July 2016 Course Review by Keerat Kaur
Sunday, August 7, 2016. London, Toronto
The most meaningful realization of this summer’s gurbani kirtan retreat was the progression of discernability within the pedagogy. There are many layers of detail within the lessons given to us over the years that have steadily unfolded. The states of svar and taal are perhaps the most starkly apparent. The term “state” is utilized in lieu of referencing these spaces as mere “notions,” as they are both felt and inhabited. They are atmospheres that form and develop as a product of rigorous practice.
The frequency of these spaces harmonizes itself with a person’s natural rhythm.The realm of svar is entered when notes are heard without having to pause to listen. The language of the notes can be spoken and understood without having to inspect for accuracy. This naturalness is felt in the realm of taal when an n’th-beat cycle can be measured without having to give it undivided attention; a composition can be sung in simultaneity with, and awareness of a specific beat cycle.
These layers of depth and understanding continuously reveal themselves with each mile of practice and each guru-shishya opportunity. A student successively gains the necessary tools to understand higher levels of musical and spiritual detail. One can only extrapolate, in awe, the elements that are yet to make themselves visible and contribute to the oneness with which dhrupad keertan can be expressed.