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How can interest in classical music be revived?

Wednesday - January 16, 2019 6:37 pm , Category : WTN SPECIAL

While film music always sells, classical music is always like a second-cousin-twice-removed. Film music is basically hummable, as its music is simple and composed with people’s acceptability in view. On the other hand, no matter how mellifluous, classical music is mostly abstruse that is not enjoyed unless understood.

Classical music needs some inuring of the ear to appreciate the subtle nuances of this ‘high’ form of ‘pure’ music. Without some knowledge and practice of classical music, it can sound inert and a bore. It is not peculiar of India as even western classical music is a secondary form of entertainment as compared to popular rock and jazz and pop music that is international craze. With the market economy being the guiding principle these days, music, like other forms of art, now is naturally a commodity on sale and whatever is glitzy, sells. Classical music can never be popular culture just as pulp fiction cannot be great literature, even as the latter might notch higher sales figures.

Classical music is sombre, it is of a lofty parlance and uninteresting to a layman, more so because the lyrics is not important here, it is hardly understood even if there is one, and it is meandering and repetitive, because stress is laid on the performance of the music. So what is left is only pure raw music, and thus it is robbed of the advantage of being outright understood and enjoyed. It is the word, the lyric, that evokes emotions and helps the listener connect to his experiences. Just the exposition of sa, re, ga, ma… cannot do the same. Classical music is the foundation of all music, as the ragas in the Indian context are the cornerstones of music composition. When this classical music is preened, simplified, unburdened and packaged and sold as foot-tapping film music or album, people no wonder get hooked to it. Why would any one spend his patience, time and energy in trying to breakdown the classical scholarship and make meaning out of it? But luckily, despite all the fanfare around popular film and folk music, classical music has its own market. There are connoisseurs of music who do understand and appreciate this form.

Listening to and understanding classical music is no less than a sadhana of the artiste, because it is a sacrifice, a surrender to get entry into the world of high music. Therefore it can never be everyone’s cup of tea. It will always be a coterie asset and must remain sanctified that way. Children should be exposed early to classical music to develop their taste. If they like it, a formal training can be initiated. But the right amount of exposure is essential. Only then early understanding and appreciation can grow.

Only when we prepare the right ecosystem the love for classical music will grow in the new generation. More shows, concerts and festivals must be organised across cities and towns to create that atmosphere. Schools too must be equipped to teach classical music to kids. This is a neglected part in our education system. Anyone who loves music must have some idea of classical music because no music form can ever become great without the classical ingredients in them. When children understand this, they will more easily take to it.-Window To News

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