A few weeks ago I had posted how much I was impressed by Bebot, an iPhone app, which gives you so much more for just $2 (albeit running on a $300 device ;-)). I had mentioned that the fact that the entire touch screen is one “continuos” playing surface very much like the Haaken continuum makes it a potential candidate for producing carnatic music gamakas in a way that could surpass most keyboards (even with portamento control).

At that time I had admitted that my initial attempts at producing carnatic music on it were (expectedly) unsuccessful. After all playing any music on a new instrument is a challenge – and that too carnatic music, which I would argue is the ultimate challenge for the player and a continuum like instrument. On top of that, with the iPhone you have an extremely limited playing surface in terms of real estate – a problem that should be largely alleviated by the iPad.

A week or so after that post, I had labored long enough to be able to produce something that could be called to resemble carnatic music ;-), and that is the subject of this entry.. Of course in the spirit of true experimentation, I have mixed a “different background” than the standard tampura drone of Carnatic Music. Hope you like it, and hope you can guess the raga in spite of any mistake(s) (there is certainly one suspicious phrase)

Note: There was post editing and post processing (i.e. to add effects etc. some of which also to change the timbre slightly) was done with GarageBand.

I actually like the way the background brings new hues into the melody – hues that are completely unexpected for this raga but yet strangely compatible. This was a revelation to me, in spite of the fact that this concept is not new at all (e.g. pretty much standard fare in Indian Films , and also is Anil Srinivasan does). By revelation I mean that I did not at all foresee the end result when I was adding the background music to a melody that until then the familiar, standard carnatic (barring flaws ;-)) feel.

The addition of background to me makes the whole piece become multi-layered – it certainly enhances the melody.

Oh by the way, here is a video demo by A.R. Rahman playing a semi-classical piece on the Haken Continuum on the Haken Website:

Playing the Bebot is sort of like that – except you have a very small playing surface 🙂