BY JAN HAAG



ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART + HAAG'S BIO



THE TEN THATS



A NOTE ABOUT CHOOSING THE COLORS OF THE SVARAS




If the following is too complicated to understand, or even to read, remember what I have said elsewhere:

"My hope is that people, seeing these needlepoints will, first, be attracted by their beauty, then, like bees visiting a flower, stay to savor the honey of their meaning."

As for me, I just wanted to leave a paper trail of the thoughts, circumstances and theories that form the penumbra around needlepointing and Indian music, any of the arts, indeed, any of the actions of life. Like the language of physics our communications are mostly reduced to formulae, to trade back and forth, but like music or color or life -- you miss it if you think you can talk about it instead of hear it, see it, feel it, experience it.

(Maybe do all the following as a link to page -- and/or do I want to put a tiny cut of each color from the ten Thats as introductory "dots".)


How did I choose the colors for the svaras?

Well, with a nod to the above definitions of sources, I chose a "heavy" dark red for Sa, because it is the foundation of all Indian music, heavy and beautiful as a peacock, with a voice you never forget. In rhythm, in my drum (tabla) bols needlepoints, I always associated red with strong, carrying-the-melody, arterial blood from the higher pitched treble drum, going out from the heart; and the blue with venous, the base (baya) drum coming back to the heart, dark with experience.)

Because in the literature associated with Indian music there is much mention of "color," indeed varna means color as well as caste, alphabetic color, while sabda means specifically the sound aspect of color, I once asked Swapanji: "What colors are the notes?" He smiled and moved his head in the Indian manner and said only, "You will know." "But, but, but..." said I, in the American manner. When the time came, I found out I did know I always know, even when they change color, as they sometimes do.

Rishaba/Re is a bright golden yellow, especially next to Sa. I knew I was going to work within the red- orange-gold spectrum, and Re, after the drawn out practice of Sa, always seemed such a '"jump" to me. In relation to the above, it might be said that the cry for the mate is always a cry for the opposite. (As far as I know I never heard a chataka bird crying.).

Gandhara/Ga is a burnt orange, rather homely, a goat bleating, but none the less heart warming, bucolic, and close to Gandharva, celestial music.

ma/Madhyama is the brightest and most appealing to me, I love all shades of red, but I love ma most, and its tivra form, just a bit darker, even though higher, the only sharped note in the Indian scale and, I see, the middle note in the sense of holding the other notes in balance, like a clarion call, and again, I don't know the sound a crane makes, but its elegance, balancing on those legs with such grace is surely one of the triumphs of nature.

Panchama/Pa is the fifth. I'm not enough of a musician to really know what that means musically, but somehow, the scale turns on it, so it is the mellowest of the yellow/golds, it loves Sa, but it is also a cuckoo, and the cuckoo is ubiquitous, it knows, loves and imitates other birds.

Dhaivata/Dha, again for me dha is one of the fundamental notes and is arterial, bright red. A little more toward orange than ma, it is the central, fundamental note on the treble drum of the tabla, played in the center of the gaab. You tune the drum by starting there. It is the "horse" that carries you all the way through, it is the bright and earthy frog,

Nishada/Ni, and then Ni, from the enormous elephants comes this trumpeting, higher than you'd expect, but in the sadhu's orange, sacred, partly hidden, rare and exotic in life.

And high Sa, lighter red than the fundamental Sa, the peacock, in a different tree,on a different roof, crying a more piercing sound.

Those are the colors of my notes, they may not be the colors of your notes. Nor did I sit down and think this out before I began stitching. I chose the colors because I loved them, loved the look of the color's, progression. But I thought it would be interesting to see what my thoughts actually were regarding the colors I chose. Besides, all (Add image in here of one "scale" with just the shuddha colors) The colors I chose would look good imbedded in the dark blue of that lace wool, the color of Shiva's throat. (link to Churning of -- later on) As of, July 13, 2004, these are my thoughts. And remember, as in Indian music, there are many kinds and colors of alankars (p. 341 scan Sanskrit), ornaments, grace notes, gamak, andolan, kampita, mir, kan, sparsh, murki, (p. 279-281) "The Classical Music of North India, The Music of the Baba Allauddin Gharana as taught by Ali Akbar Khan" by George Ruckert (see if this book is on the web and link to it) which manifested themselves during the 9+ years of the stitching of the TEN THATS.

Note about having been frustrated at not being able to find definitions of words, and therefore starting my own lexicon, which I still find, ten years later, unfinished and unpublished a valuable reference tool. A word about not finishing it, by the time I was far enough along to understand it was a lifetime work, I also understood why there was no such thing in existence, every Gahanna and every musician has his/her own way of saying interpreting, understanding each word, theory, thought, about music. Each time they play, these theories thoughts commitments, sounds ornaments may and do change slightly, enhancing definition and often re-channeling a definition. A thorough lexicon of Indian music would have as many pages as the number of minutes which have passed since the first musician, after a thousand years of playing, began to think about what he was doing! Swapanji used to say that some of the early tabla players couldn't even count. Try that as a mindboggling concept -- which seems to the Western mind an impossibility, How can you keep time -- and keeping time is the soul of Tabla -- without counting! The answer probably is: with a kind of psychic awareness, energy, throughout the body.

(HOW MUCH OF THE ABOVE SHOULD I USE?)




Copyright © 2004 by Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@janhaag.com





The Needlepoints

I The I Ching

II The Unicorn

III Green Pillow

IV Armrests

V Narcissus

VI Chinese Chair Pillow

VII Great Grandmother's Legacy

VIIa OM

VIII Octagonal Beanbag

IX Flora and Fauna Beanbag

X Asian Diary #1, Kundalini

XI Asian Diary #2

XII Tibetan Yantra Beanbag

XIII Kalachakra

XIV Eye of Horus Amulet

XV Erika Sachet

XVI Needlepoint-Cattipoint

XVII Palimpsest

XVIII Cantalloc

THE FOLLOWING NEEDLEPOINTS ARE BASED ON THE RHYTHMS AND MELODY OF

NORTH INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC

IXX Tintal Coin Purse

XX Kaida, Tabla Covers

XXI Tukra, Tabla Covers

XXII Mukhra-Tukra-Chakradar

XXIII The Ten Thats






Also visit


21st CENTURY ART, C.E.-B.C., A Context







TEXTILE ART + MUSIC + POETRY + TRAVEL + FICTION + ESSAYS

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO