What is Konnakkol – video
The Art and Science of rhythm in South India has been transmitted orally for millennia, through the Guru-Shishya parampara (the master-disciple relationship) and is considered by most musicians and scholars the most complex and elaborate rhythmic system in the world.
Konnakkol (also transliterated as Konakol, Konnakol, Konokol, Konnokol) is the Indian traditional ancient classical artform of orally articulating Carnatic music percussion syllables.
Its rules and concepts, handled down for millennia, still form the basis of every Indian musical form.
Konnakkol consists in the recitation of percussive syllables typical of the Carnatic musical tradition combined with the representation of Tāla (rhythmic space) with precise hands gestures. These basic syllables are then combined into words (Solkattu) and sentences and organized into much longer structures. The art of Solkattu recitation in a concert setting is called Konnakkol.
Why is konnakkol so special?
The extreme rhythmic complexity is for sure one of the most known aspects of konnakkol, but there are many other elements that make it a really artistic language.
The study of Konnakkol brings a deep, yet intuitive, assimilation of very elaborated rhythmic concepts, through an absolutely unique scientific methodology – useful and inspiring for any Western musician.
It is important to understand that Konnakkol is not just combining syllables and words and inventing some structural-mathematical relationships with the Tāla. The knowledge of the tradition with its aesthetic rules is essential in this sense.
These rules are those that determine the the artistic greatness of a Konnakkol performance. We will mention primarly clarity, diction, modulation, inflection, extension, melody, timbre – but of course, also precision and coordination. Reciting in an artistic and expressive way is one of the essential parameters that really can make Konnakkol an Artform, far beyond the mathematical aspect.
The formal choices for the juxtaposition of syllables and words, are always guided by the aesthetic “codes” of tradition.
The scriptures have laid the rules and given the exact syllables to be used in practice. The correct pronunciations ensure the renditions are powerful and impressive. Beyond performance, by precise recitation of Konnakkol, one can achieve a positive impact on body, mind & soul. On the other hand, using distorted and incorrect syllables may result in adverse effects & poor performances.
Omar Cecchi, disciple of Vidwan B.R. Somashekar Jois, is the Italian ambassador off World Konnakkol Academy (world’s premiere music Conservatory, dedicated purely, exclusively to the propagation of Konnakkol).
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