Picture a college professor standing at the front of a crowded auditorium and speaking to a group of three hundred students. The speaker, sharp-eyed and astute, has a glass of water and stands tall and mighty behind a podium. He projects a series of sounds toward the dreary-eyed students – a mouthful of verbs, adjectives and nouns, all carrying different meanings. The speaker’s information may be fascinating and well organized, but one MU researcher doesn’t ask why someone is speaking. He’s more interested in studying how the speaker is communicating.
A major part of Radhakrishnan’s research entails comparing voice production between Western classical singers and Indian classical singers. After studying the voice levels of both cultures, he concludes that Indian classical singers do not rely on breath support nearly as much as Western singers.
Taan gestures are a fraternal fluctuation used by Indian classical singers. Western classical singers tend to use involuntary mechanisms for vibrato that require very little voluntary control and more breath support. Taan gestures are voluntarily controlled, and can be used rapidly or slowly depending on the singer’s emotions.