15908Re: Translation of this sentence?
- Aug 8, 2012Dear Samaneri Dipa,
some time ago I did research on Burmese music with a German friend, who has now become a (lady) professor for Ethnology of Music at the University of Halle/Germany.
She was writing a book on the songs in worship of the Burmese Nats.
Your question came up in the course of our discussion, and I learned something new:
In Western theory of music there is NO clear cut DIVIDING LINE between music (singing a song) and recitation of sacred Latin texts in church.
The old European church music (Gregorian church music?)is very similar to recitation, in so far as it has an even and measured tone, and almost no melodic embelishments.
In medieval European church music the music was not noted in the same way used today. The had a script called "neume", to note down church music, which only indicated whether the voice was rising or falling (?).
Butin the musical theory of ancient India (and probably of South East Asia) there is a DEFINITE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SINGING AND RECITATION.
In recitation there are no accompanying musical instruments, there should be no melodic embellishments of the voice, or very little. There is no intentional contrast of attractive voices like a male singer and a female singing together or in a kind of dialogue.
RECITATION HAS A SORT OF BASIC TUNE, which many differ from monastery to monastery, but it should be uniform and sober. IT IS THE SAME TUNE FOR ALL THE TEXTS that are being recited in that monastery.
Young monks or young nuns (or Buddhist associations of lay people) practise reciting the Paritta, or the Paatimokkha in unison, to give a harmonious group recitation, but they do not intentionally use the contrast of high and low voices, to create variegated music as is done in Western choir singing. The text is the important item, not the melodious sound.
It requires some practise to be able to recite in harmony with a large group.
I must say that I have heard Buddhist recitation by Sri Lanka monks, who sound like music. And these reciters are popular and famous. But I regard this as a variation not recommended by Lord Buddha. India also has a large variety of recittaion styles and some of them are very ornate.
Please remember that the schriptures were learned by heart, reciitng them. In a monastic establishment with young monks or nuns who are studying, you will hear soft voices reciting the texts alound, while reading them. They are not singing, it is soft and melodious, but very uniform.
Sister Akincana (Saama.nerii)
P.S. I would have preferred to write my answer directly in the blog, so that everyone in the group can read it. But I do not know how to do this, as I joined the group only recently. So please share with the others whatever you want from this E-mail.
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Samaneri Dipa <dipaeightprecepter@...> wrote:
> Does anyone know the difference between chanting with intonation and
> That is the part that I find confusing. How to know what is intonation and
> constitutes singing.
> with friendliness,
> Sister Dipa
> Audio Talks http://groups.google.com/group/discourses-of-the-buddha
> Ten Topics recommended for discussion by the Buddha AN 10.69
> sÄ«la= precepts
> samÄdhi= settled, still mind
> paÃ±Ã±a= wisdom
> vimutti= freedom
> vimuttiÃ±Äá¹adassana= knowing and seeing freedom
> appicha= wanting little
> santuá¹á¹hi= contentment
> viriya= energetic striving (one who has not yet laid down the burden of
> paviveka= solitude
> asaá¹sagga= avoiding socializing (solitude)
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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