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Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music [Paperback]

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Item description for Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music by David P. Nelson...

Solkattu, the spoken rhythms and patterns of hand-clapping used by all musicians and dancers in the classical traditions of South India, is a subject of worldwide interest--but until now there has not been a textbook for students new to the practice. Designed especially for classroom use in a Western setting, the manual begins with rudimentary lessons in the simplest South Indian tala, or metric cycle, and proceeds step-by-step into more challenging material. The book then provides lessons in the eight-beat adi tala, arranged so that by the end, students will have learned a full percussion piece they can perform as an ensemble. Solkattu Manual includes two DVDs featuring performances of all 150 lessons, and full performances of all three of the outlined small-ensemble pieces. Ideal for courses in world music and general musicianship, as well as independent study. Book lies flat for easy use.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wesleyan
Pages   150
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 8.25" Height: 11.25"
Weight:   1.06 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 31, 2008
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819568716  
ISBN13  9780819568717  

Availability  0 units.

More About David P. Nelson

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Reviews - What do customers think about Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music?

Best Book available on Solkattu  Jan 30, 2009
I have been waiting for this book for 30 years. Everything is so clear and understandable. The book and DVD are excellent. This is the best book available on the subject. -Scott Davidson
Profound Rhythmic Furtherance. Get it and get into it.  Nov 13, 2008
If you have ever heard Carnatic rhythm, you recognize an intricate and profound music. (If you have not yet heard, I recommend Vidwan by Ramnad Krishnan featuring the rhythmic accompaniment of T. Ranganathan, the author's teacher). If your curiosity is piqued and you decide you want to learn in the resplendent, centuries-old oral tradition of South Indian Classical Percussion, where do you begin? Say you are fortunate enough to find a teacher, you will likely need to travel to India and devote yourself to learning the manual technique of Mrdangam, Kanjira, Ghatam, or Thavil. Don't let me discourage you: I did it, and can testify it's a very fulfilling pursuit. It also requires years of dedication. If that's what you are looking for: GO! But let me suggest you maximize your potential and master the principles David Nelson sets forth here first.

And if travel is not in your cards and you are a musician, or aspiring musician, who wants to awaken and further rhythmic sensibility, I urge you to digest this book/video. Solkattu Manual will challenge and reward you with perhaps the most complex, intricate and colorful rhythmic tradition alive. All you need here is your hands to count, your mouth to speak, and you are ready to embark on a rhythmic odyssey that will sharpen your timing; integrate pulse, cycle and phrasing; and lead you to states of sublime beauty.

Though it can be applied to any instrument, Solkattu does not require one. So with Solkattu in your repertoire, your music is portable. You'll never again get bored if you find yourself waiting somewhere in line. Your mind will be singing...

"Ta - Ta Jem - Jem - Ta Ri Ta Ku Ku Na Ku Ku Ta - Di - -"

David Nelson has succeeded in offering an accessible manual that is not only true to the vast tradition of Carnatic percussion, but also relevant to music making of many kinds. Though more succinct than his 1,000 page Ph.D thesis, Mrdangam Mind, it is not a smaller feat. With finesse that only comes through years of teaching, Nelson has distilled essential principles and emphasized useful practices from a deep oral tradition. The lessons progress musically, and the participant develops a web of various skills, knit together through practical application.

I can speak confidently of Nelson's excellent playing and teaching because I learned from him, and his teacher, T. Ranganathan. From nine musical generations dating back to the Tanjore Court, Ranganathan first came to Wesleyan University in 1962 and focused much of his career on teaching Americans, until his passing in 1987. David Nelson is one of a very few professional level mrdangam players who carries Ranganathan's legacy onward. The unique, cross-cultural pedagogy David learned within, and helped create, is characterized by its uncompromising beauty, but also its flexibility in teaching musicians of diverse backgrounds. There are other excellent schools of Carnatic percussion, but none that have developed the same expertise in teaching westerners. And there is something rare and exquisite about the colorful syllables of this family tradition, steeped in the lively sounds of both dance accompaniment and concert repertoire.

David Nelson has not diluted Ranga's methods, but has furthered them by his tasteful choice of materials and brilliant presentation. As the emphasis in some of today's Carnatic percussion has turned to speed, I find it especially refreshing that, in this volume, nuance and subtlety are alive and musical. This is the real deal. And David's example begs the question, if he can play authentic South Indian music, why can't you? Those of us who knew Ranga are proud that Nelson now holds his position as Artist-in-Residence at Wesleyan, and doubly gratified that Solkattu Manual carries treasures we love to the wider world. It's the greatest pleasure to share in the awesome beauty of this music. Thank you David for leading with mastery, strength and dedication.

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