Krsna Kirtana Songs est. 2001 www.kksongs.org
Hare Krsna! At the end of this guide, there are few points I would like to mention.
Melody is arguably more complex than rhythm. With rhythm, a specific tala will remain as that tala. Of course, one will make their own style of a rhythm, but kaherva tala will remain kaherva tala, not dadra tala or anything else. With melody, while renditions of a particular melody might be there, melodies can be sung in eleven swars (in Western terminology, in the key of eleven possible notes). Plus, while there are roughly three hundred sixty rhythmic cycles existent, there are thousands of ragas, which yield a rich treasure of melody that can always be fresh. With this truth, it becomes very difficult to teach harmonium.
Therefore, I have never taught harmonium, as my classes are primarily group based. Therefore, I began writing this guide in July 2004. Constantly thinking of new ways to teach and present this material on the web lead to enumerable changes in the syllabus. Finally, after having a private independent student take instruction from me, I gained a better perspective on what the guide really needed: practice. I could teach all the theory that I wanted, however, if they cannot use that in the real setting, then what is the use of what I taught? I limited the theory to whatever was needed in order to be successful in harmonium. With this practical experience of teaching, I’ve been able to redo the course and present a practical approach to harmonium, three and a half years later.
Of course, I did not teach how to derive melodies. That only comes through practice with understanding and recognizing the musical scales, thāts, and musical modal forms, rāgas. Studying these and practicing these will allow you to mature in your playing techniques. Good practice can be done through looking through the fourteen songs presented here, and practice them in other swars for the Sa. In addition, the KKSongs Notations for Vaisnava Songs (http://www.kksongs.org/vsongs) contain the Bhatkhande notation and style for many more bhajans. Practice and accompanying when you have the chance is the only way to succeed.
With best wishes in musical and spiritual endeavors,
Webmaster of KKSongs.org
January 2, 2008
UPDATED: June 18, 2009