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Issue 17. Fall 2020:

Welcome to the World Rhythms News, an infrequent newsletter dedicated to world music education. To subscribe, use the form below. Follow instructions thereafter, and make sure to check "World Music Education" in the "Interests" section of the sign up process.

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In this issue:

South Indian Vina Music

In Western Notation with Guitar TAB


Ragam: Valaji (1,3,5,6,b7)
Talam: Adi (8 beats)
Arranged by Matthew Montfort

Notation of South Indian Vina Music

Matthew Montfort is a pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar (an instrument combining qualities of the South Indian vina and the steel string guitar). Montfort spent three months in intensive study with vina master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the note-bending techniques of the South Indian vina to the guitar.

Those who wish to study South Indian gamaka (note embellishment) on guitar need not have a scalloped fretboard guitar in order to play this arrangement: an electric guitar with light gauge strings or an acoustic guitar tuned very low will work fine. It can also be sung or played on any instrument that can slide between notes.

This example from Montfort's studies with K.S. Subramanian is in a simple pentatonic raga (a melodic recipe for a mood involving ascending and descending scale patterns), which uses the root, major third, perfect fifth, major sixth, and minor seventh. The tala (rhythmic cycle) is a common 8 beat cycle known as adi tal, which is expressed with a hand clap on beat 1 (sam), a finger count with the pinkie on beat 2, a finger count with the ring finger on beat 3, a finger count with the middle finger on beat 4, a clap on beat 5, a wave on beat 6, a clap on beat 7, and a wave on beat 8.

Pallavi MIDI Files

GM Standard MIDI files of this South Indian gamaka exercise are presented here, arranged for General MIDI guitar and conga and bongo:

Further Resources

Check out Matthew Montfort's Indian Raga for Western Musicians online class. To learn more about the rhythmic side of Indian music, check out these online exercises in Indian tala and sign up for the Got Rhythm online class. Have trouble reading music on guitar? Sign up for his Learn to Read Music Through Classical Guitar online class. Can't make the class? Schedule a private online lesson!

Blue Bear Masters

Matthew Montfort's Masterclasses Return to the Bear Online

Matthew Montfort taught music at the Blue Bear School of Music for over two decades. This fall, he returns to teach three virtual masterclasses:

1. Learn to Read Music Through Classical Guitar Technique

Teenage Student of Matthew Montfort Performs RecitalAdult Student of Matthew Montfort Performs RecitalAdult Student of Matthew Montfort Performs Recital

November 3 to December 8, 2020 (Postponed from September 29), Tuesdays from 8:30 to 9:30 PM, Learn to Read Music through Classical Guitar Technique, Blue Bear School of Music Online. This class by Matthew Montfort will get you started learning to read standard music notation, while at the same time introducing foundational classical guitar technique that you can also apply to other styles of playing. You'll learn simple etudes and classical pieces, great for boosting your fingerstyle skills while actually having fun learning to read music! Tuition: $160 for six weeks. Buy Tix. Facebook Event.

2. Got Rhythm?

Book Cover

World Beat Workshop Returns to Blue Bear Online September 30 to November 4

Get Rhythm!

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India by Matthew Montfort.

This classic "world beat bible" by Matthew Montfort takes the student on a musical voyage through the ancient rhythmic traditions of Africa, Bali, and India with a series of exercises that require no instruments to perform. Interesting, imaginative and fun, these rhythm exercises will be of immense help to all music lovers, not just percussionists. The new downloadable companion set of MP3 audio guide and MIDI groove tracks of the exercises in the book is set up for playback on Mac and PC computers, tablets, and smartphones.

3. Indian Raga for Western Musicians

Scalloped Fretboard Guitarist Matthew Montfort

Improve Your Improvisation Skills Through Melodic Training

November 5 to December 17, 2020 (Postponed from October 1), Thursdays from 6:15 to 7:30 PM, Indian Raga for Western Musicians, Blue Bear School of Music Online. World fusion pioneer Matthew Montfort will help you improve your soloing in any music genre from rock to jazz to free improv through melodic training. You'll learn the emotional power of each interval and how to construct meaningful melodies through the tradition of Indian raga. Open to all instruments. Tuition: $200 for six weeks. Buy TixFacebook Event.

Private Online Music Lessons

Skype Guitar LessonLearn Ancient Traditions on Skype

With Ancient Future Bandleader Matthew Montfort

Private Online Lessons with Ancient Future Bandleader Matthew Montfort. Study any of the musical traditions featured on the Ancient Future web site, all styles of guitar (and other fretted instruments including ukulele, bass, mandolin, charango, and sitar), record production, composition, world rhythms, music theory, and repertoire for all instruments.

There are many advantages to online lessons. The lessons can easily be recorded, and it is easier to evaluate a student's technique with a camera than from behind a music stand. The main drawback to online lessons is that recording software is needed to perform duets due to internet latency issues. But duets are possible online via file exchange, digital audio workstations, and a free browser-based multitrack recording platform.

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