About René Paes

Posts by René Paes :

De prehistorie van rockmuziek

De Rolling Stones worden wel beschouwd als een soort pioniers en godfathers van de rockmuziek, hoewel zij zich ontwikkelden met het naspelen van covers van oudere 20ste eeuwse muzikale fenomenen zoals Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Buddy Holly en anderen. Typerend was het gebruik van elektrisch versterkte gitaren en drumsets. Rockmuziek is echter veel ouder en gaat terug tot de prehistorie.

Veel onderzoek over Stonehenge is gericht op de verplaatsing van de enorme stenen naar Salisbury Plain en de astronomische betekenis van het monument. Recent onderzoek (Jon Wozencroft en Paul Devereux) suggereert dat de stenen van Stonehenge uitgekozen waren vanwege hun akoestische eigenschappen. Experimenten met het aanslaan van deze stenen leveren bijzondere klanken op. En elke steen heeft zo zijn specifieke klank. Rupert Till, expert op het gebied van akoestische archaeologie, beweert dat Stonehenge een bijzondere akoestiek heeft met overlappende echoes. Hij vermoedt dat luisteraars naar muziek in de stenencircel in een trance konden raken. In het dorp Maenclochog (etymologische oorsprong: steenbellen of steenruis) in Wales werd tot in de 17e eeuw dezelfde steensoort (arduin) gebruikt voor kerkklokken.

Ringing stones, ringing rocks en lithofonen, zo refereert men naar muzikale stenen. Zij komen voor in vele culturen en bieden een bijzondere speel- en luisterervaring. Onder andere de grootte, samenstelling en vorm van de steen bepalen de klank.

Ethiopische lithophone

Verkenning van de klankenwereld uit de prehistorie staat nog in de kinderschoenen. De eigenschappen bij ontspanning, rituelen en heling lijken vrijwel tijdloos te zijn.

Altai Pavel Potkin mondharpen

Pavel Potkin is een mondharpenmaker uit het Russische Altai-gebied van Gorno-Altajsk in zuid-centraal Siberië. Hij vervaardigt mondharpen in grote hoeveelheden en deze mondharpen zijn – vooral – zeer gewild in Rusland. Als mondharpmodel duidt men deze mondharpen aan als Potkin (mondharp, khomus, of vagran).

Deze mondharpen zijn van messing met een stalen snaar. De lengte van het instrument is 7 cm. De klank is zacht, niet zozeer in volume, maar in de betekenis van niet fel, oftewel mellow.

In Altai nemen mondharpen een essentiële plaats in op festivals en deze instrumenten worden veelvuldig gebruikt in religieuze riten van Altai sjamanen.

Verkoopprijs: 25 euro

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Jaw harp demonstration

Demonstration in 9 minutes with 5 different types of jaw harps non-amplified, and in the following sequence:

  • Papua New Guinea Susap
  • Dutch Stoop Mondharp
  • Mini Dan Moi from Vietnam
  • Mongolian Khulsan Khuur
  • Russian Vargan 

Context: Klangkörper Session #A, Utrecht 24 November 2018. Location Pieterskerk, one of the oldest churches in Utrecht, with perfect acoustics. 

De oorsprong van de mondharp

Een verhaal uit Mongolië over het ontstaan van de mondharp

In een ver verleden – nog voor de uitvinding van ijzer – achtervolgde een jager een beer om hem te vellen voor zijn vlees en vacht. Vele dagen achtervolgde de jager de sporen van de beer onder barre weersomstandigheden en tegenslag.

Uiteindelijk zag de jager de beer hogerop een berg die hij beklom. Voorzichtig tegen de wind in blijvend zodat de beer hem niet kon ruiken, manoeuvreerde de jager zich in een positie om de beer te doden met zijn pijlen. Maar toen de jager dichterbij kwam, zag hij dat de beer in beslag genomen was door een tak van een boom. De beer zocht waarschijnlijk naar bessen of ander voedsel. De jager hoorde de beer grommen. En plotseling hoorde hij iets anders. Een bijzonder mooi vibrerend geluid. Toen de jager naar de beer keek, realiseerde hij zich dat de beer doelgericht aan een tak trok, die beschadigd was door de wind of blikseminslag. De tak was gespleten in lange stroken.

De beer was zo geconcentreerd dat hij zich niet bewust was van de aanwezigheid van de jager. Terwijl de beer weer klauwde aan de tak, besefte de jager dat het prachtige vibrerende geluid uit de stroken van de tak kwam. En de beer was in beslag genomen door dat geluid.

De jager was zo verbaasd en verheugd dat hij het leven van de beer spaarde. Hij maakte een kampvuur en bracht vele uren door om dezelfde soort geluiden te maken met de veerkrachtige stroken van een tak.

Terug bij zijn stamgenoten deelde hij deze ervaring en dit bracht anderen op het idee om een strook tak te bewerken en daarin een beweegbare spriet te kerven. Daarmee kan je zoemende geluiden maken en deze laten resoneren in je mondholte. Zo ontstonden de eerste mondharpen.

… riet, hout, walvisbeen, botten – divers materiaal werd toegepast en pas toen, met de uitvinding van het ijzer, beleefde de harp een wedergeboorte.

POOR LITTLE MO‘ in Punch 1853

Lord Sh—sb-y—”Don’t make a Noise here—You’ll get no Relief from this ‘House,’ I promise You.“

Punch, magazine of humour and satire, ran from 1841-2002. A very British institution renowned internationally for its wit and irreverence,  it introduced the term  ‘Cartoon’  as we know it today and published the works of great comic writers and poets such as  W.M. Thackeray,  Mayhew,  P.G.  Wodehouse,  Sir John Betjeman,  Alan Coren  and  Miles Kington amongst  others.   Its political and social cartoons swayed governments, capturing life in detail from the 19th and 20th centuries.  The finest cartoonists appeared in Punch- legends like Tenniel, Du Maurier, Shepard, Pont,  Illingworth,  Fougasse,  R.S. Sherriffs, Trog  and  Searle.

Klangkörper Session #A 24 november 2018 Pieterskerk Utrecht

De eerste sessie ‘Klangkörper A’ vindt plaats op zaterdag 24 november tussen 13:30 en 16:00 uur in de Pieterskerk, te Utrecht. De Klangkörpersessies zijn gratis toegankelijk en bedoeld als een informele uitwisseling tussen muzikanten die met boventonen werken. Uiteraard is iedereen welkom als publiek om me te luisteren.

Een aantal boventoonmuzikanten zijn uitgenodigd om een performance te doen in de prachtige Pieterskerk, net achter de Dom. Wonderlijke klanken in een prachtige akoestiek – een geweldige kennismaking! In het laatste deel zal er ook nog wat ruimte zijn voor samenspel, een aantal muzikanten zullen in wisselende samenstellingen met elkaar improviseren.

  • Omnistase (Handpan, gitaar en boventoonzang)
  • Rico Rel Del (mondharp, mondboog)
  • René Paes (mondharp)
  • Harm Linsen (mondharp)
  • HEUG (Jan Schellink en Danibal: boventoonzang, jodel, mondharp, loops en meer) 
  • MUSO (basklarinet)
  • Cris Dus (mondharp, boventoonzang en meer)
  • Borg Diem Groeneveld (boventoonzang, shrutibox en meer) 

Wij verheugen ons op een bijzondere middag. Boventoonmuziek is geen genre an sich, er komen heel uiteenlopende muzikanten die ieder op hun eigen manier met alle facetten van klank werken. Laat je meevoeren en verrassen. 

Let op: Er is geen catering aanwezig. Entree is gratis, dwz de Pieterskerk is vrij toegankelijk. 

Locatie: Pieterskerk, Pieterskerkhof 5, 3512 JR, Utrecht (stad)
Toegang: gratis
Organisatie: Klangkörper
Meer info: Facebookpagina

 

Online jaw harp instruction / mondharples

We do not live in primeval times, therefore:

Distance education with individual jaw harp instruction via Skype tailored to your own level of experience and learning goals.

Oermuziek Rene Paes Mondharp

We leven niet in de oertijd, maar in de 21e eeuw. Daarom:

Tijd- en afstandongebonden individuele mondharpinstructie via Skype op maat afgestemd op je eigen ervaringsniveau en leerwensen.

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Tantric Secrets of the Nepalese Murchunga Revealed

Tantric Secrets of the Nepalese Murchunga Revealed

A paper presented at 1st World Mouth Harp Festival of India, February, 2013

By Ram Prasad Kadel

The Murchunga is a traditional Nepali folk musical instrument; a mouth harp made usually of pure Iron. It is believed to be a favourite of Lord Shiva and is said to have been brought by Kirateshwar Mahadeva.

Introduction

The music culture of the Himalayan region employs music to integrate the health and tranquillity of sarir, man and atama (body, mind and soul) and to connect man to the Paraatma or God. In this ancient landscape, music was not simply developed for entertainment but also for enhancing spiritual wellbeing, and the murchunga, when made following the correct Tantric procedures, was and still is, regarded as a sacred folk musical instrument with inherent healing power.

The mouth harp is thought to be one of the oldest folk musical instruments in the world, going back to at least the 20th century BC (ed.), and is native to Asia. Long ago the Rishi Munis, identified the strong power in iron and realised its potential for music making; they already had iron tools as far back as the time of the Ramayana, i.e. the 5th to 4th century BC. Evidence that iron mining began very early in South Asia was given by S.C. Britton in Nature in 1934. He placed the first date of iron production, in this area, earlier than 1000 BC. We also know that the musical culture of South East Asia was well advanced at that time because Bharata Muni compiled his musical treatise ‘Natya Shastra’ about 2000 years ago.

Iron ore deposits are reported from 85 localities in Nepal and Nepal has also exported iron to Tibet in the past. There are still the remains of more than two dozen iron mines in the Mahabharata range of the mid-hill region but all have been disused for at least 50 years. The process of removing iron ore from these mines was too costly, deforestation led to a shortage of charcoal for smelting and there was also no good quality coal available. These days all iron is imported from outside.

Tantra is often wrongly believed to be the yoga of sex, black magic and witchcraft and a way to overpower the mind of others. This is really a misuse of Tantra. We believe that Tantra includes the least selfish and the most practical aspects of the South Asian Vedic religions. Generally Tantrics worship Goddess Shakti or Lord Shiva.

In my book ‘Musical Instruments of Nepal‘ published by Music Museum of Nepal (2007), I mention the close relationship, in form, between the murchunga, trisula, Shiva Linga and the symbol for Aum in Devanagari script.

The secret and time honoured Tantric process of murchunga fabrication

In order to discover a new site for an iron ore mine, one or two methods where used. One way was to taste the leaves of certain plants to detect iron content. The other method used Bhugharbha Siddhi performed by a Tantric Siddha to discern what lies below ground. The Tantric priest would then receive information about the depth and site of deposits by direct communication with the God.

After the mine is open, iron for making murchunga should only be removed after determining the saita (most auspicious time) by consulting an astrologer. The miners must also make a special puja to the Ban Devata, on the day before mining begins, to ask permission to take iron ore for this purpose. If the miners are given a sign during the night, which suggests that the deity is not happy with their proposal, then they will not go ahead. If all is well, they will start work before sunrise.

The miners must all be from the Kami caste or Magar and their name must start with one of 5 syllables, these are ‘aa’, ‘ba’, ‘ma’, ‘pa’ or ‘na’. In addition they must have completed Sani Sadhana. This involves chanting the shani mantra and playing murchunga, in turn, 125,000 times.

When the miners have obtained enough iron ore, they smelt it to purify it. They must then give Chaitenya Dikshaya to the pure iron. After receiving dikshaya the iron is no longer ordinary iron; it is believed to be imbued with special power or energy and also to have some ‘knowledge’ that it will be used to make a murchunga.

Only Kami caste iron-smiths can be involved in the next stage of the process and must have names starting with one of 5 different syllables, these are ‘bha’, ‘ja’, ‘dha’, ‘ cha’ or ‘la’. They must also have completed Sani Sadhana.

The iron for the frame of the instrument is heated in the furnace and then beaten into the shape of a nine year old virgin girl’s yoni. Exactly 64 beats are used to make this shape and these represent the Chhausatthi Kala or 64 artistic disciplines. Next the iron for the instrument’s tongue is heated and beaten into the shape of a 9 year old boy’s linga using exactly 32 beats to represent Battisha Lakshana, the 32 signs of perfection. The linga is representative of Lord Shiva and the yoni is representative of the Goddess Shakti and the two are united by Shivashakti Yoga. This results in the murchunga now being regarded as having a life force or prana. It is treated as a living thing by being bathed and offered food, water, garments etc. This whole process is known as Jiva Nashaya.

An odd number of murchunga are made in each batch and the first 3 are never played but are offered to the fire deity and burnt in the furnace. This is known as the Tin Khutte Sadhana. Fire made the fabrication of the murchunga possible and the smiths wish to pay respect to Agni. Finally the smiths must perform Chhema puja to Sani and Natyaaswora to beg forgiveness for any error in the manufacture of the murchunga.

Now the remaining murchunga are ready to be played but before playing for the first time the musician should practice Bajra Danti Sadhana to make the teeth strong. Thereafter the instrument must be taken back to the smith, annually, in Sawan month, for Pain Chadhauni to refresh the metal. This involves heating the instrument in the furnace until red hot and then cooling slowly by burying it in earth. Also on Rishi Tarpani in Bhadau month the musicians must play the murchunga before his or her Music Guru in order to recharge the instruments energy and his or her own playing ability. If the Guru is no longer living then the musician should go to play at one of certain Shiva temples such as Kumbeshwor or Kageswor, or at a Natyaaswora temple the main one being Kabilasha in Nuwarkot.

The murchunga’s repertoire includes hundreds of different rhythms and melodies. Certain melodies are played for specific rituals or occasions, including marching, healing, worship, attraction etc., but the musician may be from any religion, of any caste, and of any age or sex. When the musician’s performance reaches a certain stage of perfection, and he or she hears the naada constantly, then he or she is ready to become a Siddhi and should certainly play at Kabilasha Temple on Janai Purnima and a year later should bathe in the holy lake Gosainkunda. The musician is then a Naada Siddhi perfectly accomplished in naada sadhana and has the capacity to heal all manner of illnesses using the powerful therapy of the murchunga’s music.

There are four very auspicious nights, in the lunar calendar year, for a musician to play murchunga and receive strong revitalising energy; these are Shiva raatri, Mohar raatri, Kaala raatri and Sukha raatri. The main reasons for playing a Tantric murchunga, are to heal and help others, and also to speed one’s own attainment of Mokshaya.

The playing of Murchunga has also been used to influence the sex of a child, about to be conceived, especially in royal households. The hopeful parents should first carry out Bhaga Bhairava Sadhana and then play the murchunga just before intercourse, or else they can ask musician’s to play in the next room during their sexual union. The timing is also important. If they wish for a girl, intercourse should take place on an odd numbered day between the 7th and 19th day after menstruation or, if they prefer a boy, on one of the even numbered days between the 8th and 20th day.

Iron is the only metal ever used for making the murchunga’s tongue but there are other sources of iron, if iron mined according to Tanrik principles, is not available. One source is iron from a trisula, a sickle or a three headed nail that has been offered to a Peepal tree by a person who has a problem and is praying for its solution. The offering must have been stuck in the tree for at least 3 years for it to be sufficiently purified. After this time the smith may take it to make more murchunga. The manufacturing process is the same; only the mining stage is omitted. So the smith must still have a name beginning with ‘bha’, ‘ja’, ‘dha’ ‘cha’ or ‘la’ and must have completed sani sadhana. Another permitted source of iron for Muchunga making is the iron from a shoe of a black horse that has been to war or who has carried a pilgrim on parikarma pilgrimage around Mount Kailash and Lake Man Sarovara. The iron from the clapper of certain animal’s bells can also be used. That from a red or black cow’s bell, is used particularly when doing sadhana for monetary prosperity, that of a hunting dog’s bell, is particularly good for self-protection and, that from a horse’s bell, to induce hypnotism. Music from a murchunga made from the clapper of a buffalo’s bell can be played to dispel the fear of death or to counteract evil imposed by witchcraft. The buffalo is the mount of Yama the deity of death. The clapper from the bell of a mule can also be used but only for instruments to be played by sexually sterile musicians.

Alternative metals can be used for the frame of the instrument and certain metals are more suitable for particular purposes. Copper, is the metal of choice for the frame of a murchunga used in Saatwik Sadhana, Gold, for Rajashik Sadhana, and silver, for teaching an unborn child. But for advancement towards mokshaya or for achieving the status of naada siddhi only a pure iron murchunga will suffice.

These ancient Tantric methods of making murchunga are rarely, if ever, used in modern times and therefore old Tantric instruments that have been regularly maintained are especially cherished. The musician must have performed all sadhana and ritual requirements to retain the Tantric power in his instrument and in him or herself. Specially respected murchunga are passed down from a Guru to a chosen pupil and the new keeper must also observe all the Tantric rites or else the instrument and its player will lose their energy.

A new murchunga with full Tantric power can still be made, even if the procedures described above are not carried out. If a special instrument is manufactured at the auspicious time of a total solar eclipse then it doesn’t matter who makes it or where the iron came from. The murchunga will still have perfect Tantric energy and full Tantric healing potential but to maintain the power, into the future, the annual rituals and sadhanas, on behalf of murchunga and player, must be strictly observed.

Most of the information reported above was learned at the feet of our own Gurudeva and spiritual master, Swami Akandananda Saraswoti a humble, but, never the less powerful, Guru with great healing energy. He preferred to be known simply as Sadhak Satyam and taught a very simple philosophy of simple living. He believed that Tantra should be used for the service and betterment of all God’s creatures.

De magie van organische klankopwekking (de herontdekking van de mondharp)

Bijna geen ander muziekinstrument bestaat in zoveel verschillende vormen, afmetingen en met zo gevarieerde speeltechnieken als deze klankopwekker die in elke jaszak past. De mondharp was in haar beste tijden een geliefd muziekinstrument van handelsreizigers, herders, soldaten, zwervers, narren, heksen en tovenaars tot de opkomst van het industriële tijdperk. In de 70-er jaren van de vorige eeuw ontstond een opleving in folk- en hippiekringen. Sinds enkele jaren komt de mondharp opnieuw tevoorschijn in een post-elektronische organische muziekwereld. Hoe klein de mondharp ook is, het instrument heeft een geschiedenis waarover vele verhalen te vertellen zijn, die teruggaan tot de voorchristelijke tijd.