Sābāji’s
speech addressed to the king)
a hundred thousand die, but not the one who is their mainstay, O king,
you have only to say a word of command, and the trees
in bloom will yield a harvest of Sābājīs like me.’
also belongs the ceremonial calling our by attendants at law courts
and darbār courts.)
Crying out in various moods
on sale !’
\/ |’ mo: rəya
/\ ||’ puḍhlya-vərši: \/| ləkr-ya /| ||
Ganpati, next year come back soon!
at the religious visarǰana procession of Ganapati, also
\/ | vi’ǰəy-əso /\ ||
Yashvant Rao ! Victory to him!.
of political support. (Likewise,
slogans of political protest or rejection.)
ǰi: rli /| | ‘ji: rli’ /\ |
I ka maṇsa- či \/ | ǰi:
rli /\ ||
got discomfited !’
jeering cry. Clips and drawls,
reversed pitch contours, simple bound rhythm, ornamented free melody.
Narrative monologue: rhetorical style
was a city, broad and wide. There
lived a poor brahman.’
way of opening a kahāṇī, a folk
genre favoured by upper caste women.
endeth the story of sixty pharases in five, yielding well and fully
way of closing a kahāṇī.)
\/ || ‘ek-hoti raṇi :I /\ ||
was a king. There was a queen
/\ | ‘nəkko-nkko
/\ | mi-raǰa-v ər \/ | ‘ru: ste /\||
queen said, please don’t ! I agree to throw a tantrum at the king!’
are examples from a nursery tale. Recurrence and mirroring of reversed
tones. Ornamented free rhythm and ornamented free
| S-D1 |S-D
ye-re ye-re pa:
usa /\ |
tu:-la deto pi:sa
sa jhala kho: a /\|
us ala ‘mo:
ṭha /\ |
O rain !
I give a pice to you.
turns out false!
Pitch-strentch, drawl, reversed tone, simple bound rhythm and
I’ riMg mi’ riMg iəuMg triMg\| ləu’ Mga-triMg-ca
| S-D1=S-D1 |
utria ‘raa \\\ ||
(Nursery spell for identifying the ‘it’
in a game-opening and close in the course of the nursery rite of cakṇe.)
Now, some specimens intermediate between recitative and song,
between (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) and (10, 11).
Verse in chanda metre (abhaṅga) metre, which features recurrence, is
being illustrated in one of its many variations, the poet being Tukārām)
|| D1D-D1-s-s-s-ss ||
Stanza ‘deva-ce ghərin’deven-keli
‘cori \| ‘deven ‘devə nagə ‘vuni ‘kela bhikai \\ ||
RR-RS-S-R | | R-S-S-S
Refrain dhan ‘viyan dhanva ‘mag-ci-nahin
Jhani viya ‘dhanva \ | k viya
‘gan va / ||
D1D1-D1 S-S –SS RR-RS-S-R
či-hota ‘cor ‘əvghen-kelen
rin | Phan’vəliya-vəri
‘yethe koṇi-cə na’ gəvə len-koṇa
the Government edition, no. 1840, line 2b slightly emended to fit
the rhyme scheme)
Another poem of Tukrm, also in abhanga metre (no.3903 in the same
collection), is presented here without the rhythm and melody statements.
First stanza avə
‘tisen ‘tujə aə’vinə \| vaṭe səma’
isen \ ||
nahin-yethen’kanhin \ ləukika-či caḍə\|
Second stanza purəvi mə’ norəthə ‘əMətrin-cen ‘artə
Gt ‘gain tu jhen \\ ||
Third stanza tu’ka mhə’ ṇe
‘lenkin aəvi ma’hera \| ‘gaun-ya səun’
both (28) and (29) occupy the same position in the spectrum, namely
intermediate between recitative and song, there is an important difference
in that (29) is also available for a clearly songlike
rendering. The two poems represent two distinct veins in Tukārām,
though there are no conventional terms for these. (The two
comparable veins in Kabīr are recognized genres, namely, dohā
(or saloku) and pada (or šabad)
corresponding to (28) and (29) respectively.
Let us call these the cognitive and the cantatory modes.
first mode lends itself to sermonizing (pravacana). The second mode to hym-singing (bhajana). The first appeals to the intellect bearing
the heat of sentiment, the second speaks to the sentiment bearing
the heat of intellect. In
the examples chosen here, (28) presents a spiritual conundrum and
offers a spiritually satisfying answer; (29) represents a throwing
of oneself to divine compassion in the mood of a young bride’s aching
for her parental home. The
English renderings should bring this out.
First, (28) in a ‘modernized’ English
rendering by Arun Kolatkar:
It was a case Of God rob god.
No cleaner job Was ever done.
God left God’ Without a bean.
God left no trace/No trail no track.
The thief was lying/Low in His flat.
When he moved/He moved fast.
Nobody was/Nowhere. None
Was plunderd/And Lost nothing.
The experience of non-duality (advaita) between Me and
Him is presented here with a certain impish humour characteristic
of Tukārām (who shares it with Kabir in some of his moments).
(29) which turns on the notion of āḷavaṇī that means
both pacifying or conciliating a child, a beloved, God through soothing
gestures and also bringing out the possibilities of a melody or song
by slowly teasing them out. (The
verb appears in the first and the last stanzas.)
me persuade as I love how to
that soothes my restive soul (1)
caring here for the worldly
pleases without you dear God (R)
my heart’s desire, my inner longing
I break into loud plaint of a song (2)
says: Even as the (married) daughter sings for maternal home
So left us sing to you in our worldly home
is common to both these lyric modes of Tukaram, the cognitive and
the cantatory, is, however, the primacy of expressivity (abhinaya)
and projection (kṣepaṇa)
over delectation (āsvāda)-recall (17a, b2, b1) respectively.
At the level of technique, one considers the availability
of various speech-art devices and their selection. At the level of style, one takes up two questions. First, which alternative quality (achieved through the selection of
this or that speech-device) is conductive (or non-conductive in a
specific work of art, a specific context, a specific artist, a specific
place and period ambience? Secondly,
conducive (or non-conducive) to which goal expressivity, delectation,
veil of near-ignorance in the area of the art-oriented consideration
of speech can be lifted only through a resolute, precise, methodical,
and sensitively alert inquiry. What
we hope to have provided in the present effort are some of the needed
is a reworking of an earlier Marathi article ‘Kalāvatī vānī, to appear in my book Madhyamā
(Pune, late 1996).
phonological apparatus was elucidated in Kelkar 1993 (Prosodies and
their functions in Marathi, Bulletin of the Deccan College Postgraduate
& Research Institute 51-52 (1991-92): 239-302, published 1993
(Katre felicitation volume).
The present enquiry into the arts of speech is indebted to:
G.H. Ranade, Hindustani music: An outline of its physics
and aesthetics, 2nd edition, Pune: The Author, 1951.
Baburao Joshi, Chandašāstra
va saṁgīta, Kolhapur: Ajab Pustakalaya, 1980, coming
with an audiocassette. Discussions
with Dr. Veena Saharabuddhe (vocalist), Dr. Hari Sahasrabuddhe (computer
scientist), and Mr. Prabhakar Jog (music arranger). The debt extends both to the discussion and
It is a pleasure to offer this to my friend Biligiri, who
is equally entranced by language and music.
Postscript: It was a shock to learn of is sudden death
after this place was ready.
The Marathi original ‘Kalavatī vāṇi: Bolṇe,mhanne
gāṇe appeared in Ashok R. Kelkar’s Mdhyamā:
Bhāṣā āni, bhāṣāvyavahar, Pune: Mehta, 1996,
231-52. The English version
was intended for a Fesric for H. S. Biligiri, but has remained unpublished.