Masters Profile: Composition

Karnatic rhythmical system offers paths to create music using rhythmical complexities in a very organic fashion, getting away from the highly-charged ‘intellectual approach’ that has possibly characterised much of the ‘new complexity’ approach to using rhythm. An important aspect of Karnatic rhythm is that it is a system in which the practice methodology and the developmental possibilities of the same concept are inextricably linked. The notion of common denominator impregnates the structural architecture of each technique and its developmental possibilities.

This Masters profile revolves around rhythmical devices/complexities derived from the theory of South Indian classical music (Karnatic music) in order to use them within a western contemporary context. The final goal for the student is to achieve a higher degree of understanding of these concepts and its subsequent utilization in today's music and never to merely copy the Karnatic tradition. Combining the below mentioned Karnatic concepts with western concepts of orchestration, counterpoint and polyphony is a must within the program.

The material focuses on the following points:
1) Theory of South Indian classical music:
    -Rhythmical complexities: Different types of Tala (cycles) construction, all sort of polyrhythms, polypulses, irregular groupings, inner amalgamation, structural metrical modulations, polytalas and mathematical/rhythmical calculations and their relationship to structural development.
    -The study of rhythm, not only as an ‘isolated’ phenomenon of more or less complexity, but as a source for development, creation of structures and forms, feeling for proportionalities and a number of related concepts.
    -Formal and structural concepts: Developmental techniques, different types of forms. Usage of South-Indian geometrical concepts to apply on macro and micro structures.

2) Practical exercises and homework based on the theory.

3) Extensive listening and analysis of recorded material.

The Masters profile will be comprised of the following elements

  • Individual coaching: Every week  students will meet their coach to work on their student's project. Each student is free to choose the pieces to work on, in terms of style and aesthetics, etc. They are also free in how to use the coaching time: for example,  students can choose to work on improving the rhythmicla skills or develop a practice methodology during the session, or learn and apply cell and motivic development to creation, whether improvised or composed, or any other idea they might have. There is no need to think of 'fulfilling' a particular style or aesthetic. The coach's role is to help every student in his/her style and choice, including how to broaden his/her style and choice with karnatic concepts and developmental ideas.
  • Weekly sessions where the ‘roots’ of the material, as well as what other creators have done or are doing with Karnatic rhythmical concepts, will be listened to and analysed within a musical context.
  • Following an Advanced Rhythm composition class each year. Within these lessons, there is 30 minutes a week dedicated to internalising the fundamentals of the rhythmical material.

These pieces are not meant to be a workload added to what the student has to create throughout the year but simply a shift on focus on the material to be used for those pieces.

Structure of credits distribution:
-Main subject                50 credits
-Masters profile            30 credits
-Masters elective          20 credits
-Research/thesis          10 credits
-Individual credits         10 credits
Students will be awarded with 30 credits as part of the main subject (15 credits per year)
All pieces prepared in these two years can be used for the MA1 exam as well as the graduation recital

Before or during the 2nd year, the student can choose to go to India via the Jahnavi Jayaprakash Foundation (Bangalore) under the guidance of B.C. Manjunath, or the University of Mysore, under the guidance of Dr. Mysore Manjunath, for a maximum of 6 weeks in order to attain the ‘Indian’ view on the elements of the program. The student needs to choose a period of the year in which he would miss a maximum of three weeks of lessons in Amsterdam (either in the summer between 1st and 2nd years, or before and after Christmas of the 2nd year seem to be the most appropriate). This could be one of the possibilities of the Individual Credits.
The students need to find their own financial resources if they would like to travel to India and take lessons.