20 May 2005

Voice problems

A vocalist I know says that even a few days before a concert she tries to reduce the amount of talking she does. She stops practicing a few days before the concert too - all to give her voice complete rest and the stamina to sing on the day of the concert.

What happens if a vocalist loses their voice? I did some reading into this topic a couple of years ago when my wife went back to India for a holiday and developed a severe case of
Laryngitis. She saw a doctor in Chennai who told her she may have permanently damaged her voice and asked her to see a speech therapist. After several sessions with the speech therapist, there seemed to be no improvement. When we came back to Sydney and just relaxed and stayed calm, the voice returned to normal. Within a couple of months she was able to sing a three-hour concert.

Some useful tips for singers are available through the articles at:


10 May 2005

Concert success

I was thinking about what makes a successful Carnatic concert and came up with this list:

  • Good calibre main artiste.
  • Good health of artiste. Most of the top artistes are capable of producing excellent concerts on their day but sometimes due to ill health or tiredness, voices sound strained.
  • Quality accompanying artistes. There needs to be a good match between the main artiste and accomapnists. If you have a vocalist who is good at kannuku (mathematical) swaras, then the violinist has to be adept at this as well.
  • A rapport between the artistes. Ego clashes will result in poor concerts and a sense of uneasiness on stage.
  • A venue with comfortable seating and good visibility of the stage.
  • A good sound system with quality microphones and fallback monitors on stage.
  • An appreciative and knowledgeable audience.
  • Minimal or no speeches
  • Good concert planning. Getting the right selection that can satisfy the audience. Planning which ragas fit in well, the balance of alapanas and kalpana swaras, etc. Stalwarts such as GNB and Semmangudi were excellent at this. Of course, Ariyakudi Ramaunja Iyengar is creditted with establishing the present concert format.

What have I missed?