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Alankara Technique

 

One of the best ways to practice Indian music, whether it is instrumental or vocal, is through practicing alankaras. The alankara (lit. decoration) is the method of producing notes in various permutations. This allows the fingers to be oriented with developing where the notes are and changing direction. This procedure also develops fluidity.

 

For example a good practice method shown in the video is using the Bilaval Thāt in succession of threes.

 

S R G R G m G m P m P D P D N D N S N S R

 

The succession is always Da-Ra-Da Da-Ra-Da. So in the above example, you play Da-Ra-Da Da-Ra-Da for S R G R G m respectively.

 

In the video and the above example, we started from S which corresponds to String#2. If you have a Vilayat Khan model that lacks one or if you are not too comfortable at first, just play alankaras on String#1 starting with m.

 

Try successions of fives once you have mastered threes.

 

S R G m P R G m P D G m P D N m

 

Try practicing this technique with other ragas found in the Ragamala once you have mastered the Bilaval Thāt.

 

UPDATED: June 23, 2009