Exploring the “Intricacies of Mridangam” with T S Nandakumar

Exploring the “Intricacies of Mridangam” with T S Nandakumar
Photo Courtesy: Purna Venkataraman

In the world of Indian classical music, the Mridangam holds a place of reverence, its rhythms echoing the ancient traditions and cultural heritage of India. Stepping into this world with an authoritative guide, T S Nandakumar, a maestro of the Mridangam, has released his latest book, “Intricacies of Mridangam,” a comprehensive exploration of advanced techniques and compositions that promises to enrich the understanding and skills of percussion students and enthusiasts alike.

A Legacy Continued

“Intricacies of Mridangam” is not just a sequel to Nandakumar’s preceding work, “Roots of Mridangam,” but a deep dive into the complex world of Mridangam playing. The book meticulously builds upon the basic concepts introduced in the earlier volume, guiding readers through a journey from foundational principles to sophisticated rhythmic patterns. With a clear focus on the application of mohras, koruvais, and Muktayippus, the book is designed to elevate a student’s mastery of Mridangam to concert performance levels.

A Treasure Trove of Knowledge

The book is structured to facilitate a sequential learning process, beginning with finger alignment and sounds, progressing through jathis and thalas, and culminating in the art of crafting sequences and pallavis. Each chapter is enriched with examples and compositions, presented in varied mathematical patterns, making it an invaluable resource for both practice and performance. The inclusion of review questions encourages self-assessment, ensuring that students not only read but also internalize the teachings.

Bridging Traditions and Future Generations

The essence of “Intricacies of Mridangam” lies in its dedication to preserving the unique paadam of the Mridangam tradition. By emphasizing the nuanced pronunciation of konnakol and intricate finger alignments, Nandakumar seeks to uphold the rich heritage of this ancient instrument. The book’s impact, however, extends beyond individual learners. Many of Nandakumar’s students have gone on to become accomplished musicians and respected teachers, thereby ensuring the continuity of Mridangam’s legacy.

A Visionary Author

T S Nandakumar, the visionary behind this work, is a celebrated Mridangam artist and the director of TSN’s Percussive Arts Centre Inc. in New Jersey. With a distinguished career as a performer and educator, Nandakumar’s contributions to the field of Indian classical music are profound. His dedication to teaching and preserving ancient Indian art forms has made him a pivotal figure in nurturing the next generation of Carnatic percussive artists.

A Celebrated Release

The book was officially released on March 17, 2024, by Dr. Venkataraman Swaminathan, a renowned musicologist and scientist, at Bridgewater Temple Auditorium, New Jersey. This event not only marked the addition of a significant resource to the world of Indian classical music but also celebrated Nandakumar’s ongoing commitment to the education and propagation of the Mridangam.

“Intricacies of Mridangam” stands as a testament to T S Nandakumar’s expertise and passion for the Mridangam. It is a beacon for students and aficionados of Indian classical music, illuminating the path to mastery of this divine instrument. Through its pages, Nandakumar ensures that the art of Mridangam playing continues to thrive, inspiring future generations to explore and cherish the rich tapestry of Indian classical music.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


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