Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Classification of musical instruments


 

When we talk of the classification of musical instruments, the first thing that comes in our mind is the traditional four-fold classification. This classification has been very elaborately described in 'Sangeet Ratnakar'. Many papers have been presented on the subject and many research works have been published in the pursuit of this topic. Therefore, I will not go into the details of this traditional classification. In this paper, I would like to draw the attention of the distinguished audience to the limitations of the aforesaid classification. Prof. Lalmani Misra, in his remarkable book on musical instruments, "Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya", had for the first time felt the need to reclassify the musical instruments. In fact, he proposed some new categories in the same book. However, the conservative world of our musicologists did not take note of this very urgent matter. So the proposition was not included in the discourses of musicologists except that the research scholars, who took up the subject of categorizing musical instruments, referred Prof. Misra's innovative suggestions. Hence, the need of the hour is that the traditional four-fold classification of the musical instruments should be discussed and analyzed in this context and if the scholars feel that some changes are required in the ancient classification, we should opt for the same.

The ancient classification is stood for around 800 years now. We are aware of the fact that many new musical instruments have come into being in due course of time. There are many musical instruments which cannot be accommodated in any of the four categories. Prof. Misra has suggested many new categories for such musical instruments. For example, Sarod, which is considered to be a stringed instrument, uses a layer of skin to amplify the sound. Likewise, Jaltarang is considered to be a chime, [Ghana] instrument. We are aware Jaltarang is a full-fledged instrument which is capable of solo performances. Therefore, it does not sound proper to include this instrument in the Ghana category. There are many such flaws in the traditional classification of musical instruments. Therefore, I propose a new classification. This proposed classification should be discussed and debated in a very healthy manner. After the discussions, if the distinguished scholarly presence thinks it proper, it can be adopted for the future classification of Indian musical instruments.


 

Proposed Classification of musical instruments:


 

Therefore, on the basis of the above description, we can reclassify our musical instruments in the following categories:


 

1 Tat, The stringed musical instruments,


 

These instruments can further be classified as:

  1. The musical instruments, which are played with a bow, [Vitat],
  2. Group A can further be categorized as:

    A1. Musical instruments with frets, like Dilaruwa etc,

    A2. Musical instruments without frets, like violin, Sarangi, Israj etc.

Group B has a variety of musical instruments which come in different shapes and sizes. Therefore, it needs further categorization:

B1 The musical instruments with gourd like Sitar, Veenas of different kinds etc,

In this group, some musical instruments have one gourd and some have two. The instruments having one gourd can be classified as: B1 [a] and the musical instruments having two gourd, can be included in B1 [b]

B2 The musical instruments which have a gourd-like thing, but it is not the natural gourd; it is made of wood. Such musical instruments which have an artificial gourd and not a natural one can be included in this category. For example, Guitar, Sarod etc.

B3 This category will represent those musical instruments which do not have frets. For example, Sarod, Sarangi etc.

B4 The musical instruments whose tonal quality is modified to the satisfaction of the artist by means of a process called "Juvaari". In this process, the bridge is very precisely given a desired shape on the point on which the string passes by. This results in the production of harmonics, which determines its tonal quality. Instruments like Sitar, Tanpura may be included in this category.

B5 The musical instruments, which are put in a position whereby, the strings face upwards. These include, Santoor, guitar which is used in Hindustani classical music, Swaramandal etc.

B6 musical instruments which have a keyboard attached to them. These include, Banjo, piano etc.


 

2 Avanaddha, The percussion musical instruments:

These musical instruments can also be further categorized as follows:

  1. The drums facing upwards. For example, Tabla, drums used in the Western bands and the military bands.
  2. Both A and B categories of the group 2 can further be divided as:

    1. II. The drums which are not capable of producing a musical note.


 

3 Sushira, The wind musical instruments:

This category has many different kinds of musical instruments. Therefore, it needs further classification:

  1. Simple [wooden, bamboo or metallic] cylindrical shaped musical instruments having wholes to increase or reduce the chamber of vibrating air. This will represent various kinds of flutes, [metallic or bamboo], algoza etc.
  2. Metalic rounded and twisted chambers, which have very narrow whole from the blowing end and a big, bowl-like end from which the air is released. For example, clarion, bigulls etc.
  3. This group will represent the musical instruments which have an air-tight bag in which the air is filled. For example, bag-pipes, Shahnayee etc.
  4. Some musical instruments have metallic chambers. But these instruments have keyboards attached to them. These instruments do not have reeds. For example, Clarionette, saxophone etc.
  5. This group can further be categorized as:

    E1 The bellowed reed instruments; which have a bellow attached to them in order to blow the air.

    E2 The musical instruments wherein, the air is blown through the lips.


     

4 Ghana, The bell/stone/wooden chimes,

This group of musical instruments has a variety of items. In fact, these are not very complicated instruments. Whatever looks to be helpful in order to create or inhance the rhythmic pleasure, is included in this category. Be it a piece of wood, metal, stone, or any kind of synthetic material. For example, Manjeera, Khartaal, Chimta, Jhaanj, Cymbol, Triangle, Qabbakas, Ghungharu, Khanjari, Bells, Stone-chimes etc. here, Khanjari attracts our attention. Khanjari should be included in the group of the percussion musical instruments. However, it has its limitations and there is nothing very special about it. Therefore, it is counted in this category.

These musical instruments can be classified on the basis of the material they are made of. For example, metal, wood, stone etc. these can further be classified as having two or more parameters from the above categorization. Like Khanjari has the metal as well as wood. Khartaal is also made of wood and metal.


 

5 Mishra Vadyas or mingling of two or more categories,

This category will represent such musical instruments which have two or more parameters from the main categorization.

6 Tarang, the chimes:


 

Here, let me clarify that the chimes have been categorized in 4 Ghana, The bell/stone/wooden chimes. However, This group is different from that category. Simply, because the category 2.5.4 Ghana, The bell/stone/wooden chimes, represents only those musical instruments which help in the enhancement of the pleasure of rhythm. Whereas, this category of group 6 Tarang, the chimes represents those musical instruments which can be played to create melody and these instruments can be played in solo performances also. For example, Jaltarang, Naltarang etc.


 

7 musical instruments with amplified sounds:


 

In this era, amplification of musical instruments has been extensively been experimented with. That is why, a special category is required for them.


 

8 Electronic musical instruments:


 

Electronic musical instruments are different from that of the amplified musical instruments. These instruments have an electronic chip implanted in them in order to produce sound.


 

9 musical instruments with synthetic material:


 

Now-a-days, the natural and the traditional materials are being replaced with the synthetic ones. The reason being, the unavailability of the natural material. For example, the gourd for Sitar and Tanpura, is not easily available these days. That is why, the artificial alternatives are being explored. Likewise, the bridges of these musical instruments are being replaced with the synthetic bridges. Moreover, new musical instruments are being made with the synthetic material. Like Plastic drums, Plastic flutes etc.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the occasion of 200th birth anniversary of Louis Braille, we pay tribute to him.


 

The story of Louis Braille's life, told in a lively style

Louis Braille

www.afb.org

Louis Braille (1809-1852)

Six dots. Six bumps. Six bumps in different patterns, like constellations,
spreading out over the page. What are they? Numbers, letters, words. Who
made this code? None other than Louis Braille, a French 12-year-old, who was
also blind. And his work changed the world of reading and writing, forever.

Louis was from a small town called Coupvray, near Paris-he was born on
January 4 in 1809. Louis became blind by accident, when he was 3 years old.
Deep in his Dad's harness workshop, Louis tried to be like his Dad, but it
went very wrong; he grabbed an awl, a sharp tool for making holes, and the
tool slid and hurt his eye. The wound got infected, and the infection
spread, and soon, Louis was blind in both eyes.

All of a sudden, Louis needed a new way to learn. He stayed at his old
school for two more years, but he couldn't learn everything just by
listening. Things were looking up when Louis got a scholarship to the Royal
Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, when he was 10. But even there, most
of the teachers just talked at the students. The library had 14 huge books
with raised letters that were very hard to read. Louis was impatient.

Then in 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school.
Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of 12 raised
dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield
without even having to speak. Unfortunately, the code was too hard for the
soldiers, but not for 12-year-old Louis!

Louis trimmed Barbier's 12 dots into 6, ironed out the system by the time he
was 15, then published the first-ever braille book in 1829. But did he stop
there? No way! In 1837, he added symbols for math and music. But since the
public was skeptical, blind students had to study braille on their own. Even
at the Royal Institution, where Louis taught after he graduated, braille
wasn't taught until after his death. Braille began to spread worldwide in
1868, when a group of British men, now known as the Royal National Institute
for the Blind, took up the cause.

Now practically every country in the world uses braille. Braille books have
double-sided pages, which saves a lot of space. Braille signs help blind
people get around in public spaces. And, most important, blind people can
communicate independently, without needing print.

Louis proved that if you have the motivation, you can do incredible things.

Where Can I Find a Picture of Louis Braille?

We hear this question a lot-why are there no photographs of Louis Braille on
the Braille Bug site?

We looked long and hard for a photograph of Louis Braille. But he died in
1852, and at that time photography had been around for only 13 years. It was
still a relatively difficult and rare process.

Also, Louis Braille's code for reading wasn't adopted by the school where he
taught until eight years before he died. France didn't officially adopt
Braille's system until two years after he died. It wasn't until 1890 that
the code was adopted in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Spain,
and Scotland-and it took even longer to reach the United States. Louis
Braille really became more famous after his death!

Maybe people didn't think of taking a photo of him while he was alive
because they didn't know how famous he would later become. But someone did
think to take an old type of "photo" called a daguerreotype shortly after
his death. Here is a

portrait of Louis Braille

that was based on the daguerreotype. You can see this image, as well as
others, in a new biography from National Braille Press entitled Louis
Braille: A Touch of Genius . As the author notes, "This is the visage of a
dead man; in life, he kept his eyes open."

The only other image we have of Louis Braille is a sculpted bust, which can
be found at the school in Paris where he taught, the Royal Institution for
Blind Youth.

It's hard to remember in these days of digital cameras and instant pictures
how young photography actually is. Sculpture has been around for thousands
of years-photography for only 165 years!

- The Braille Bug

-

What is Braille?

What When you first look at something written in braille, all you see (or
feel) is a jumble of dots! However, like any other code, braille is based on
a logical system. Once you understand it, you'll be able to read and write
braille easily. That's because braille is not a language, it's just another
way to read and write English (or any other language, such as Japanese).
Learn more in "Braille: Deciphering the Code" and check out the other links
below.

Braille: Deciphering the Code

Trivia

Braille Technology

Printable Braille Alphabet Key

braille alphabet card

...Overview of the Braille Bug Site...

table with 2 columns and 44 rows

Six tiny raised dots, ingeniously arranged by a fifteen-year-old boy nearly
two hundred years ago, have brought literacy to thousands of people with
visual disabilities worldwide. Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille
code, was born on January 4, 1809, so January is celebrated as Braille
Literacy Month. The Braille Bug web site for children was launched in
January 2002 to commemorate the achievements of this remarkable young
inventor.

The information, activities, and games found on the Braille Bug web site are
designed to teach children in grades 3 through 6 about braille. As they
explore the site, children will be able to:

list of 6 items

. develop an appreciation for the efficiency and versatility of braille;

. learn why and how Louis Braille invented the literary braille code;

. understand the importance of braille for another famous blind person,
Helen Keller;

. learn to recognize braille letters and numbers;

. describe different ways to read and write braille, including the use of
technology;

. use suggested resources to learn more about braille, blindness, and
related topics.

list end

About Braille Literacy

Braille enables people who are blind or visually impaired to develop
literacy skills comparable to those of sighted people who read print. Those
who know braille can perform tasks as varied as jotting down a phone number,
writing a shopping list, solving a long division problem, reading a musical
score, or composing a doctoral thesis. Sighted elementary students initially
are fascinated by braille as a kind of "secret code." However, as they learn
more about braille and its many uses, they expand their knowledge of people
with disabilities and the accommodations they use to lead full and
successful lives.

Accessibility

Children who are blind or visually impaired can enjoy the activities on the
Braille Bug website right along with their sighted classmates. However, they
will need special software and/or hardware on their computers.

. Those with low vision have the option of

changing the color of the site

to increase contrast and make the text easier to see. They also may use
screen magnification software to enlarge the text and pictures on the
screen.

. Those who do not learn visually may access information and participate in
the games & activities by listening. To do this, they need to have a screen
reader installed on their computer that will read everything that appears on
the screen, including text, menus, icons, and alt tags. All the games and
activities are designed to be completely accessible. However, the objectives
for children who participate by listening are somewhat different from those
for children who access the site visually. Although they will not be
learning to recognize simulated braille letters and numbers, they will
benefit from practice using their screen readers as they select menu items,
listen to information, and play the games. Children with screen readers may
access the games that have simulated braille characters by listening to the
alt tags that give the dot numbers for each one. In this way, a player who
is blind can work on the same questions with a classmate or friend who is
sighted. This arrangement can promote the development of social interaction
skills for both children. Children who would like more practice using their
screen readers may also select the "

Jumble Puzzle

" game that provides clues in regular print letters and words, rather than
in simulated braille.

. Those who read braille may access the screen by using a refreshable
braille display or by downloading and printing out a hard copy of the file
on a braille embosser. Directions for creating a hard copy of any part of
this website are found in another submenu item under "

Parents and Teachers

" entitled "

How to Download Braille Files

."

The Home Page

The Braille Bug, a ladybug with the six dots of the braille cell on her
back, welcomes children to the website on the home page. There are four menu
items for them to choose from, in addition to the "Parents and Teachers"
item:

Change the Colors of the Site

: Children have the option to change the color of the text and background
based on their personal preferences for comfortable viewing.

What is Braille?

Five submenu items provide children with information about the Braille
Code, tools used to read and write braille, and the life of Louis Braille.
It is recommended that children read "Braille: Deciphering the Code" before
attempting any of the games or activities under the next main menu item.

list of 5 items

.

Braille: Deciphering the Code

-An introduction to Louis Braille's systematic arrangement of dots in the
braille cell to form letters, punctuation marks, and numbers. In this
section children also learn about braille contractions and short-form words.
These are special symbols or spellings that reduce the amount of space
needed for writing words in braille.

.

Trivia

-Interesting facts about braille

.

Braille Technology

-A description of low- and high-tech tools used to read and write braille.

.

Printable Braille Alphabet

-A copy of the braille alphabet that students can print out and use as a
reference while playing the games, writing their own simulated braille
messages, or decoding braille words and numbers they find in the
environment.

.

Louis Braille

-The story of Louis Braille's life told in a lively style.

list end

Games and Secret Messages:

Children can explore a variety of interactive activities that challenge them
to decode simulated braille letters, words, and numbers on the screen. All
of the activities except the first one include a copy of the braille
alphabet and numbers for reference.

list of 7 items

.

See Your Name in Braille!

-Type in any name or other word, and watch it appear on the screen in
braille.

.

Trivia Mania

-Decode braille words related to a specific category, such as "Insects."
After a practice round, players earn points for correct answers.

.

Riddles

-Read a riddle in print and decode the braille answer.

.

Braille Jumble

-A more difficult version of Trivia Mania. The braille letters for each word
in a specific category are scrambled. Players decode the letters, rearrange
them, and type their response. After a practice round, points are awarded
for each correct answer.

.

Jumble Puzzle

-Games designed for use with a screen reader or refreshable braille display.

.

Countdown!

-Decode the braille numbers, figure out the pattern (such as 2, 4, 6, 8),
and type the next number in the sequence. After a practice level, players
earn points for correct answers.

.

Secret Message

-Send a coded message to a friend by clicking on the letters of the braille
alphabet or typing in the text. When the message is sent via e-mail, the
friend will receive instructions on how to see it in braille and decode the
words.

braillebug@afb.net

list end

Louis Braille

: The story of Louis Braille's life, told in a lively style.

Helen Keller Kids Museum Online

: A fascinating timeline of Helen Keller's life and achievements. Includes
photos, videos, letters, and more!

We hope that the children who use this site will enjoy learning about
braille and begin to understand its significance for people who are blind
and visually impaired. During the coming year, the Braille Bug website will
expand to include a Reading Club and Friends area. We welcome your comments
and suggestions, which may be sent to

braillebug@afb.net

Send instant messages to your online friends http://in.messenger.yahoo.com

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fighting terrorism

In the aftermath of 26-11 barbaric terror tragedy of Mumbai, the nation is expressing the anger, distress and above all, the frustration arising out of the lack of a real political will as well as the united and cohesive effort especially, from the leadership, to act rapidly, decisively and strongly in order to eliminate terrorism and extremism from our soil. No doubt, the terrorism has become a Global phenomena and it is difficult to deal with it unilaterally. Even the United States had sought the cooperation from the international community after the 9-11 terror strikes in New York. Therefore, if India has sought the same through the United Nation's Security Council, [and a partial success has been achieved], there is no reason why frowns should come on any face. However, the tendency of looking towards the US for the solutions to all our problems looks to be our indecisiveness or short-sightedness which is dangerous and hence must be rectified. We have been fighting a proxy war with Pakistan for more than a quarter of a Century now and yet we have not been able to devise a suitable strategy to counter this undeclared war! This war has been imposed upon us and yet Pakistan successfully makes the international community believe that they are the aggrieved and we are the aggressors. We keep on giving concessions to our hostile neighbour on different counts and at different levels apparently, thinking that someday the good sense shall prevail and we would be able to live like good neighbourly nations, but the hostilities are rising up incessantly and without any break in the magnitude as well as dimension. To pressurize Pakistan, we look towards the US, the UN, and the International community. All the three praise our self-control, yearning of "good neighbourly relations", our far-sightedness etc and apparently, build up the pressure on Pakistan to our happiness and we feel satisfied that enough is enough; From now on, Pakistan will not repeat the Terror tactics. This is the reason why we have not been able to design an original strategy to combat the hostilities imposed upon us.

The political leadership

For the politicians of our country, "the chair" is the destination by hook or by crook. All kinds of the divisive tactics are used to woo the voters as they say, everything is fair in love and war. They tactically create their vote banks on the basis of caste, religion, language, region, gender and all other such issues. Unaccounted money is arranged for such activities and the revenue department keeps on sleeping. Many of our leaders squander lavishly on the occasions like birthdays, weddings etc and the income tax officials apparently, have nothing to do with these activities. Most importantly, the masses watch these irregularities on TV but very easily forget everything. They do not use their right to vote reasonably, judiciously and effectively. That is why, the criminals, who should be in jail, become the members of the legislative assemblies and the parliament. When some terror tragedy occurs, our leadership demonstrates a show of fire crackers through their lip service. Strong words are used mostly without direct reference to any country, as "we are the matured politicians". Many suggestions and plans are discussed in detail. Media makes the scenario spicier. The emotions of the masses are ridiculed and misused. But after a while, everything is forgotten.

Small states like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan etc strike upon us and we revise the lessons of keeping restrain, tolerance and the universal brotherhood. Countries like Israel very strongly can control the whole Arab world and we have to seek advice from the US whether or not we have the right to self defence. "We cannot engage in a full-fledged war because it is not in our interest", states the leadership of our country. We are destined to die but do not have the right to kill as it is inhuman and hence does not suit the noble Indian tradition. It is far better to sacrifice one's life for the motherland than to live in the fear of the terror. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "If I have to choose between the violence and the cowardice, I will opt for violence." However, with our leadership, the case is the opposite.

Solutions

So what is the solution? Should we accept the situation as our we are destined to? Are we nothing but the puppets of the destiny? Not at all. Swami Vivekananda had very rightly said, "We are the brothers and the sisters of the Almighty, we are the sparks of the divine fire burning in our hearts. How can we be nothings! We are everything, ready to do everything, we can do everything and man must do everything."

We have the capacity to strike back. We have the potential to eliminate the terror not only from our soil but from the world. What is lacking is only the will power. Dedicate yourself to the nation and you will see miracles happen. The illness of the individualism has been trying to extinguish the fire of the patriotism. Remember, if the nation lives, we live but if the nation dies, who will live! Those who have the individualist approach must think over it.

For years now, we have been living a duel life. We tell others that we are very helpful, caring, sensitive to other's pains, and we posses all the noble qualities. But when it comes to the practice, we forget everything and do whatever in our own short-term interest. We cheat others, we bribe, we see the road accidents but do not react, and we see others in pain but think it better to run away unnoticed. We teach our young ones to speak the truth but when somebody comes to our doorsteps who we do not wish to see, we tell the same children to tell a lie. We have to come out of this hypocrisy.

If bribery is bad, it is bad for everyone. Do not bribe, even if you have to lose some important position. Because, the corruption begins not from anybody else. It begins from you. Contribute to stopping corrupt practices by pledging that you will not bribe in order to get favour.

On one hand, we oppose the Bangladeshi migrant and on the other hand, we hire them as the domestic aids as they are the cheaper ones. Pledge that we will not hire any illegal migrants for any purpose.

The general elections are not very far away. Let us pledge that we will use our right to vote very judiciously. We will surely vote and choose the right candidate. We will not consider the religion, caste, language, and other such things about the candidate but will elect him/her purely on the basis of his qualities.

If the public in general, adopts the aforesaid pledges, we will see a great welcome change in our country.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dear admirers of Indian classical music!

For a long time I have been planning to create a web space for the good quality musical compositions in Hindustani classical music. Eventually, I have decided to use "youtube" as a tool for the same. My first contribution in this direction is a Drut Khayal in Rag Yaman. Please click Here, and listen to the Bandish. Your comments as well as suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Classical music vs Popular music


 


 

All the fine arts can be categorized in two groups. Namely, one, classical and two, folk arts or the arts of the masses. In this essay, we will discuss the art of music in its classical as well as the folk form.

Music is a fine art wherein, the medium of expression is the sound. However, not all sounds are used in music. Only musical sounds are permitted. In the terminology of music, the sounds that are considered musical are called 'tones' or 'naada'. These tones are expressed through musical notes. Names of these notes differ from place to place but in the present era, it is universally accepted that there are seven musical notes in one octave. These musical notes are the alphabet of music. We have just these notes to express ourselves musically. This is the reason, these notes are said to be so important. In the Indian subcontinent, the teachers as well as the scholars of music insist on the practice of these notes. This process of getting control over the musical notes is called 'Swara Saadhana'.

Before going deep into the technical issues, let me tell you that in the folk music, the art comes naturally and instinctively. The folk singers (excluding the professional ones) do not formally learn how to sing or how to take to 'swara saadhana'. In the countryside, people instinctively sing and dance to express their joy and other sentiments. This is the reason that we find folk songs for almost all the occasions. Be it marriage ceremony, occasion of birth of a baby, harvesting season, and what not; there are folk songs for every occasion? Festival songs, seasonal songs, songs associated with different rituals etc are passed on from one generation of folk singers to the one. Thus, the chain keeps on growing.

This is a fact that the origin of all other forms of music is our rich, vibrant and ever new folk tradition. The classical music, popular music, regional music, devotional music, theatrical music, movie songs, light music etc have been originated and evolved from the great ocean of the folk musical tradition. If we go through the first written references about Indian music (the Rigveda), we find that two streams of music have been mentioned there. 1. Aranyagaan and 2. Graamgeya Gaana. It is said that the first one represents the music that was sung by the tribes of the forest. These tribes were far from the urban life and therefore were not cultured enough to devise the rules of singing and dancing.

The second stream of music – 'the gramageya gaana' - was governed by a set of rules and hence it can be considered "nearer to the classical music".


 

Dimensions of music


 

Music is a multidimensional art form. In its origin, it comes directly in our instinct, stimulated by the natural surroundings as well as the specific stage of our cultural upgradation. Culture and civilization play a great role in the evolution of musical expressions. The more we develop culturally, the newer dimensions of music peep in. Hence, the music that was in its simplest form at the dawn of our civilization has now grown as if a big banyan tree, which has numerous roots and branches but is still, retains its originality. If we take note of the present era with regard to music, we find that there is a variety of musical forms. (Let us restrict the topic to the context of the Subcontinent for better studies). In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal etc, we follow almost the same musical tradition. In the region, we have the popular music on one hand and the classical music on the other hand. In between, there are several give and takes, which, more often than not, go unattended.


 

Popular music


 

Generally, music that is popular amongst the masses can be called popular music. However, specifically, it is based upon those music Albums that are the most popular on the chart busters. These popularity ratings are given by the electronic media. Different TV networks, which have especially dedicated to the popular music, provide the weekly ratings for different Songs. These ratings are not very transparent and hence cannot be depended upon. However, these ratings contribute to the promotion of the Album and therefore influence and sometimes fabricate the taste of the audience. Thus, we can define the popular music as "the music which is composed keeping in view the taste of the masses; the rhythm and the beat in this music is such that one tends to dance with the music."

This music includes, the movie melodies, Indipop Albums, Disco music, Remakes of the previous Popular Albums etc. In this list of popular music, the folk music has no place. In fact, in due course of time, the folk and the traditional music has become outdated and hence is not the part of the modern popular music. Popular music, though, is said to be the music of the masses yet it is popular only in the youth of the urban localisations. Somehow, the countryside has gone with the music which is called the folk music. This is also true that as the electronic media has increased its penetration to the rural areas, the influence of the so-called popular music can be felt in the villages too. In short, the popular music has liberated itself from the folk music and has become a different form altogether.


 

Classical music


 

This discourse about the classical/nonclassical music is a new phenomenon to the music of the subcontinent. In fact, in the ancient as well as the medieval periods of the history of the music of the region, there has no such word as "classical or nonclassical". These words have ushered into our music from the Western musical fraternity. These days, the music that is governed by a strict set of rules and is based upon the one or the other Raga, is called the classical music. It is also called "Ragdari sangeet". This kind of music is targeted at a very thin audience which is appreciative of the classical music. There are different musical establishments which continuously endeavour to extend the audience base for the classical music but day by day, it is getting thinner.

There are other forms of music popular in the Subcontinent like the jazz music, the Rock music and other Western experiments with music but such forms too have not been able to find an encouraging audience base. Therefore, we can establish the fact beyond any doubts that the only musical form which has a strong audience base is the popular music. Popular music is called the pop music in its shorter forms. To attract more and more audience, the composers of pop music experiment with new ideas and come up with innovations. This results in newer musical forms like the Sufi Pop, the Indipop, the Arabian Pop, remake of the previously popular songs, Disco Bhangda, Disco Garba etc. These composers reproduce the folk music in a new manner and with new beats and rhythms. Punjabi Pop Star Daler Mahndi has reproduced many Punjabi songs in the so-called popular style of music. Garba, Daandya etc are some of other examples where the pop composers have presented "the old wine" in a new and attractive bottle. On the first observation, it looks that by the aforesaid experiments, the composers of the pop music are promoting the folk tradition of music but after a deep analysis we reach the conclusion that these experiments are destroying the sentiment and the ethos of the real folk songs. They are producing such music just for the sole purpose to make their compositions sellable. Thus, they wish to earn more and more out of the artificial or the synthesized kind of the folk music. Therefore, let us discourage such trends.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Classical music vs Popular music


 


 

All the fine arts can be categorized in two groups. Namely, one, classical and two, folk arts or the arts of the masses. In this essay, we will discuss the art of music in its classical as well as the folk form.

Music is a fine art wherein, the medium of expression is the sound. However, not all sounds are used in music. Only musical sounds are permitted. In the terminology of music, the sounds that are considered musical are called 'tones' or 'naada'. These tones are expressed through musical notes. Names of these notes differ from place to place but in the present era, it is universally accepted that there are seven musical notes in one octave. These musical notes are the alphabet of music. We have just these notes to express ourselves musically. This is the reason, these notes are said to be so important. In the Indian subcontinent, the teachers as well as the scholars of music insist on the practice of these notes. This process of getting control over the musical notes is called 'Swara Saadhana'.

Before going deep into the technical issues, let me tell you that in the folk music, the art comes naturally and instinctively. The folk singers (excluding the professional ones) do not formally learn how to sing or how to take to 'swara saadhana'. In the countryside, people instinctively sing and dance to express their joy and other sentiments. This is the reason that we find folk songs for almost all the occasions. Be it marriage ceremony, occasion of birth of a baby, harvesting season, and what not; there are folk songs for every occasion? Festival songs, seasonal songs, songs associated with different rituals etc are passed on from one generation of folk singers to the one. Thus, the chain keeps on growing.

This is a fact that the origin of all other forms of music is our rich, vibrant and ever new folk tradition. The classical music, popular music, regional music, devotional music, theatrical music, movie songs, light music etc have been originated and evolved from the great ocean of the folk musical tradition. If we go through the first written references about Indian music (the Rigveda), we find that two streams of music have been mentioned there. 1. Aranyagaan and 2. Graamgeya Gaana. It is said that the first one represents the music that was sung by the tribes of the forest. These tribes were far from the urban life and therefore were not cultured enough to devise the rules of singing and dancing.

The second stream of music – 'the gramageya gaana' - was governed by a set of rules and hence it can be considered "nearer to the classical music".


 

Dimensions of music


 

Music is a multidimensional art form. In its origin, it comes directly in our instinct, stimulated by the natural surroundings as well as the specific stage of our cultural upgradation. Culture and civilization play a great role in the evolution of musical expressions. The more we develop culturally, the newer dimensions of music peep in. Hence, the music that was in its simplest form at the dawn of our civilization has now grown as if a big banyan tree, which has numerous roots and branches but is still, retains its originality. If we take note of the present era with regard to music, we find that there is a variety of musical forms. (Let us restrict the topic to the context of the Subcontinent for better studies). In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal etc, we follow almost the same musical tradition. In the region, we have the popular music on one hand and the classical music on the other hand. In between, there are several give and takes, which, more often than not, go unattended.


 

Popular music


 

Generally, music that is popular amongst the masses can be called popular music. However, specifically, it is based upon those music Albums that are the most popular on the chart busters. These popularity ratings are given by the electronic media. Different TV networks, which have especially dedicated to the popular music, provide the weekly ratings for different Songs. These ratings are not very transparent and hence cannot be depended upon. However, these ratings contribute to the promotion of the Album and therefore influence and sometimes fabricate the taste of the audience. Thus, we can define the popular music as "the music which is composed keeping in view the taste of the masses; the rhythm and the beat in this music is such that one tends to dance with the music."

This music includes, the movie melodies, Indipop Albums, Disco music, Remakes of the previous Popular Albums etc. In this list of popular music, the folk music has no place. In fact, in due course of time, the folk and the traditional music has become outdated and hence is not the part of the modern popular music. Popular music, though, is said to be the music of the masses yet it is popular only in the youth of the urban localisations. Somehow, the countryside has gone with the music which is called the folk music. This is also true that as the electronic media has increased its penetration to the rural areas, the influence of the so-called popular music can be felt in the villages too. In short, the popular music has liberated itself from the folk music and has become a different form altogether.


 

Classical music


 

This discourse about the classical/nonclassical music is a new phenomenon to the music of the subcontinent. In fact, in the ancient as well as the medieval periods of the history of the music of the region, there has no such word as "classical or nonclassical". These words have ushered into our music from the Western musical fraternity. These days, the music that is governed by a strict set of rules and is based upon the one or the other Raga, is called the classical music. It is also called "Ragdari sangeet". This kind of music is targeted at a very thin audience which is appreciative of the classical music. There are different musical establishments which continuously endeavour to extend the audience base for the classical music but day by day, it is getting thinner.

There are other forms of music popular in the Subcontinent like the jazz music, the Rock music and other Western experiments with music but such forms too have not been able to find an encouraging audience base. Therefore, we can establish the fact beyond any doubts that the only musical form which has a strong audience base is the popular music. Popular music is called the pop music in its shorter forms. To attract more and more audience, the composers of pop music experiment with new ideas and come up with innovations. This results in newer musical forms like the Sufi Pop, the Indipop, the Arabian Pop, remake of the previously popular songs, Disco Bhangda, Disco Garba etc. These composers reproduce the folk music in a new manner and with new beats and rhythms. Punjabi Pop Star Daler Mahndi has reproduced many Punjabi songs in the so-called popular style of music. Garba, Daandya etc are some of other examples where the pop composers have presented "the old wine" in a new and attractive bottle. On the first observation, it looks that by the aforesaid experiments, the composers of the pop music are promoting the folk tradition of music but after a deep analysis we reach the conclusion that these experiments are destroying the sentiment and the ethos of the real folk songs. They are producing such music just for the sole purpose to make their compositions sellable. Thus, they wish to earn more and more out of the artificial or the synthesized kind of the folk music. Therefore, let us discourage such trends.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scope of Music [Classical/nonclassical]

The scope of music

At present music has many dimensions. Folk music, film music, popular music, light music [Bhajans, ghazzals, Qavvalis etc], regional music [rabindra Sangeet, Bhatiyali, music of northeastern India etc] and last but not the least classical music.


 

Classical and non-classical music:


 

There has been a debate over what classical music is and what non-classical music is. If we take the word meaning, the classical music is that music which is meant for classes and not for the masses. But this meaning does not present a clear picture of classical music. Generally, in the subcontinent, it is said that the music based upon the Raga is classical music. As the Raga is based on a set of rules which are well-defined in the Shastras, the music governed by certain set of rules may be called classical music. Others say that Ragas have a specific ethos of their own which make the music special. It is because of this spatiality of music created by the rendering of Raga, that the Raga music is supposed to be classical and all other music is considered to be non-classical.


 

Matanga's views on classical and non-classical music:


 

Some scholars suggest that the Marga and Desi described by Matanga in his work "Vriddesi" may be considered as classical and non-classical music respectively. Desi: belonging or pertaining to desa or country. It was the art music of the land. This is different from the folk music, which was current amongst the lower strata of society. Whereas marga sangita [music] was in conformity to strict lakshana [science, theory], desi sangita was in conformity to both lakshana and lakshya [practice]. The Vedic music of the present day represents the survival of marga sangita. The art music of the present times represents the cream of desi sangita and signifies the accumulated musical wisdom of centuries. That is why; it does not look fair to ignore the value of Desi Sangeet by denoting it as non-classical. In his subsequent discussion of the evolution of the concept of tala (the umbrella term for rhythmic/metric activity in Indian music), it looks that there has been a significant change in emphasis from early to later Sanskrit treatises: The contrast is striking: structural and suprastructural topics have vanished from the list, and in their place we see a number of concepts designed for the synchronization, control and perpetuation of the cycle, which has now become an implicit assumption of the system. The formal basis of the entire system has shifted from a set of complex modular formal structures to an integrated system designed to facilitate improvisation over a repeated rhythmic cycle. This is essentially the difference between marga and desi and between the prescribed forms of the ritual tradition and the great variety of regional patterns and procedures which began to be codified during the second half of the first millennium. While through most of its history the marga/desi distinction has meant something quite distinct from classical Vis a Vis folk or popular, there are signs that marga/desi has been reinterpreted in this century, semantically moving much closer to classical/non-classical. In a review of recent literature Carol Babiracki found that today "[marga]" sangit is often taken to mean the major, canonical, classical traditions, and desi sangit has come to mean all regional, localized village little traditions." In sum, the classical/non-classical dyad as used in India has a multiple intellectual lineage, incorporating colonial European alongside indigenous Indian modes of thought. Scholars have drawn from both sources evocative and useful meanings for their purposes, though as mentioned above it seems an impossible task to measure their relative importance as progenitors for the twentieth-century classicist discourse. My sense is that in South India, the frequency with which the terms marga and desi are used today in the sense of classical/non-classical is significantly less than in North India. This is a general feeling that there were nothing like classical and non-classical in the music circles before the medieval period. The music of the Durbars of various Navabs developed a special kind of music, full of romance and filled with the compositions which suited to the Navab concerned, created a different kind of music. It was not popular among the masses. In fact there was no access of common person to the Durbars and thus the masses remained far from this "Durbars" music. Later, the musicologists called "Classical" music the above assumption is supported by the book, "Bombay Hindi Film Songs".

The Censor Board considered traditional Indian music to be North Indian classical music, which in fact, was not widely popular, nor was it the music of the masses. According to Naushad Ali, a prominent film music composer, "Classical sangeet [music] has never been the art of the masses. It flourished in the glamorous courts of the Rajas, Maharajas and Nawabs. The common people, who had no access to the great durbars [courts], were never offered the opportunity of listening to classical music. They could not, therefore, acquire an appreciative ear for it. Thus it looks agreeable that the term "classical music" is the creation of modern musicologists as well as eminent artists of music.


 

The Hindustani and Karnatik music:


 

Likewise, the division of Hindustani and Karnataka music was also not visible in the ancient period. It was during the period of great Navabs that the above division cane into existence. As a matter of fact, the Mughal and other invaders who came from west Asia in the medieval era did not know Sanskrit language in which the lyrics of most of musical compositions was rendered. That is why, as they conquered the territory, the music to their liking was developed. As the south India remained unperturbed from this invasions, musicians there maintained the old tradition of Bhatia Sangeet or the devotional music. Clearly, the construction of a classicist discourse earlier this century, envisioning a basic separation of the world of music into classical and non-classical realms (the latter serving as a catch-all for a myriad of diverse traditions), served some vitally important roles. The definition of the venerable South Indian art music tradition known as Karnataka, a term containing semantic resonances of "ancient" and "southern," was updated and augmented, in the English language, as "classical" in a uniquely South Asian way music simultaneously sophisticated, systematic, ancient, and sacred. This definition, fusing European with indigenous Indian concepts, gave focus and impetus to the ultimately successful transplantation of Karnataka music from its former court and temple setting into an urban milieu (primarily the city of Madras/Chennai) where the public concert would become the primary occasion for performance. The classicist discourse came to play a vital role within the nationalist movement, presenting a vision (however mediated) of India's great ancient artistic traditions to contemporary Indians, effectively.

Countering colonial British claims of cultural superiority at a crucial time in the evolving nation's history Partly as a result of this classicist discourse, the Hindustani and Karnataka traditions are today revered as national treasures within India, and recognized and appreciated around the world. Yet we might slightly rephrase John Blacking's memorable "Must the majority be made 'unmusical' so that a few may become more 'musical'?" to ask if, in the process of emphasizing the pure classical-ness of Karnataka music, other forms of (perhaps quite intimately related) musical expression had to be made less so, if something conceptually approaching hermetically sealed spheres of musical practice had to be created in order to maximize the effectiveness of "classical" music within the context of the struggle for independence. In this respect, the dyadic discourse may have incurred costs as well as benefits, leading me to ask how its maintenance into the twenty-first century will serve scholars in their attempts to understand and describe South Indian cultural life. One might argue that the English-language dyad of classical/non-classical has become by 1898 a deeply entrenched, hegemonic, received terminology in South India, a point of departure from which people tend to begin processes of thought and analysis, rather than a carefully considered place of arrival reached after such processes. To the extent that we tend to use phrases like "classical music" without unpacking them or assume an either-or relationship between musical genres, our terminology may be steering us towards certain types of analytical insights and away from others. Specifically, it may inhibit insights with respect to mutual influences or "convection currents" flowing in multiple directions between the multitude of musical expressions (the perceived classical and non-classical) found in South India.

In the discourse which surrounds Karnataka music today in its official organs such as the Journal of the Music Academy of Madras, in newspaper reviews, in formal panel presentations, in informal discussion between rasikas (connoisseurs) a dyadic division of music into classical and non-classical is much in evidence. Classical music is conceived as "of the classes" or "reflective few" (a phrase somewhat ambivalently embraced by Robert Redfield and Milton Singer All the other musical styles falling under the non-classical label are conceived as "of the masses," Redfield's and Singer's "unreflective many."

Before further characterizing what I feel is a dominant trend, I'd like to take note of other currents within the discourse. The hierarchical implications of the classicist paradigm have been revisited, scrutinized, and attenuated by a succession of scholars of both North and South Indian music. Devoting a chapter to "borderlines" in his book Indian Music, B.C. Devavisualizes a continuum of genres "with more or less strict grammar" lying "between the two extremes of gradation." A 1977 paper on "country musicians" and their "city cousins" by Daniel Neuman (published in 1981) attenuates hierarchical implications by rotating the axis of a perceived performance continuum from the vertical to the horizontal Analyzing sociomusical exchange along a continuum from urban to rural, Neuman found the music at the rural or "folk" end to be as cultivated, sophisticated, or reflective as that on the "classical" end. In discussion after the panel at which his paper was presented, remarked that the music of the (rural) Manganiyars of Rajasthan was so close to art music that it was "difficult to make a distinction in other than social ways," and that it shattered his "neat distinctions of folk and classical, urban and rural." To Neuman's comments fellow panelist Nazir Jairazbhoy added: "When I first heard this kind of village music, I had to change all my preconceived notions about village music. It is very highly sophisticated." A report by Stuart Blackburn on an interdisciplinary symposium on South Indian performing arts also raises the issue that what perception we get in the concept of the "classical" is certainly sociological as well as intrinsic or formal: The most heated debate centered on the invidious distinction between 'folk' and 'classical' in the performing arts. Several speakers pointed out interactions, borrowings, and mutual influences between these supposedly separate traditions, although few were able to dispense with these labels altogether. Realizing that some distinction is useful we explored possible criteria for classification by posing a series of questions: Are there formal, intrinsic criteria for differentiating performing arts? Or, should we group them according to public perception of their social status? Further, Carol Babiracki has posited, tellingly, a parallelism between perceived separate genres of music and a very tangible separation of genres of scholarship. She argues that interaction between perceived classical and non-classical musics has been ignored.

Difference of opinions:


 

Different sets of scholars tend to study different musical forms from different perspectives and with different motivations. According to Babiracki,the dichotomy between great and little traditions in musical performance has found its counterpart in a "great-little dichotomy of musical scholarship."

Within the discussion on Karnataka music, there is a widely held belief that the most classical music is that in which the pure, unfettered play of sound is the focus of attention. P. Sambamurthy makes the following statement in his Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians regarding the primacy to be given to the musical element in performance: All musical compositions wherein music is the dominant factor and compositions which are primarily remembered and enjoyed for their musical setting come within the sphere of art music. Art music is also referred to as pure music. As opposed to this is applied music, wherein music is only applied or used for a specific purpose. Religious music, dance music, and operatic music come under applied music. Applied music does not imply that the quality of the music of these compositions is inferior. The term Art music is also sometimes used to signify all musical compositions that do not belong to the sphere of folk music ( any musicians and rasikas specifically caution that attention to the sahitya (text) of a song must be subsidiary to attention to the sounds. Making this point in an exhortative manner is musicologist Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa 28 / 1998 YEARBOOK FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC. Rao, here speaking during the 1967 conference of the Madras Music Academy:

In all forms of high class music there should be a minimum of words and a maximum of music . This unfortunate trait of listening to sahitya [text] and trying to get food for literary thought even while listening to art music made the listeners unduly sahitya-conscious ... I appeal to all lovers of art to listen to raga and tala in music primarily and bestow only secondary thought to words while listening to their musical rendering. Examining the texts for their import should be a secondary study In contemporary South Indian, as distinct from North Indian, performance, a corpus of texted devotional compositions [kritis] forms the basis for both vocal and instrumental repertoire. Whether a concert features a vocalist or instrumentalist, rasikas in the audience will be aware of the texts of the compositions. Here it is note-worthy that the basic scale of Karnataka music and the Hindustani music are different, but when we come to folk music, this difference vanishes. The difference is that of language and accents. This difference is more climatic than of scales. That is why; the prominent music composer A. R. Rahman composes the same tune for Hindi as well as Tamil lyrics. Here I think I should present the viewpoint of one of my friends Rakesh Jain, who teaches English language at Lucknow University. This will show what is the general perception about the classical music. According to Rakesh Jain, "The term classical music is an illusive one. However, it simply means a strict compliance of the rules and regulations with regard to production of fine arts including music, literature, etc. Any divergence from these old rules (ragas) may be considered as being a disregard to classical music, but does that mean no new ragas have been "evolved" over a period of time? Orchestra is a form of presentation of notes and if it produces any music in strict compliance of ragas, why can't it be called a piece of classical music? Did any of the rules of classical music prohibit orchestra from playing / presenting of classical music? It is, however, possible some of the musical instruments that we make use of in orchestra were not available at that time and classical musicians did not give them the status of a musical instrument, for example, sitar has been in our country since long but guitar and Congo are inventions of modern times. Notwithstanding, music is music, be it orchestra that is producing it?"# Apparently, those who are not musicians or musicologists and simply appreciate music like Rakesh Jain, hold that the music based on Raga is classical and all other music can be put in some other category. But the point that new Ragas innovated by the finest performers of music of modern times should or should not come in the category of classical music. If our classical music has adapted itself to the new musical instruments and western instruments like guitar, Mandolian, harmonium, and other such examples have become an integral parts of our classical music, then why is it not possible to accept the popular music of the present era as classical music. All music which is composed on the basis of a set of recognised rules and is pleasant may by all means be called the classical music. There is no harm in it. This way, only we will expand the scope of our classical music and in the long run, it would benefit the world of our music. On the basis of the above study, it can be concluded that all music which is governed by a set of rules laid down by eminent artists and musicologists, supported by cultural traditions and recognised by musicians as well as by Rasikas or the learned appreciaters of music is classical music. It may or may not be based upon Ragas. As before the advent of Ragas themselves, the Shastra had existed and if hypothetically we assume that Ragas give way to another musical form in future, the Shastra will still remain. Hence, it is the Shastra, [theory] and not Raga or for that matter any singing form which is important. Thus any music based on Shastra, which abides by the rules set by shastra, is classical music.


 

Literature and music

Most of the vocal musical forms are woven around some poem or words arranged in meters giving a rhyming touch, thus giving a rhythmic-meter on which the musical notes or Swaras are decorated creating the melody. Some vocal musical forms are based upon meaningless words like Taranas. Although some musicians insist upon that Taranas have some meaningful inferences. Famous Tarana rendered by Ustad Ameerkhan Sahib composed in Raga Darbari Kanhada, is based upon some Soofi poetry. Likewise, some times, Sanskrit words are also inserted in Tarana. But broadly speaking, Taranas have no wordily meaning. They may have some abstract inferences, but the literature of Taranas is more or less based on meaningless words.

Taranas apart, vocal music is based upon a piece of literature. All vocal forms need words to be set in a musical pattern. Thus the vocal musical compositions have two components: 1. Dhatu [literature], and 2. Matu [melody]. That is why; it is said that music and literature have interdependence. In ancient times, when the writing scripts had not been developed, all literature had been based on poetry. These poetic works were sung some times by specifictrained singers and some times by masses. This way the literary works of great importance, were memorised by various persons and were orally transferred to the next generation. This transfer of literature and music from one generation to another, was called the oral tradition. Great epics like odyssey of Homer, Ramayana of Valmeeki, Mahabharata of Vyaas, were created in poetical forms so that they could be sung. The word lyric was derived from Greek musical instrument lyre, which was accompanied while these literary works were sung. In the Middle Ages also this trend continued. Literature used to be created in such a way that people could sing the same. Barah mMasa of Mallik Mohammed Jaysi, Heer Ranjha of Vaarik Shah etc are some of these examples. Soofi romanticist stories like "Laila Majnu" have been and are still sung by folk musicians of Indian as well as Pakistani side of Punjab. Movies have been made on the stories of Heer and Ranjha, Laila Majnu, etc. this shows that poetry when composed in music, attains more power. Thus the relation of literature and music is very old. From the Vedic period, till date, literature has been an important part of music. Bharata clarified it in the Natyashastra that music plays a very significant role in "Rasa Nishpatti" that is, creating Rasa or pleasure in the minds of Rasikas or audience.

This relation of music and literature was so strong that Geeta which was defined as melody in Sangeet Ratnakar was adapted in literature also. Today, many poets compose these geetas and Prageetas. In Urdu and Persian languages, most of the classics are written in poetic form or Shayiri. Ghazals of Ghalib or Meer Taki Meer are popular amongst the singers as well as listeners of so-called light-music till date. Many folk-theatrical forms like Nautanki of Uttarpradesh, Saang of Haryana, and Karyala of Himachalpradesh etc are filled with songs which are sung by specialist musicians. In Parsi theatre, dialogues were written in poetry so that they were easily remembered and there were many songs in the plays based on the Parsi theatre.

To wind up, it can be said beyond doubts whatsoever, that the fine arts , music and literature, have been intermingled. Music is supposed to enhance the effect of literature and literature provides the basis for the compositions of vocal forms of music. Hence, both of these arts are interdependent.

There has been a long debate amongst the musicians over the question whether the words [Matu] or the musical notes [Dhatu] is more important in a musical composition. Although in the lighter forms of music say, Bhajans, Ghazals etc, the words are more important yet in the music which is based upon the Raga, words do not have much significance. Then comes instrumental music. One may call it the music without words. But the Karnataka style of music may be an exception. In Karnataka music, it is the vocal forms like Kritis etc, which are played on the musical instruments too.

In contemporary South Indian, as distinct from North Indian, performance, a corpus of texted devotional compositions [kritis] forms the basis for both vocal and instrumental repertoire. Whether a concert features a vocalist or instrumentalist, rasikas in the audience will be aware of the texts of the compositions. What is being argued by Srinivasa Rao is not that instrumental concerts are superior to vocal concerts or that music without words is superior to music with words, but that the true initiate-connoisseur focuses more on the music than on the text. We can see the currency of this feeling among performing musicians as well, in statements by stalwarts such as the eminent vocalist Musiri Subramania Ayyar that listeners shouldn't "go overboard for sahitya" and violinist D. Venkataswamy Naidu that "It is true that sahitya in Karnataka music has a minor role which however cannot be said to be negligible"

A strong emphasis on the importance of direct contemplation of sound is certainly not at all surprising in the South Asian context, given the antiquity of the concept of nada and the centrality of sacred sound in the practice of yoga Further, this sentiment was certainly reinforced during the colonial period by the elevation of instrumental music in the nineteenth-century European imagination. At the same time, an irony presents itself when we consider this stream of thought alongside another equally venerable and valued one, in which Karnataka music is celebrated as a corpus of sacred sung poetry. As hymns to Hindu deities, the texts of the ubiquitous concert genre kriti are by definition of a devotional nature, and major composers of the tradition such as Tyagaraja have been canonized as saints. The felt need to downplay the bhakti (devotional) Hindu texts in concert performance creates what we might call a cognitive dissonance for some observers, such as Raghava R. Menon, who suggests that even in the Karnataka school where a great deal is made of the saintliness of its composers technical virtuosity is the chief preoccupation of the qualified student. The sad, despairing call of Tyagaraja, asking to be quenched of his thirst for [the Hindu deity] Rama becomes a frond of leaping Solemnity, syncopations and cross rhythms, masses of intricate Gamakas [ornaments] and exploding Arpeggios . It would seem that Hinduism did not want to use music without first sanitising it, making it all into Raga and Tala Vidya [knowledge of melody and rhythm] and offering it through the complex drill and format of the performance. So that even where a tradition almost exclusively of singing saints exists as in the Karnatak school where not a whisper of an earthly or a profane concern is allowed to enter music, it becomes difficult to experience the piety and the vision of Tyagaraja without having to fight your way through thickets of Swaraprastharas [manipulation of tones], through whole gaggles of grace and trills, through too much obscuring skill and craftsmanship. So that you have a situation in which even after the most exalted concert, the listener gets Bhakti only at second hand, slightly shopworn and tried on by too many customers

The diversity of opinion on this particular issue speaks to the complexity of the discourse on Karnataka music and the multiplicity of voices that have an interest in it. While with equal wit and passion Menon advocates close attention to the texts of Tyagaraja's kritis, many rasikas would clearly answer him that such attention properly moves the experience from the realm of classical concert music (kriti) to the category of kirtana or bhajana, devotional group singing. An implicit tension between substreams of the discourse also reflects, I think, the resituating of Karnataka music performance over the last century and the resultant synthesis of formerly separate performance traditions.


 

Vocal and instrumental music:


 

But twentieth century witnessed a drastic change as far as the instrumental music is concerned. Instrumental music or music without words, as some of us may call it, has got more and more prominent in the last century and this march is still continuing. Not a single factor can be held responsible for it. There are many aspects which led to this forward march of the instrumental music. Science and technology is one of them which will be discussed later. Here we would like to impress upon the fact that instrumental music has got an edge over the vocal music not only in the subcontinent but all over the globe. It has been a universal phenomenon. It is the tune [melody and harmony] which has got importance over the words. Even in the Raga music, the vocalists do not bother the meaning of the words they are singing. Neither does the Rasikas [audience] trouble their brains to look upon the meanings of the words sung by the vocalists. Their only preference looks to be the pleasant patterns of notes of the sweetest melodic value. In this era of the globalization, artists have to give their performances round the world. They have to encounter an audience which is multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Therefore, words of one language may not be understood by the audience speaking a different language. That is why, in the performances beyond the subcontinent, instrumental music is getting popular.

In fact the scope of music is so intricate that it is very difficult to sum it up. We have seen that the classical music has so many dimensions. Film music, folk music, regional music, devotional music, tribal music etc are many kinds of musical permutations and combinations. Then these days, Indipop is also getting very popular. Pop music is the short form for the popular music. Now-a-days, so many experiments are being done on musical compositions and music itself that it has been very difficult to ascertain the scope of music. With the advent of the satellite channel of televisions and spreading of cable-TV-network, a kind of cultural invasion is being done upon us. Everybody in the subcontinent is getting influenced by this cultural invasion of the west. Indian subcontinent, having been affected by the colonial regime for hundreds of years, is more prone to such invasion. We in South Asia, have a general inclination towards the western culture. That is why; we have adapted many good as well as bad facets of the western culture. These days, our music is also getting affected by this invasion. We are going away from our own folk traditions and indiscriminately copying the west. Our rich folk music is in danger thanks to the globalization. On our festivals, disco music is played instead of the traditional music. Masses are forgetting the sweet melodies which for centuries echoed in our folk tradition. Music of the masses is fast-changing let alone the music for the classes that is the classical music. In the field of the classical music also, many new experiments have been taken up. These include the fusion of the Indian and the western music, orchestration, forming new musical groups to perform universally etc. these experiments has expanded the scope of our music. We can say that the music of the subcontinent has become the music of the world. Our artists are going in all parts of the world to give a performance. We are exchanging cultural tradition within ourselves through SAARC [south Asian association for regional cooperation] cultural exchange programme. In all, music-scenario in the subcontinent is fast-changing. Some of these changes are in the right direction. Some may be considered not so good. But it is a fact that we have to recognize these changes. We cannot deny them. That is why, it would be better for us to adapt these changes to the betterment of our music.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Voice Over

Those who are the masters of a pleasing voice, those who are capable of hypnotizing the listeners with their tonal strength, have the privilege to offer their voice overs to the countless videos as well as other features. Voice dubbing as well as voice overs are quite familiar with the recording Industry. In Mass Communication as well as the journalism courses, this art has been recognized. For an example of voice over, Watch this video.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

World Peace

The source:

UNI

Redefining world peace on World Music Day

Kolkata:


 

World Music Day should be celebrated every day of the year and not just on one single day, so we can redefine world peace in a much simpler and harmonious note, say Kolkata's musicians in unison.

Almost every singer, musician and dancer- everyone related to the World of Music- had the same opinion and message to offer on the occasion of World Music Day.

Incidentally, World Music Day was a festival that first came to be celebrated in France in 1982 as the FĂȘte de la Musique. It was celebrated every year on the summer solstice. For more news, analysis click here>>

The idea was conceived by the French Minister of Culture Jack Lang in 1981. Today it has spread to Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, China, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan and many other countries.

In this connection, santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya said, ''If we all started our day with music, by simply listening to the strings of Pandit Ravi Shankar or Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, we would never have ill feelings in our mind. Then we can all become musical and would be able to channelise the power of music to find world peace.''

Another aspect that the santoor maestro talked about was that classical music today needs a better packaging. It should be sufficiently highlighted before the new generation so that they will be able to accept it more easily, he said.

He also urged the media to promote Indian classical music among the youth in our own country ''when there is such a good audience for it in other nations.'' Echoing his thoughts, renowned classical dancer Mamata Sankar stressed on the proper utilisation of the power of music which can make people laugh, cry, heal or hurt.

''Music should be such that it touches the soul. World Music Day is a day when we celebrate the union and meeting of different kinds of music from all over the world,'' she said.

''If we can come together in music, why then do we still fight amongst ourselves? she mused, while adding, ''Keeping my own culture and its heritage and classical music in mind I can still say that we need to promote world music and let the chords meet, because it has the capacity to bind people together.'' The term World music includes traditional or folk music or even root music, played by indigenous musicians.

In musical terms, ''world music'' can be roughly defined as music which uses distinctive ethnic scales, modes and musical inflections, and which is usually performed on or accompanied by distinctive traditional ethnic instruments, such as the kora (West African lute), the steel drum, the sitar or the didgeridoo.

Speaking on the essence of the day, famous tabla player Bickram Ghosh said, ''This is a day which brings musicians and music lovers from all over the world together to celebrate the union of so many kinds of music. This in itself has the capacity of redefining world peace.''

Another young percussionist and music composer Abhishek Basu said, for him World Music means that it should have a touch of Indian classical music, since Indian classical music has the power to open one's heart and free one's mind and communicate in a manner that no other language ever could.

World Music is, most generally, all the music in the world. More specifically, the term is currently used to classify the many genres of non-Western music, which were previously described as ''folk music'' or ''ethnic music''. However, ''world music'' does not have to mean traditional folk music, it may refer to the indigenous classical forms of various regions of the world, and to modern, cutting edge pop music styles as well. Succinctly, it can be described as ''someone else's local music''.

Examples of popular forms of World Music include the various forms of non-European classical music life Japanese Koto music, Hindustani Raga music, Tibetan chants, eastern European folk music and the many forms of folk and tribal music of West Asia, Africa, Asia- especially India and Pakistan - Oceania and Central and South America. In this connection, mention may be made of Pandit Ravi Shankar of India and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of Pakistan.

Yet another famous Indian classical dancer Aloka Nanda Roy threw light on the universal character of music. She said, ''Music cannot be divided by geographical boundaries or caste or religion. Music is the language of brotherhood and peace, of the delicate emotions of love and warmth.'' ''Nothing can bring unity and harmony like music and dance.

This creative art has the power to bind people of all nations into one great brotherhood,'' she iterated. In similar fashion another renowned tabla player Subroto Bhattacharya said, ''Music can alone unite this world.'' Reputed classical singer Jojo Mukherjee appreciated the efforts of those who have tried to promote this day so that musicians, singers and dancers from all nations can come together and enrich the world of music.

However, musicians and curators of music have now come to dislike the term ''world music''

An interview with Shubha Mudgal

Source of the interview


 

In Her Own Voice: Vocal Virtuoso Shubha Mudgal

Interviewed by Shikha Malaviya


 

The recital hall at the University of Minnesota is packed on this breezy Fall day, reverberating with the heat of many bodies, squashed together in narrow seats, and the coughs and sputters of seasonal change. In our hands, a baby pink brochure promises us a lecture/demonstration by one of India's finest young vocalists. And in our hearts, a sweet slow ache for a slice of the ancient and modern, the near and far; a desire for the sounds of India, the rumbles of her ancient soul. "She will not be singing any pop music," I hear someone whisper. I smile. Pop Music is how I had found her, her full-bodied voice tucked in the middle of a folksy rock song titled Dhoom Pichuk by the Indian pop group Euphoria. I recall the first time I hear her voice, a commingling of rasa and bhakti, 'hey manjhi re…,' circling then sweeping my ears and heart. My mind spills forth a collage of all of her songs that I have ever heard, from the haunting Toona Song in the film Kamasutra to the fast-paced rhythm of Ali More Angana that my daughter and I often danced to. And then a glimpse of her dancing in the rain, belting out the hard-rocking Ab Ke Sawan. I was ready to hear her: rebel of the raga, saint of swaras. The hall suddenly falls silent as we stretch our necks, straining for that first glimpse of vocal virtuoso Shubha Mudgal.

The versatile singer that we know today was strong and spirited from the start. Born in Allahabad, in 1959, to a family that embraced literature as well as Indian and western music, Shubha grew up in an artistic atmosphere of variety and innovation. As a young girl learning Kathak in Allahabad, she replied to a dance examiner's routine query of "Aap kis gharaane ka naachti hain (what gharana (house) do you dance from?)" with the retort "Hum apne gharaane ka naachti hain (I dance from my own gharana)". That attitude would carry her through the world of Indian classical music, giving her gurus as diverse as Ram Ashray Jha, Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, Vasant Thakkar, Naina Devi, Jitendra Abhisheki, and most notabely, Kumar Gandharva, whose eclectic approach resounds in Shubha's performances, especially renditions of Bhakti and Sufi poetry. On this particular day, she is singing raga Pooriya Dhanashri, Aaja Na Din Dooba, one of my favorite Kumar Gandharva renditions. I gasp in amazement as I hear the same inflections, the exact same pauses, knowing that he lives through her.

As the lec-dem comes to an end, we all stand and clap. With strains of raga Pooriya Danashri still buzzing in my ears, I walk towards Shubhaji as she packs her tanpura, a black sleek wooden one minus a tumba, which she covers gently, as if putting a winter coat on a small child. I approach India's music diva, quietly and nervously. Shubha Mudgal stands in front of me, with her kohl-lined eyes and trademark tika bindi. Her face is innocent and childlike, much smaller and younger than the images on TV or in magazines. And then she smiles. My nervousness melts as I bring both of my hands into a namaskar. We set a time to meet the following day.

Shubhaji and I are seated on a grayish blue velvet sofa, in the home of a music-loving gujarati family in Minnesota. She is dressed in an understated cream salwar kameez and gold earrings. She teasingly asks the daughter of the house, 'Have you finished your homework?' Shubhaji greets me warmly, thanking me for coming. At once I am at ease, so much so, that an hour passes by like a minute. In sixty minutes, we dive into the world of Shastriya Sangeet, from gharanas to gurus. In a voice so soft that I sometimes have to strain my ears, Shubhaji candidly talks about her life as a musician, revealing a self that is passionate, dedicated, and determined.

Monsoon Magazine: How has having different teachers with different styles developed your outlook and meaning of music?

Shubha Mudgal: You know, in a way, with traditional master-disciple/guru-shishya learning, it's not very common to change teachers. In fact, I haven't really changed teachers. It has been possible for me to learn from several people because almost all the people I learned from had an eclectic approach themselves. My first teacher, Pandit Ram Ashray Jha, in a recent conversation with a certain music firm in the United States said, "Maine bahattar guru kiye the (I learnt from 72 gurus)" Normally, saying this would be considered quite blasphemous. But I think what he meant was that even though he physically didn't learn from 72 people, he took and adapted things from them to formulate his own style. I think that is the best part of learning from different people. Each one has focused on a certain aspect of music. And these aspects I learn from all of them. It becomes far easier for me to become open about gharanas, to follow and emulate their ideals, and to see how one can actually borrow from different styles, forms, gharanas and enrich one's own experience.

It is a little difficult to read about yourself in an article on classical music and have everybody labeled Gwalior or Agra or Jaipur and have yourself labeled as eclectic. But at the same time, it has given me an openness of outlook, which I value very greatly.

MM: I know this is a vague question, but what does music mean to you? How does one make a living as a 'commercial' musician and be true to the inner, more spiritual aspects of music at the same time?

SM: It's like life. You decide that you want to be honest and have a certain integrity about your work. And yet you are human and you fail at certain times. Sometimes deliberately, but mainly because it is human to err. Similarly with music, I try--and I am sure that every musician shares this sentiment-- is that one tries to be as honest as possible. There are times when you comprise, willingly, and sometimes you are forced to compromise. There is no doubting the passion and the obsession and the love for music that I, like so many music lovers, have. I mean, it's like a compulsion. I don't do music because that's the only thing that can earn me a livelihood. It also happens to be my profession. But even if it didn't earn me money or fame or concert tours to the United States, I'd still be doing that, which I have done. When one learnt music, it was because one felt compelled to learn. Perhaps one of the greatest things that you learn from music is a sense of humility. When you see other people who perform, you realize this, not just from maestros, but from a child as well.

MM: And what about spirituality and music? Could you shed a little more light on the connection between the two and also tell us a little bit about your own research?

What I am trying to do in my research is see how bhakti sahitya (devotional literature) can guide one's music: Is there a way of feeling saguna (a God with more physical properties)? And is there a way of feeling nirguna (a God that is abstract)? What are those differences? Can one at any point sing both in the same fashion? Because I feel that a lot of times, and this may surprise you, that one tends to mystify everything. Certainly the spirituality and grandeur of music is there, but that doesn't mean we keep harping about that. Today I may sing words, which are connected with a religious ritual, even though I'm not a very ritualistic person. It's only recently that I have started some pooja rituals. If bhakti (devotion) is a certain surrender, a certain focus and concentration on a particular subject, then even the act of trying to hit the correct note is an act of worship. If this is true, then we have to think about sahitya. How is it that so many of these medieval devotional texts (sometimes very erotic also) pervade, and are actually the most singable?

MM: And also the most reachable. It touches everybody.

SM: Yes. Its somehow seems to fit so perfectly. There are concerns and issue that I want to write about. For example, classical music has never been a form of protest. Poetry has. Literature has. But not Indian classical music. (In this vein) there are many issues that I would like to address-to not just put words to a melodic scheme, but to also write my own words. If the words truly reflect who I am, then it doesn't sound like a khayal. If I try to bring them into Braj and Avadhi (Hindi dialects), then I sound 500 years old. These are concerns that have drawn me towards literature, as well as a natural desire to look up sahitya and put words to music, and to see for myself, how the bhakti tradition has emphasized music, especially the Vaishnava (Lord Krishna) cult. In this cult, they say there are only two kinds of seva, bhog seva in which you offer something, as in money or food, and then there is raga seva, which is an offering of music. I think the idea of raga seva is wonderful.

MM: Your research must have inspired you to compose and write a lot?

SM: Yes, the ancient poetry that I've read has compelled me to compose. A lot of what I sing is from the texts that I have been studying. The words are from say, a Vaishnava text, and the tune that it's sung in, is my own. I guess what I haven't really done is to announce at every concert that this composition is mine. Because in a way it isn't, and yet it is. If I announce its mine, I feel that very often people would say 'oh, it's hers. Forget it.' Because we like to think that the older, more antique a thing is, the better it is. In fact, I've received reviews saying 'Shubha has a great stock of old traditional compositions,' and they don't know that it was composed, for lack of a better word, in 1996 or 1997 or 1998 or even in 1999. I guess it just goes to show that we have pre-conceived notions, about what a bhajan is or what makes a composition. If I were to say 'this song was written by Surdas and rendered in my own style', people would say 'you can't sing it that way.'

MM: This brings me to the next question. Through your so-called 'eclectic' style, one could say that you are redefining Indian Classical music and opening up a dialogue on what exactly music is. Your comments?

SM: I think the possibility has always existed. Just take a look at the different kinds of influences that have crept into Indian classical music. If you look at thumri dadra, Naina Devi used to say that the quwwalli influences it. In a quwwalli, you start the composition in fourteen beats and then the refrain towards the end goes into an eight beat cycle. That is also what we do in a thumri. Or for example, in haveli sangeet, we have the same situation present. There has obviously been borrowing from various styles. I think the nature of the music is such that it has always allowed adaptation from different influences and sources. It's just that we fail to acknowledge them. Or we decide to say, 'no, this is pure. It is untouched.' I don't think it is possible to be truly original in that sense, because somebody somewhere has already tried it. But yes, one should allow their artistic urges and compulsions to come through-I mean if you're a musician, how can you say, 'this one is from devotional poetry, so I'm not going to sing it.' I've studied khayal and thumri. But if I like Vaishnava poets, why can't I bring that into my music? Its been done before and it will continue. As long as the basic nature of the poetry and style is not really challenged-and if it is challenged, you are obviously making a place for a new adaptation. Perhaps in my lifetime nothing will happen. Or someone else will pick up on a thread many years later. I think it is necessary to be able to study within a discipline and yet try different things. You shouldn't have to be held captive. At least that's my feeling. But I may be completely wrong.

MM: I feel you're absolutely right. Maybe that's why there will always be critics that say 'she doesn't have a gharana.' I think you have shaken up the Indian music world and that you have given people something to think about.

SM: I think I have just followed what has already happened. It's not just me who has learned from several gurus. If you look at the life sketches of artists living today and gone by, they have been criss-crossing between the gharanas for ages.

MM: So why has there been so much attention focused on you?

SM: I don't know, frankly. I really have no idea. I think the only thing that I have done, although personally I feel that even that is not new, is my willingness and desire to work with different forms. Instrumentalists have had parallel careers in the film world and the world of classical music, like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, etc., in which they have still retained their reputation as maestros of the classical music world. But classical vocalists have not really ventured into the Indian film world to that extent. Of course we have some, like Parveenji (Sultana), Kishori Amonkar, and Shobhaji (Gurtu). However, I think I've been unabashed about these things. I feel that I'm first a student of voice rather than a student of only khayal or only thumri. I feel its necessary for me to try. I have an imperfect voice, you know. My voice has many limitations. As other voices do. Mine perhaps more limited than others. And this is not an attempt just to sound good, you know, or humble. But the fact is that I have a flawed voice. I want to know how to either overcome those limitations, or to see how with those limitations-it's like being born with a round face. There's little you can do about it, you know---you learn to be happy with what you have and work around the limitations and use what you have to the best advantage. I want to see how I can use my voice, with all its limitations and imperfections-can I adapt it to other styles? For me it's the study of voice. But very often I am asked insulting questions like, 'Did you do it for the money?' or 'Did you do it for the fame?' These are questions that would insult any artist's sense of integrity.

MM: That is ridiculous and sad. If an artist makes a significant achievement, they should be appreciated, not questioned.

SM: You know, one of the prerequisites of being a classical musician is that you must dress a certain way or talk in a certain way. We are all contemporary people. There is no need to hide from that fact. We must take pride in being modern people.

MM: Speaking of modern and ancient, one of the things that you've achieved as an artist is a cross-generational audience.

SM: Yes, that is a positive way of looking at this. Young people do come to my concerts, although they may be confused about what I am going to sing. Is she going to sing Ali More Angana or Ab Ke Sawan? Its great fun though, to have people of all kinds appreciate my music.

MM: Yes, it's wonderful. In fact, it makes me feel that your singing in different areas has also created more interest in Indian classical music among younger people.

SM: Well, I must confess, that there was no such noble motive. I just felt that recording technology was very special and needed to be studied carefully. Singing to a track without having live musicians has a challenge of its own, and I needed to see whether I could do that. So my motives (to record songs in various styles) were entirely selfish, I have to admit.

But yes, I do feel very good about the fact that in India (its too early to say anything about the audience here, in the US), I get kids, even six and eight year olds, who attend my classical music concerts and sit quietly. I hesitate to say these things, especially in interviews, because it almost sounds arrogant (but then (laughing) so what). These children do not ask for the popular music. They sit with sketch books, sketching quietly while I sing. After the show is over, these children come up to me for autographs, and I ask them, 'Were you disappointed that I didn't sing Ab Ke Sawan?', and they say no.

MM: I wanted to ask you a little more about your work as a composer. I have not seen too many women composers in the Indian music scene. Why do you think that is?

SM: It's not the custom, especially in Indian classical music, to acknowledge the composer. Normally the composer's pseudonym is acknowledged in the composition. I don't use a pseudonym, because I don't write the poetry that I sing. But, for example, my guru, Ram Ashrey Jha ji, uses the pen name Ramrang. So if you hear a composition done by Ramrang, and you're a musician, you know it's him. Similarly, there's Sadarang, Adarang, etc. But in my experience, all musicians compose for themselves. There are women composers like Kishori Amonkar and Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar. But for some reason, announcing compositions is just not a part of concert practice.

It does seem surprising that there are very few woman composers that one can turn back to, but at the same time, I feel that music is beyond the issue of gender. Even men, who have written, have always taken up a feminine voice to write. Compositions, whether made by males or females, have always been addressed in the feminine. In the end, it really doesn't matter who's composing, as long as the musical statement is made.

MM: It was a wonderful surprise to see your personal presence on the web, through your website:Shubha Mudgal. Can you tell us why you started it and what you hope to achieve with it?

SM: I found that the web was a wonderful way of communicating (in the area of Indian music) but largely used by recording labels to advertise their wares. Or you have sites put up by fans/followers/friends with a photograph and some information, or perhaps a concert schedule. But there was no interaction. I mean, why would you want to visit a music site just to download a picture of an artist? The web seemed like a wonderful opportunity to be able to have an interactive dialogue with music lovers. I think that there is a great need for that, to have a place where people and musicians could ask questions: a democratic space not governed by some group or a recording label, which gives you answers not from a text book, but from personal experience. I also felt as a musician, that it was necessary to articulate this divide between the performer and the theorist, to start discussing things in a simple manner--not too esoteric or academic. It has been a struggle to maintain it though. As an individual, there is so much time and money that one can devote to it, because I am a musician first. And yet I feel that I need to do this too. I guess, unless it's a collective effort now, it's going to be difficult for me to maintain.

Our conversation ends with a discussion of what type of music Shubha favors. "I am keen on listening to all kinds of music," she shares. Although Indian classical music is the most dominant form of music in her life, Shubha Mudgal strives to bring other sounds into her world. And ours.

Come dusk and Shubhaji and her two-man troupe, tabla player Aneesh Pradhan and harmonium player Sudheer Nayak, are seated on a maroon carpet, bathed in a halo of yellow light and fresh flowers. Soon this magic carpet takes off, lifting us, the audience, through flights of musical fancy, making us never want to come down.