‘Tradition of a area decides its music’

By Bhagyashree Kashyap
NAGPUR: Music of a region is reflected by its culture and belief of the people. We Indians believe in the cyclical ‘yugas’, maybe that‘s why ‘taal’ in our classical music is also a progression of beats and repeats itself after the last ‘bol’. Whereas, the westerners have a linear concept of time according to their Abrahamian literature which is rightly reflected in their style of writing music notations in a line, said , performing artiste and Internet sensation from Mumbai.

She was in the city to deliver a lecture on ‘Appreciating Indian Classical Music’ and to draw parallel between Indian classical music and western tunes. The programme was organized by Chitnavis Centre at its in on Sunday evening.

The artiste engaged the audience with an audio-visual presentation, occasionally humming tunes herself and made the session interactive.

She started off by establishing key differences between the two styles of music and how, with time, western instruments like violin and piano have found eminent place in Bollywood music industry.

“Westerners use notations or sheet system to read music while playing in a choir, whereas we are completely oblivious to it because in Indian classical music each artist enjoys liberty of his own forte. Another stark contrast between the two is that we use a lot of ornamentation in our ‘raagas’, whereas they believe in minimalism when it comes to ornaments,” said Kamat, speaking about the peculiarities of each style.

She further elaborated in depth about the vocal quality required to sing western and classical music. “The western music encourages usage of falsettos, which gives the voice an airy and flaky texture. But, while learning ‘raaga’ and ‘taal’ of classical Indian music, we are taught to sing with a heavy bass, from our navel,” said the artiste as she presented live examples to the audience.

She concluded the session by displaying similarities between our ‘raagas’ and westerners’ modes.

Kamat said, “Raag Asavari is known as Ionian mode in western music, the backbone of fantasy theme songs for shows like ‘Game of Thrones’ and movies like ‘Narnia’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. Similarly, the most versatile is popularly known as Phrygian mode. The diction changes, but notes and ‘swaras’ remain the same.”

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