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Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Harcharan Singh (IP Logged)
Date: August 19, 2008 09:39AM

Akali Nihang Ji,

You are right – gauna is far more important than bajouna. As I have already said, the saaz issue is a personal choice for a Gursikh who wishes to preserve his Guru’s tradition.

You are also right that ghar and meend can and is ultimately expressed through gauna, I simply meant to get across that kirtani normally play as they sing, so tanti saaz in this respect makes execution of the above mentioned much, much easier, for an accomplished raagi, I suppose it doesn’t make a so much difference.

I agree re tanpura is minimum that is needed and personally I prefer Tanpura kirtan to vaaja kirtan – I am a traditionalist, and the blunt drone of the vaaja makes my ears hurt – but that is my personal opinion. Vaaja is not maryada, hukmi raag is.

By hukum I simply refer to the instructions in the title i.e. raag, ghar, dhuni, partaal etc – I cannot possibly see how this could ever be interpreted as optional.

No one is saying we have to use exact bandish or taal of Bhai Avtaar Singh or anyone else, that is a personal choice – Guru has left plenty of space for individual expression – the hukmi raag may be composed in a million ways – as long as it is in ordained raag – and whatever taal one uses is fine – so long as partaal shabds are adhered to – which is necessary for tidy presentation due to the complex structure of partaal shabd.

No one here is pretending to be the final word on kirtan, we are all Sikh of Guru and will learn until our last breath. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Khalsaspirit (IP Logged)
Date: August 19, 2008 10:11AM

Waheguru ji ka khalsa
Waheguru ji ki fateh

Harcharan Singh jio,

Quote "No one here is pretending to be the final word on kirtan, we are all Sikh of Guru and will learn until our last breath."

Great conclusion and we hope your highness will maintain such thought in future too.

Guru Mehar Karay

Waheguru ji ka khalsa
Waheguru ji ki fateh


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Outwardly (IP Logged)
Date: August 19, 2008 10:29AM

VAH! what a fantastic discussion!

May all discussions continue in a constructive, polite and educational manner so we can all gain something from our vade brothers and sisters.

Its also nice to see some good, worthwhile topics being brought up. Let's all make this the centre of Gyaan and Sikhia :D

Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa,
Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh!


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: August 20, 2008 07:29AM

i agree this discussion was really interesting. may i add some thoughts? just quting from different posts here.

"I am not convinced that ghar means taal but what it really means, I don't know. I am not even sure if it relates to Sangeet"-

I had similar suspicions! at one time i thought it may refer to phases of the moon or time of day (ghar as in ghari- time-keeping). couldnt find any research leads in this respect though (by which i mean i tried to google it- lol).

"however, what i find strange is that some raag-proponents go as far as to say that certain shabads should only be sung at certain times as per their raag and not at any other time. i just can't swallow this because gurbaaNee is timeless, all-powerful and all-encompassing...and therefore not constrained to time."

In the old days the raagas came with prescribed times of day. it was in the nature of the raag. this ancient knowledge had something to it- they were more sensitive to nature and in touch with their environment. modernists ignore so much just out of convenience. e.g. concert-players just ignore timings so they can make money from evening concerts by singing raag at wrong time or in the wrong season.

Guruji Himself put the raag names there. Infact the Guru Granth is arranged according to raag types. So how can be so insensitive to this aspect? If the raag name is written there and we just ignore it or use some other raag- isnt it utter foolishness?

not that im advocating some sort of elitising of Gurbani singing to a small knowledgable group. when you sing the Bani overtime you'd learn the raag. I bet hundrerds of years ago people were more familiar with raags then we were today because it was the only music system they knew.

i dont buy this 'all that matters is singing with prem' nonesense. it is an egotistical duplicity. being concious of singing with prem- it is the pakhand of a 'performance' artist. not fitting for a devotee. a devotee would not be so self-concious. so do i think anyway.

"With regards to non raag shabd, in my understanding, this is a clear indication that this bani is not be sung" -EXACTLY!

'Gurmat sangeet' this phrase also makes me uncomfortable because it is invented, so they shouldnt really use the word 'gurmat' like that as if its tenets were taught by Guruji. saying that things like this arise according to socio- cicumstances is just an excuse. it is maybe because of this mindset that people started singing out of raag in the first place.

the problem is not vaaja itself it is what vaaja represents and did to musical tradition. it is a instrument of convenience. because of this people just started singing out of disregard for vidya (e.g. of raags). the knowledgable people were sidelined and flooded out. it was also an outsider instrument- its introduction implied the acceptance of outsider influence. turning away from our own knowldge to mimic others. likewise because of applying western education mindset to sikhi people became more fixated on trying to classify Guru Nanak rather than reading bani as being central to being a sikh. what the acceptance of the vaaj symbolises is truely awful. this culminated in the use of filmy tunes and even rap beats.

we can turn it (vaaja usage) around though by using the vaaja as a way of educating kids/ adults who want to learn kirtan, RAAG kirtan.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Atma Singh (IP Logged)
Date: August 20, 2008 09:09AM


khalsa jeeo,

this is a very interesting discussion. a lot if it is way over my head because i do not know much about raag.

however, please could the following be discussed more:

"Also Veer ji if you talk about meed and ghararee then it's to do with the voice meed tusi goun deh naal dekouniya, not witha saaj, kirtan is gayki ang not tantarkari ang, so there is no need to do meed on a saaj.

Another point Mahapartapi Akali Roop Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sachepaathshah did kirtan with a taanpura as well, please explain how they render meend?

Gayaki is pardhaan all saaj are for support to give you a swar, that is why you have SA PA on a taan pura or Sa MA or Sa ni".

please can someone explain the technical terms (meed, gayaki) being used here. is it the case that dasmesh pita jee jee used an instrument which would contradict the whole 'raag only keertan is parvaan' theory or am i getting the wrong end of the stick here?



ਆਤਮਾ ਸਿੰਘ


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Harcharan Singh (IP Logged)
Date: August 20, 2008 10:23AM

Atma Singh Ji,

Akali Ji is simply implying that singing is more important than the saaz, which is of course true - an example that would be relevant to sangat here would be when Bhai Randhir Singh sang shabd in Jail with only the clash of his karai.

The saaz serve to beautify the kirtan further by adding musical breaks etc (rightly so) and help the Raagi and sangat ensure that they are singing in sur.

The Tanpura simply provides a drone i.e. Ne, Sa, Re - which also achieves teh objective of helping the Raagi stay in Sur - as a Vaaja would also do.

So, no, this is not material for anti-raag proponants, quite the opposite.

A meend is one of many singing/playing techniques which is essential in utilising the raag to achieve it's goal - i.e. invoking the exact emotion Sat-Guru intended in order to fully experience the shabd. A meend in simple terms - is where one moves from one note to another within a saptak (scale) in one - continuous motion. This is not possible no vaaja as it's sound is broken by seperate keys. Tanti Saaz were designed perfectly by Guru for the execution of meend.

Obvioulsy one can still render meend vocally with or without tanti saaz, it's just easier if you have a saaz that can copy the voice - as well as a saz that can 'sing' in the musical breaks i.e. between the astai and antraa.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: paapi (IP Logged)
Date: August 24, 2008 05:17AM

some interesting things are coming to light whithin this discussion, so thank you to all that have contributed.

While reading this discussion I had a thought. Why has no one yet mentioned the raag mala?

I did some research and found that the raag mala is only 60 lines, thats from sikhnet, or maybe 30 if 2 parts were to be put onto 1 line. Also, i think, from what ive heard, that there are 15ghars in the bani?

My point is ghar may have a link to the raag mala, and by the numbers i have presented, there seems to be a nic connection. Unless i have the numbers wrong!

Ive read here that the ghar term to be associated with shurutis or taal. This states a difference between the two parts of music, which is not true.

Both sur and taal are frequencies, and when the frequency is stable we get a rhythm that is in beat, and a sur that is in tune. So to be in tune is the same as being in beat.

Another thing that ive read here, and i think it was bhai harcharan singh who accused the bhaja as not being able to produce meends. This is true, however you cannot say that the tanpura is more superior as that too cannot produce meends or gummuks. The bhaja can also be used to hold Sa - Pa, but today is used as the lead. As in, the bhaja plays that tune to which the raagi will copy as he doesnt know what sur hes on until the bhaja tells him.
Personally i do like some keertan done on the bhaja, but i find most of these instruments are out of tune by small fractions, which is really annoying.

Another thought, why have we reached a conclusion that bani without a raag written in the sirlek is not to be sung? There is also the other side, which is you can sing this bani in any raag you wish. Ive heard the pheli pauri from the japji sung many times. It would be abit rude to say we couldnt sing ek onkaar.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Harcharan Singh (IP Logged)
Date: August 27, 2008 06:04AM

Paapi Ji,

Thanks for your thoughts.

Sur does not equal taal. Taal is the foremost component of rythm, Sur is the foremost component of melody – the two are entirely different – although they are reliance on each other is inseparable when they are brought together under the guise of kirtan. Sur can be sung without rythm – i.e. in an open alaap – taal can be played without sur. But when brought together – each aspect needs to be executed with complete awareness and respect for the other in order to create harmony – i.e. the shabd (sung in sur) must be timed correctly to ensure the tuk is completed in a consistent and agreed point of the taal i.e. each tuk start on 2nd beat of 12 beat taal and finishes on 2 rounds of taal (24 beats) etc. Same way the taal improvisation must be delivered at appropriate times i.e. end of a tuk, bishram, musical piece, end of shabd etc.

Raagmala has absolutely no bearing on taal – it is a raagmala – i.e. indicated the family of ragas in order of influence within that particular school. The ghar refers to the over-riding of the accepted raag rules as per Guru’s kushi – i.e. changing the composite structure slightly to make way for a new leading sur.

Regarding tanpura being superior, I simply said I preferred it as I am a traditionalist and seek to preserve my Guru’s virsa. That is my opinion. Singing kirtan with Tanpura alone can still be seen in many traditional sangeet schools and many Sikh Kirtani still do this also. It sounds beautiful and unadulterated – which is why 10th Master may have also chosen to do this at times (as pointed out earlier) even though they were known to play the Rabab and Taus as well.

Re the meends, yes Tanpura does not produce them – but it doesn’t affect vocal meends either as it is not an instrument as such – it is simply a drone device to help kirtani stay in sur – the same a sur peti (used by Raagis).
Vaaja cannot be compared to Tanpura as it is an instrument which seeks to play the role of an instrument i.e. sing musically – hence can affect the meend and other technicalities of a singer.

Re finding saaz out of tune – this is what electronic sur peti and tanpura is for – which nearly all raagis use (if not vaaja which also serves purpose of drone alongside purpose of sur peti).

Lastly – the singing of shabd without sirlek is my personal opinion - no one agreed a conclusion re this matter. I believe that where 99% of Gurbani is structured in raag format – why would Guru Ji have left out intro and conclusion? To me – this is black and white – it is because these sections serve a specific purpose which is not the main body i.e. kirtan (as per raag format of Sri Guru Granth Sahib). They introduce Vaheguru’s message and conclude it. But as I have said, I was simply sharing my view - so need to discuss this part further – it’s a personal choice.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: August 27, 2008 06:47AM

im sad to say that i cant recall ever having heard use of drone in any kirtan performance i have seen at Guruduara.

i think drone is very important as it helps the listener concentrate and absorb the music. it holds the attention.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: paapi (IP Logged)
Date: September 01, 2008 05:59PM

thanks foor the response!!

ok, the duality of sur and taal.
1st the base. Say you have a beat at 60bpm, thats natural tempo as its a perfect 1 minute cycle. So every second we have a click sound for example.
This would be notable a beat, right?
And now if you was to double the speed of the beat, so it would now be 120bpm, we still get a notable distinction between the clicks to indicate that there still is a beat going.
So what happens if i was to increase that tempo to say, 1000bpm. Now the gaps between the clicks have become so minute that its not a beat thats being heard, its actaully now a tone. So your right to say that the sur and taal are separate, but infact we can see by proof that 1 are the same. And hence the word 'ek o^nkar' (thought the spelling made more sense ;=))
And another point abot this is, the note A1 on a keyboarded instrument has the frequency 440hz. Hz (hertz) is is the measure oof cylcles per second, =1/F. Its the measure of those clicks per second.
This is why sur taal are one. And its quite wiered how its only in India that instruments like that tabla, pakawaj, jori etc are tuned to notes. So tabla plays a static sur just as the tanpura does, and can play complex rythms. The tanpura is to also be played in rhythm in order to keep the resonance going.
But you are totaly right in saying that we should bring back instruments like the tanpura into maharaji's darbar, i think hed like it! Aswell as the sangat.

As for the bani without a raag. As stated in the bhagvat gita, the whole of existance was created from naad, ie music. it was the minute thought that 'god' created, and from there the rest of existance is how we know it.
So bani without the raag means free-style. And why not. The japji sahib is an introduction to god, so any raag would fit in.
And to think of it, if you didnt sing bani, youd speak it in either a monotone manner or just our usual besur tone we use everyday. To speak is to make sound. Do you choose the construct of dicipline to make the sound or just as it is, unthoughtful and cloudy.

As for the raagmala. I didnt say that there was a reference to taal in there, rather i was hoping that someone would look into a link between the number of lines its compiles to and the number of ghars stated in the bani.
I know from heresay that the whole concept of raagmala is debated quite vigourously in sikhi. And to think its that short that youd think just read it and dont complain why would it be there otherewise. But, to read it, it makes one think well whats the point? And obviously being a paapi as i am, its because im a stupid £$%£ who doesnt understand. So as with all the bani, the raagmala has more too it that we percieve it to have.

And another point which was from the earlier discussion harcharan singh had with akali nihang singh. It was about the term raag and what it equate to. Akali ji put it as a simple form with the main ingredient of love. Harcharan ji put as a very complex structure and form.
A saying from bruce lee. He said, when he stared kung fu a punch was a punch and a kik was a kik. After years of training there grew all the round house kicks , uppercuts, axe kicks etc. After many, many years of doing kung fu, he came to a point where a punch was a punch and a kick was a kick.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: Harcharan Singh (IP Logged)
Date: September 04, 2008 05:29AM

Sorry, in my earlier post I meant to say raagmala bears no relation to ghar, not taal. Veer Ji, I have to say you are pulling at straws here - the ghars - whether one believes them to refer to taal or shruti - have no bearing on raagmala - which is information relating the family or raags and their relationships - one could find answers to raag relations in terms of sur - but over-riding ghar factor of Guru's kushi is over above established raag family vidya.

Bruce Lee and you have a point - but the mystery is much deeper - for although BL states finally a punch is a punch - we forget to add that he still put the effort to learn the various styles/punches/kicks etc - and applied them at the most appropriate time thereafter - but he just saw the bigger picture later thats all. There is nothing complex about what I stated - I simply reiterated Guru's kirtan hukum - I suppose one could just as easily argue many aspects of Rehit Maryada are complex/difficult - but for those that want to live within their Guru's hukum, nothing is complex - it's all a blessing.


Re: In the Bani What does Ghar Mean when refered next to Raag
Posted by: paapi (IP Logged)
Date: September 05, 2008 01:35PM

a great finish veer ji.
i do agree with you totaly. But i dont think that realating one part of the bani with another is overiding the gurus kushi. The bani is afterall an elaboration on the 1st word vaheguru.
I was hoping to get to a conclusion for the meaning of ghar.
And then came an argument in my head. The one of reading the raag mala at all.
Now, im going to take a step back and say i doint have an opinion on this and try and explain both sides.

For - its bani, we should read it because we take really good physical care of these words. The manji sahib, ramalea and all the rest of it. Its awesome!! So wasting these words by not reading them, not follwing the meaning of them(includes also adhering to the raag, which again brings in the concept of music.......)) Im sure you have alot more to add to importance of bani.
Basically, bani is precious, lets all be gollums!!! lol! My precious.
Against - Its only a bunch of realtionships of raags. Who's who of the raag world and all the realtions. SO theres really no point in reading it, we already read the good stuff.
>>>ive seen these sorts, and lets face it, they dont really sing the raags from the bani, if they do its very rare.

Ok, so thats what i thought of raagamala, if either one is true, well..... thats just another thing for sikhs to figt about.
But. Taking the against view made me think of the for view. It made be try to rationalise the reason for writting the relationships.
And that just means we have two things in the bani, were not happy to explain.
Taking the back seat again, if i was any sort of sikh who believed in the guru granth sahib as a guru, i would like to explain abit about the structure of the bani, its meanings and even implement it with the appropriate blessings.
And at the moment it seems that many of us need to takle some basic questions like the ones the topic is about.
Now veer harcharan singh has stated that likes to adhere to the gurus hukum and has put forwards his aknowledgment of the the gurus hukum on kirtan. I dont know if weve agreed on the sur taal as one thing, but thats just a contruct of music.
And now where here again asking:
Does ghar relate to the music of kirtan as the names of the raags do? Does ghar then relate to the raags in the raagmala? as its about the raags, but theres nothing on the ghars. And raagmala has neither raag or ghar.
You see veerji, im trying to find connections. If it held true that there is a connection, then we can say, if you dont include raagmala in the akand paat, then you should add it to the execution of kirtan. Possibly as a music index?

Please feel free to send your thoughts on this.

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