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Folk Music of Tamil Nadu

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Deanna Mustachio

on 21 June 2016

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Transcript of Folk Music of Tamil Nadu

The Folk Music of India
Cultural and Historical Aspects
India is less than half the size of the United States, but has more than four times as many people.
Tamil Nadu
India was a British colony from 1858 to 1947.
Divide and rule policies
British left India in 1947
India split into Hindu and Sikh India and Muslim Pakistan (E. Pakistan now Bangladesh)
Displaced 1.27 million people and resulted in the deaths of several hundred thousand to a million people
India continues to be approximately 80% Hindu
(Although the British East India Company had been effectively ruling parts of India since 1757)
Bollywood is the nickname for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). While Bollywood is only a part of the Indian film industry, it is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest centers of film production in the world.
Songs from Bollywood movies (filmi songs) are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers, and actors lip synching the words to the song on-screen. Some notable playback singers are Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, and Udit Narayan.
Bollywood stars are followed much the same as their Hollywood counterparts. Favorite actresses include Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, and Kishore Kumar. Favorite actors include Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, and Abhishek Bachchan.
Bollywood movies are almost always musicals, with elaborate song and dance numbers including exotic locations, intricate dance routines, and instantaneous costume changes. Many Western musical characteristics and instruments are prominent in Bollywood today, but it is not uncommon to see a very Western and a very Indian song in the same movie.
The music of India
Music in India falls into three categories:
Classical Indian music is taught orally by a guru to a shishya. Shishya study diligently for many years to gain mastery of their musicianship.
Indian classical music is monophonic, based around a single melody line which is played over a fixed drone. Pieces are based melodically on particular ragas (scales) and rhythmically on talas (meters).
Hindustani music is from Northern India. It is notable for its Persian and other Middle Eastern influences that were added to the existing structure and music system, as a result of long Muslim occupations in Northern India.
Indian classical music is divided into two main forms, Hindustani and Carnatic. Carnatic music is from Southern India, and maintains the regimented melodies of traditional classical Indian music, though it uses some Western instruments.
Overarching characteristics:
similarities in string and wind instruments
Tamil Nadu is primarily rural - 60% of people in Tamil Nadu live in its more than 16,317 villages
Imperial power from 1526 to 1757
Mughal emperors were Muslims
Rise of the middle class
and extravagance of elite
Religious tolerance
India is made up of twenty-eight states and seven union territories.
It has fourteen official languages and several hundred individual regional dialects or languages.
There are more festivals than days in the year

The traditional differentiations of the caste system are significantly more pronounced in Tamil Nadu than in many other parts of India. This means that occupation, community, and traditional cultural practices are dictated in most of Tamil Nadu by caste.
Land, language and culture that have existed since the prehistoric times
Ancient settlements were not isolated, but were connected to other civilizations through trade
Tamil Nadu culture has remained mostly unchanged over time.
Instruments prominently featured
in the music of Tamil Nadu include:
Misc. Percussion
Naiyandi Melam
Shruti Petti
Work songs, including Kappalpattu (songs of the boatmen) and Etra Padalgal (songs of farm workers), are sung to relieve the tediousness of hard manual work.
A popular type of village entertainment is the Villu Pattu (bow song). In this style, energetic storytelling is interspersed with well-known folk songs. The main storyteller plays the villu, and is always accompanied by the ghatam, and sometimes a drone and various drums. The original intent of adding songs to the story was to keep the audience awake!
Puru Pattu, also known as pigeon songs, have been sung in Tamil Nadu since the eleventh century. It is a call and response song with simple accompaniment in which a love sick maiden asks animals, birds, and natural objects like the the wind to tell her lover about her affection.
Thappattam is a style practiced among the Dalits of the Tamil Nadu. The simple dance is accompanied by the dancers playing on the thappa.
Karagam is a village entertainment like Villu Pattu, in which the dancers balance an elaborate pot on their heads in praise to the rain goddess Mari. It is accompanied by exciting music played by the nadaswaram and a variety of drums.
Devarattam is a style specific to the Rajakambalam Nayakar community. It has existed in the same form for hundreds of years, and was originally on the victorious return of the King and his army from the battlefield. Devarattam is danced to the distinctive whirring sound of the Urumi.
There are many more styles of folk music in Tamil Nadu - even within this smaller state there is huge diversity between musical traditions in castes, between villages, and in tribal communities. What you have seen is a sampling of some of the styles of dance and music that predominate in Tamil Nadu.
("The End")
Mukha veena
Shylaja singing an Etra Padalgal with Manaveeyam Veedhi
Community >Personal Space
Caste System
Organizes the division of labor and power

Urban vs. Rural

Discrimination is illegal
The Mughal Empire
Freedom and Partition
Diversity in India
Villisaiyil Avvaiyar - storyteller Sri Subbu Arumugam
:30 and 1:40
Thottu Kada Orathile - sung by Dr. Vijalakshmi Navaneetakrishnan
Schoolchildren performing a Thappattam in celebration of Indian independence day
A large staged and choreographed Karagam
At Muthamizh function
Full transcript