Lifestyle Viral and Trending 10 Mar 2018 Understanding the hi ...

Understanding the history of music

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NARAYANA VISHWANATH
Published Mar 10, 2018, 2:23 am IST
Updated Mar 10, 2018, 2:23 am IST
The study of theory, history and background of music is essential for gaining a practical mastery over it.
I strongly believe that the absence of this vital and essential general culture of music creates a lopsided and distorted position in our music.
 I strongly believe that the absence of this vital and essential general culture of music creates a lopsided and distorted position in our music.

Sometimes I wonder whether any attempt has been made at a scientific study on the history of music. Musicians have remained practitioners, some degenerating into just reproducers. The study of theory, history and background of music is essential for gaining a practical mastery over it. At times, I wonder whether there would be a decline in Indian music due to a decline in the study of theory in music. It is possible that during the 17th and 18th centuries when a large number of eminent Muslim musicians came to the fore, the study of theory practically stopped, as these were in Sanskrit and the musicians did not know that language.  Of course, some of them may have believed that book knowledge is useless.  

I strongly believe that the absence of this vital and essential general culture of music creates a lopsided and distorted position in our music, at times, leading to the gradual changing and distortion of various compositions. 

 

The dichotomy arises now.  No guru can transmit to his disciple exactly what he knows, particularly in these days of Skype transmissions and the limited physical and mental capacity of the disciples to assimilate. What is taught vocally becomes the most important factor in any such transmission.  It is but natural that every disciple drops some of the finer points of the teaching of the guru.

Recently, during my trip to the US, I found that the rendition of the  disciples tutored through Skype, indicated a  change in the original compositions and the way of rendering them. Would this happen if they were  taught to study theory and the outline of music? I firmly believe that the  study of history and theory of music is essential for progress in music. Let us understand that blind copying of particular compositions without any background of the study of theory would bring music to a sorry state. 

 

Music is a dynamic art and if it does not adopt itself on the foundation of the noble sastras and create new forms, it will be difficult to restore the pristine purity of either lyrics or rendition.

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