Develop your skills of rāga, tāla, and Sanskrit
pronunciation through Allison's course 'An Ocean of Sound', then expand your repertoire

This resource is for An Ocean of Sound students

The Music Library

The songs in this library are a mix of songs I learned at Ashrams, chants I composed myself, or songs I learned on the suggestion of mentors. I am not a Classical Indian Musician, but my teacher is, and so my approach to Indian Music uses some fundamental principles that any child growing up in India with an interest in music might learn. An Ocean of Sound will teach you the foundation for reading these charts and applying your knowledge. The course will also suggest approaches to music that are inherently Indian and foreign to the purely Western approach in music. 

The chant book mentions authors for longer form songs when known, whereas the charts do not currently mention composers. I do not name authors for most kirtan chants as it’s not customary to do so. In fact, many Indian composers wrote beautiful songs and denied any credit, instead giving authorship to a more well known name so that the song would have credibility and have more likelihood of being sung by the village. Songwriters seemed more interested in their songs being sung than in harnessing credit for their compositions.

The path of discovery

On completion of the 10 week course, if you practice and keep up, you will be able to read the charts in this music library and suit them to your own voice. Some chants are quite simple and you’ll be able to play them straight away. Others will take more practice of scales and development of your ear and listening skills before you can play them. 

When putting all the pieces of the library together, a metronome is essential. Any free app or old school metronome will do. I use iTablaPro and will include a short lesson in An Ocean of Sound on how to use this particular app.

Stay curious

I think one of the best pieces of advice that my mentor K. Sridhar gave me was to listen to more Indian artists if you want to pronounce Sanskrit well. And, listening to Indians express their music gives us as carriers of chants a stronger connection to the spirit and nature of this music which is distinctly non-western. In that spirit, here’s a list of some favorite Indian and Pakistani vocalists to listen to for pronunciation and vocal technique. Check them out on YouTube or Spotify.

  1. Kishori Amonkar
  2. Jagjit Singh
  3. Maithili R Thakur
  4. Mehdi Hassan
  5. Swami Haridhos Giri
  6. Sooryagayathri
  7. Subhadra Desai
  8. Shruti Sadolikar
  9. Kaushiki Chakraborty
  10. M.S. Subbulakshmi
  11. Sonu Nigam
  12. Anup Jalota
  13. Senior Dagar Brothers

If you’re still curious, and want more paths for investigation, here is a list of my favorite Classical Indian musicians who are all masters of tāl and rāga:

  1. K. Sridhar: sarod
  2. Bismillah Khan: shennai
  3. Nikhil Banerjee: sitar
  4. Zakir Husain: tabla
  5. Hariprasad Chaurasia: flute
  6. Senior Dagar Brothers: vocals
  7. Tyagaraja: Composer
  8. Ali Akbar Khan: sarod
  9. Ravi Shankar: sitar

This course is closed for enrollment.

Course Curriculum

  Intro Info
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  Gaṇeśa Chants
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  Devī Chants
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  Rāma and Hanumān Chants
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  Invocations, Stotrams, and Bhajans
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