Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Music beyond language

Where words fail, Music speaks First there is silence, then there is sound. Then there is language, then there is a theme. The first thing that penetrates silence is sound. There are two types of sound. One that is musical and one that is unmusical. The first is called Nada and the second is called Noise. The Nada of the Tambura is all pervasive and soothing. That is the first layer in the fabric of Carnatic Music. SRUTI. The sound waves from the Tambura is de regional and de religious. It has no words. But it conveys Peace, Calm and Tranquility. Isn’t that the end result of what Good Music is supposed to give? Now, if a musician has to penetrate this already tranquil Nada and create something more on that, he has to use two tools. That of Raga and Tala. Again, both these are de regional and de religious. One is Melody and the other is Rhythm. The nature of Melody conveys the context of the mood. Raga also means colour and content. The nature of Rhythm and the tempo conveys the pace and the pulse. Then comes language which beautifully conveys a theme. The minute the language comes in, the piece of music is narrowed down to a particular region, situation and theme and in the case of Carnatic music, most often than not, to a particular deity. Language is used on Melody and Rhythm to fix it to a particular place/time and situation. Therefore, language is just a tool used in Carnatic music to fill in a content and context to a piece of music. But that is not the end in itself, it is only one of the means to achieve the ultimate end of tranquility or ecstasy that music is intended to create. In any accepted and acclaimed art form, CREATIVITY is the heartbeat that keeps the art form alive. Creativity in language is called Poetry. Creativity in thought is called Philosophy. Creativity with fingers is called Artistry. Creativity in melodic and rhythmic combinations is called Artistry in music (Manodharma). This spontaneous imaginative outburst of musical ideas is what makes Music an art form. Any art form survives when it reflects the mind and thinking of the man of the current generation. That is when it becomes a living art form, a growing art form. When one century from now, someone gets a recording of Carnatic music as it is now, they should be able to get an idea of how artistes thought, lived, perceived and created music . If the music system reflects only shadows of what people did in the past, some historian would perhaps write in his record that in this century people only re created songs of the past. Thyagaraja composed themes depending on the social temperature of the world he lived in and so did Dikshitar and shyama shastri. Morzart composed themes pertaining to the surrounding he lived in. If Carnatic Music is to be accepted as a art form world wide, it has to go beyond the religious flavour it offers now. It has to go beyond Rama, Vittala and Krishna. It has to seek divinity in the Saptha Swara Devatas. It has to create spiritual upliftment through production of Nada that is de regional and de religious. This does not mean Atheism. Spirituality is BEYOND religion or region. Instrumental music from India is appreciated more than Vocal world over just for this reason. It conveys the Indianism, it conveys the classicism, it conveys the philosophy of what India stands for and what Indian music stands for without resorting to the magic that the words Hari and Rama would create. It does TRUE Nadopasana. Exactly the same thing that Thyagaraja sings about. And Even he says Nada and Bhakthi are the path towards salvation and we all know that both Nada and Bhakthi are profound only when it is beyond words. Where words fail, Instrumental Music speaks…. More melodies in this raga to follow….

1 comment:

Madhura Ankli said...

It is often said that indian classical music(may that be Hindustani or Carnatic) gives us a spiritual experience which normally no one can even think of experiencing. Vivekananda said that nothing can help a person meditate better than music. I found such tranquility, when you played violin in Pune. At the same time there was sudden experience of emotion too. And your article is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces written on music lately. Thank you for being such a beautiful artist and making me fall in love with Carnatic music !