South Indian Konnakkol in Western Musicianship Teaching

Makarome, Tony Teck Kay (2016) South Indian Konnakkol in Western Musicianship Teaching. Malaysian Music Journal, 5 (1). pp. 37-52. ISSN 2232-1020


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Konnakkol (or South Indian vocal percussion) is an important part of the classical music curriculum in South India. In that tradition, every music student (instrumentalists and vocalists alike) must be familiar with its concepts and theory. The unique aspect of this pedagogical tool is that it is also a performance medium on its own. Classical concerts in India have featured a konnakkol soloist performing a vocal percussion solo in the same way that a jazz concert may feature a drum solo. As a student of mridangam (the predominant percussion instrument in South Indian or Carnatic music), I have discovered that the rhythmic ideas of konnakkol are very relevant for a global music curriculum and have used these ideas in my teaching of Western musicianship at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (National University of Singapore). Although there have been books published specifically about konnakkol as a South Indian art, there has not been much written about how this art could be applied in the teaching of Western music. In this article, I will introduce the basic syllables of konnakkol to those without prior exposure to this art form and describe how konnakkol can be used in teaching Western musicianship. I will also explain how I have taught it as a memory aid for musical score study and as an improvisational device. The exercises I have used in my classroom teaching are based on traditional Carnatic practiceI inherited from my teachers; while the use of konnakkol in score study is part of my ongoing research and experimentation. Konnakkol is appealing in its beauty and allows students to express their musical rhythms in performance tempo (even when it is very fast). This relates directly to how music is felt internally by a performer and is precisely why it is of great use in Western music education.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty Of Music and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Siti Norliza Shamsudin
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 08:18
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 08:18

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