Dr. Shruti Jauhari

A rare blend of Performing Artist, Teacher, Historian, Author & Guru on Hindustani Classical Music. Highly Creative and Melodious due to which the Khayaal Gayaki & Thumri comes to her naturally.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Is the audience aware?

Publication: The Times Of India Chennai; Date: Oct 10, 2013; Section: Editorial; Page: 14;

Below is the full text of the article:

Changes in Musical Traditions are fine provided they can enrich you

During the period between 10th Century and 15th Century AD the civilization of the subcontinent underwent a substantive metamorphosis. Almost all aspects of the social fabric were influenced by the emerging Islamic rule, be it the architecture, food habits, clothing or the spoken language /dialects.

Musical traditions, especially the Hindustani Sangeet paddhati, also underwent massive transformation during this period. Over the next 300-400 years, a slow and gradual fusion took place between the Persian music and the Ancient Music traditions. Much of the Adhyatma (Divinity) of Music transitioned to the “aesthetics” and “beauty” of sound. The magnificent Gamaks of the Dhrupad were replaced by the fine and swift taans of the Khayaal Gayki, just as the grandeur of the sculpture on stones of the Somnath temples gave way to the fine and attractive bel-boota carvings on the soft white marbles of the Taj Mahal.

A very interesting point here is the fact that the transformation and emerging styles were accepted by the masses at large. This also begs the question - Why?

Many a time when an audience is exposed to a new concept or a product, it is accepted chiefly due to the fact that it is introduced in such a subtle way that one barely realizes the shift. This happened with Khayaal Gayaki which spread its roots over a span of about 200 years such that it eventually almost replaced the Dhrupad style. This is the natural course of evolution. 

Change is inevitable and ‘The Only Constant’. Everything that is must change. The point is whether the change is always for the better. This depends on the level of awareness, taste and the insight that exists into an art-form in any society. 

But what if change is literally dumped on us and we still get used to living with it. The aggressive "in-your-face" marketing and "smart" & "visual" packaging of music these days through electronic media is a case in point. Every such product has a short shelf life, but it does leave an impact and it manages to hook listeners easily, and worse, it lends a particular direction and trend to forthcoming work. The best example being the so-called 'item songs' in films. It is time that society understands that the transitions in music we are making today are neither soul-enriching nor providing quality & content. It is time to ask serious questions of artists and institutions involved in the creative production of music, be it film-based or non-film. It is vital that they demand refinement and reject the "noise" that is being generated in the name of "creativity" and "experiments". Here it is important to understand that all that is new and "different" may not necessarily meet even basic minimum standards.

We are now living in times when the packaging of a product has become more important than the product itself. It is therefore vital to be aware while making choices and learn to shut out whatever does not please one.

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