Documentation of Indian music

An example of keyboard encoding is the material contained "-da.kathak tihais". When this data file is opened, it automatically calls the "-ho.kathak" alphabet which in turn opens the "-kb.kathak.qwerty" encoding. (You may change it to AZERTY if your keyboard is in French.) All tokens are bols used by (Lucknow style) Kathak dancers in North India, in a comprehensive transliteration designed by Andréine Bel. Numbers used as terminal symbols (in the so-called "number tihais " are notated #1, #2, #3... (pronounce ek, do, tin ... in Hindi, otherwise one, two, three ...) because ordinary integers are reserved for indicating durations.

Indian rhythmic material lends itself to descriptions by formal grammars, as exemplified by grammars "-gr.dhati", "-gr.dhin--", "-gr.dhadhatite" and their variants able to produce qa'idas (theme and variations pieces) in the Lucknow style of tabla drumming. Most grammars supplied as examples have been commented in our publications.

A grammar producing a famous Kathak number tihai composed by Pandit Birju Maharaj will be found in "-gr.12345678". More tihais have been implemented in "-gr.ShapesInRhythm". If you need to play lahras (cyclic melodic phrases) to practise Indian percussions, use "-da.lahras".

Indian raga music is also a good candidate for composition/improvisation models based on grammars and automata. The subtleties of alankara and gamaka may be rendered by performance parameters. Examples are still lacking since performance controls have been introduced recently. When Kumar S. Subramanian spent a few days in Delhi, he started composing items related to South Indian tunes. I have taken the liberty to insert some of his work in the example folder ("-gr.trial.mohanam" and "-gr.kss2").

We recently came to know that a team located in Mumbai (= Bombay) had devised an excellent method for the synthesis of tabla sounds. We hope to make it accessible to BP2 users shortly.