“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it”- Shakespeare-Twelfth Night
Music in life
Music is one of the oldest arts and is part of many cultural and social activities.
Music is a performing Art just like dance and drama.
Opera combines singing and orchestral music with drama.
Ballet and dance need music to help the performers with their steps and also to evoke an atmosphere.
Music is used in Film and TV dramas to help set the mood and also to emphasize action.
Musical composers need musicians to interpret and perform their works.
Musical performances are partnerships between composers and performers.
People use music to express feelings and ideas. It helps to entertain, relax, motivate, heal and lift the soul to sublime levels.
Uses of music
Music is an important part of all cultures. People use music:
1. In ceremonies, especially religious, music helps to create a sense of mystery and awe.
- In fact some musical instruments are played in some cultures only by priests on important occasions like harvest ceremonies etc.
- Western church music tries to create a feeling of distance from the daily world. Choral music is a manifestation of participation.
- In the East music is part of the liturgy, the ceremony and is considered a manifestation of the devotees feelings and involvement in the deity.
- Bhakthi Yoga has been the motivating factor for the best compositions in Indian music.
- The Psalms of David are also poems written in devotion to the Almighty.
2. In work it has been found that productivity is enhanced.
In routine jobs in factories and manufacturing, soft music relieves the tedium of the job.
3. In personal life:
- music is a hobby
- a profession
- a tremendous stress relieving factor.
4. Social activities are enhanced and enriched by music.
Music is an integral part of Balls, parties, festivals, fetes, carnivals and national celebrations.
Having said all that, Music has always been an integral part of my family. We used to hear my parents singing old romantic songs in the many long car journeys that we took between Bombay and Madras and Madras and deep South. It was another matter that that was the only time they did not argue or exchanged insults!! My mother expressed her moods through songs and she had a grand and extensive repertoire. If she was upset it was a dirge and when she was happy, it was a sunshine song!
We used to have a radio where we would listen to music—classic and pop and the government radio station All India Radio (AIR) was the only one. We could also tune into Radio Ceylon and on Wednesday nights Binaca Geet Mala (toothpaste sponsored Top of the Charts program) used to broadcast Hindi film music. Then a channel dedicated to film music was launched by the AIR called Vividbharathi where regional music was also played.
The first spool tape recorder in our house was Grundig and my brother Arvind was the only one who could handle its idiosyncrasies. It was also dedicated to Carnatic classical music only. At that stage in our life, our ambition was to have a music system of our own.
Today I listen to music on my laptop with additional speakers that my daughter got for me. Even there I had a few problems…I did not know how to play MP3’s until my son, the techie, came in and solved that one too. He is the one who believes in having surround systems with thunder, musical flourishes, eerie noises and gunfire and battle sounds coming from all over the room when we watch movies.
My nephew Ranjan first initiated me into the concept of Heavy Metal music and sadly, he seems to have washed his hands off any more music initiations as his Aunt with his Dad and two uncles are stuck in a time warp…we listen to the music of 50’s to 80’s. All that has come in after that is remembered and enjoyed piecemeal only. Any song of that period and we can dish out facts, notations, lyrics, singers, actors, composers and every other detail at the snap of a finger. I was amused that my brother who plays the guitar and used to earn extra money in the UK singing in clubs says that even he is stuck in the times of Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel with no familiarity with present music churners. I did get some exposure to U2 and Pet Shop Boys thanks to my son who played that music in those music systems when he was growing up.
There is a game called Antakshari where two teams combat each other with their knowledge of music. The challenge is to sing a song starting from the last syllable with which the opponent stops the song. We play this game at weddings and family gatherings. The teams are made up of older and now-gen members so that there is a healthy mix of yesterday and today from the world of music.
Classical Music is an integral part of a Tam Bram’s (Tamil Brahmin) upbringing especially if you are a girl. Singing is part of a girl’s talent pool when she is being considered for a marriage alliance.
Today, Reality shows screen, train and polish up a singer’s talent. In India, pop music means film music and everyday a new singer is sprouting up, but disappears after singing for a film or two. They make money, however, singing at functions where they perform with live orchestras singing popular numbers of other famous musicians.
Music is such an important part of our culture and despite my asthma, I can say that I can sing! I also have been gifted with a sharp ear to catch the off-tune singer, even if it is myself!
Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get different flavours of the same topic.