Sruti is like the soul of the Indian Music. It is said “Shruthirmaatha”- Sruthi is the divine mother of music. The sruthi is the basis of the music-the base of all notes. Sruthi is the divine source from where the music is born and flows melodiously. Sruthi is just like the mother who gives birth to her offspring and guides him/her throughout the life without going off the track. Sruthi guides the singer throughout the concert without losing track..
Sruthi is the musical pitch. All the musical notes are born here and defined with respect to the chosen Sa or the Aadhara Shadjam. The Shadja is also the state of rest, which if not properly aligned could lead to a state of unrest, unease, or disturbing. In fact, the first exercise given to a student is to sing repeatedly the notes S , P , S , – in order to establish the shruti. The most commonly used drone, is a stringed instrument called the tambura or tanpura. Now a days electronic Tampura is also available for ease of carrying and convenience.
The recognition of pitch is an inborn trait in humans and gift of god. This inborn potential can be sharpened by training in music. Choosing the correct sruti suitable for each voice is very important.Your Guru can guide you in this aspect.
Getting ready to Sing
Listen to the tambura or sruti box, for quite some time- say for 3 to 5 minutes. While listening do your breathing exercises or pranayama. This will help you to elevate your mental harmony and will set you in a musical mood and also will help to calm your otherwise turbulent mind.
- Slowly and in a very steady pace sing S , P , S ,.. .
- Sustain on each note as long as possible without shiver or quiver. With practice you’ll be able to hold your breath longer.
- Sruthi alignment is itself a major exercise to be practised everyday to achieve a rich and rounded tone to your voice.
Sustaining on a particular note should be like the flow of oil through a funnel..very steady- without any spurts.Yoga can play a good role for improving the quality of voice and attaining richness of voice in addition to regular practice using Tambura or shruti box.
The inborn talent of singing in alignment with the sruthi is God’s gift. Generally sruthi gets established at the age of 5 or 6. Blessed are those kids who can always hear the sruthi at home (someone in the home has taken up singing or is interested in music and listens to lots of great music !). But there is hope for others also who have this GOD given singing talent. They can attain perfect pitch alignment with rigourous practice. The saying goes “PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”. This inborn potential can be sharpened by proper training in music. Perfect rendition of music in alignment with sruthi leaves a soul stirring, mesmerising impact on the listener.
The important point is that when you sing anything, you have to keenly LISTEN TO YOURSELF singing. Your mind has to do both the balancing act of singing and listening to the sound you produce. This feedback is very important. By doing this you can identify your mistakes in sruthi alignment-whether your Shadjam is perfect Sa or a frequency lower or higher. If its higher or lower, then you are out of pitch. If there is no real shruti in the music and singing, the songs just won’t appeal. . Before being qualified as a musician who can perform on stage you have to equip yourself by consistently singing in perfect Sruti.
Keen listening to the singing by great Masters gives a good lesson on how perfect Sruti sounds.How they maintain the sruthi in different situations for instance when they sustain on a steady note-say Sa or Pa, a note with a glide or gamaka etc.
The legendary M.S.Subbalakshmi, whose music is brilliant and sublime serves as a living demonstration of perfection in Sruti.
Attain Salvation / Spiritual Enlightenment through Nada Yoga ! 🙂