Let your heart guide you......It whispers so listen closely

Friday, June 21, 2013

I've got a thing for music

The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind... in the air... in the light. It's all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do... is listen.                                       
     -August Rush
Happy World Music Day!!!

I had been planning to write about my adventures with music since, like, ever. I remember that I had even thought of a very fancy title as well, which I can no more recall :'( and that is the loss of publishing posts in mind, they could get deleted without warning. So better late than never.. And anyways there was one benefit of the delay.. I am more and more into it, the thoughts, likings, inclinations have become more concrete. Just came to know that today is special, so there could not have been a better moment to share my quest into the world of music.

Since my childhood I was quite keen on listening to music. It was never very specific type or genre, but while studying, specially Maths, I always preferred having something in my ears. Ones I remember from school time are Bhai Surinder Singh Jodhpuri's kirtan tracks (used to be my favorite), Bally Sagoo's cassette (don't remember its name) which had that celebrated (atleast for me) Ragamuffin mix (mind you I ain't saying the famous Gur naalo ishq mitha). Anyways as I moved on to Banasthali, I used to get cassettes recorded with favorite tracks. My choice used to vary like anything. Sometimes I wanted soft romantics, sometimes kirtans, sometimes dhol dhamaka bhangra kind, sometimes some BSB or Enrique, or may be Saturday night and Brazil too. With time, things became more and more convenient.. in 3rd year we had PC in hostel room ..in M.Sc. Papa gifted me a MP3 player. But the choice was always a mix of the above list. 

Somewhere around last year (unable to recall the exact time of transition) I got some inclination towards classical musical. Not that exactly the Classical Music. But I started enjoying the classical beats (i don't know what one calls them) which appear in songs once in a while, like dha dhin dha, actually its hard to enlist like this. But off course I can give some examples. Like first 2:30 mins of Jab pyar kiya to darna kya (Mughal-e-azam), Thumak-thumak pad (Ankahee), Kali ghodi dwar khadi (Chashme baduur). There were (are) many such songs for which I developed eventual appreciation. Like the starting part of Piya Bawri (Khoobsurat). I think I had mentioned earlier as well, about the pleasure I am getting in listening to these songs..

Then one fine day at sikhnet.com I stumbled across Bhai Inderjeet Singh's collection which had lot classical kirtan (in gurbani kirtan we call pakke raag). And to add to it, he has also mentioned the raag in which the shabad is sung.The complete Guru Granth Saheb is in Raags, that was my only awareness about raags. I had never before known the musical end of raags (might sound funny). So that was the first time when I felt the music of raags.. things became more technical and at the same time more enjoyable. I started listening more and more to those shabads. Then I started eating AK's head, that whether there is a way to identify underlying raag of the song.. or can she identify the raag from that dha dhin dhin beats.. I was (and I am still) totally unaware of the technicalities playing around. But one thing was sure, they were quite intriguing. I started searching on internet. I stumbled across an interesting research article, on use of Hidden Markov Model to identify Raags. But somehow (unfortunately), that was not something I was looking for. I wanted to feel those small differences in rhythm. I wanted to see how things work. I was happy to see that there were others who shared a common anxiety. But everyone suggested that one should listen more and more and enjoy.. technicalities follow.

Then in the month of February, we heard that Prof.K.B.Athreya (Godfather for Statistical theory of Branching processes) is visiting IISER Pune for a week, will be giving a series of talks on not so technical topics of Mathematics and one talk in our Dept. And we also got the news that one evening he will also talk about music. We decided attended his talks, and as expected he was amazing. As AK is already in to music and I was falling in so we decided to attend the lecture on music as well. Then we came to know that actually SPIMACAY has organised the lecture. That was the first time that I came to know that such a society exists. Not just that, there were many terms that I heard for the first time. Taanpura, the names of raags in Carnatic and Hindustani music, Shrutis, notes, relation to Mathematics, Melakartas, and lot more. What resulted was less of information storage but more of curiosity. Because an hour's time was too less to understand so much. It was like throwing words of the tone verb, adjectives, prepositions to a kid in Kindergarten.

I started googling more and more. One raag which clicked me most (for reasons unknown to me) was Raag Malkauns. Search led me to many videos/tracks on internet. And then eventually I realised that the kind of music I enjoy the most in classical base is Gurbani kirtan. And then Google is always a saviour. I got lots of resources, which gave the shabad tracks along with raag details, like Gurmat Sangeet Project and Gurmat Sangeet Darbar. I think we are really lucky to get access to infinite amount of resources on one flat looking box. So nowadays I am listening to Bhai Avtar Singh, Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shant and so on.. Though the inclinations have made a substantial shift, the tendency of getting addicted to a music piece still remains same. I have found some of the kirtan tracks quite addictive. Back in school days when papa used to play these guys then I used to get uncomfortable.. like frankly speaking irritated. I think I have evolved over time :P

Last month I visited Manali for 4 days. We (me & my better half) stayed in a hotel which was a little inside a lane. We used to walk down that lane everyday in the morning. On the way there was a Music Learning Centre. Everyday morning I used to hear same tune (probably students must be practising) which I was almost certain that it has to be Malkauns. I enjoyed listening to it. There used to be strong desire to stand there for a while and enjoy. At times I felt an urge for entering the building and discussing with the teacher (whosoever he/she is) more about the music being played. That music brought me nostalgia.

After coming back to Pune, we (me & AK) came to know that there is a possibility that an online course could be conducted to teach the Magic and Logic of Music for people like me. The syllabus also redirected me towards TaalPulse, a software which serves as Lehra, Theka and Tanpura machine. In the meanwhile AK always tried her best to answer my questions, which at times used to be little dumb.. She explained me the working of Tanpura and Theka, how the taals works, how the tanpura is simplest and most basic (and still pleasant to listen), and why harmonium isn't considered to be perfect.

We together prayed for the course, but it didn't work out. The day I got to know that it hasn't I was very disappointed.. frustated actually. I was actually looking forward to it. What next.. Google!!! And now I got hold of the following two books: Nad: Understanding Raga Music and Nuances Of Hindustani Classical Music. Both the books are intended for people who like music but are not exposed to the science behind, who will be happy to know more, who think that some basic knowledge will allow them to enjoy more.. I was happy again, excited!! I am really looking forward to read them and dive into this beautiful world of rhythms.

I really think that I have got a thing for Music :)

PS: 0. As always the post has turned up as SUPER long.. Really should look into the ways for summarizing my feelings :-|

PS: 1. Amidst of planning an article with AK, MBR expecting some research article, I am writing this. I wish technical writings were as easy and free flowing as blog posts..

PS: 2. Why is that I always need some special occasion or Muhrat to express my feelings.. be that sparrows or music .


Akanksha said...

Superlong, but at the same time superinteresting post.
Though I'm into music, I didn't know of "World Music Day"..
It's really interesting to read about your curious journey into music.
As always, your infectious energy is going to make me get back to music, though I had just started drifting a bit.:) Equally eager to read Nad and Naunces..
Agree with you on PS 1 and 2.

PS: Your superlong posts encourage me to write superlong comments, probably because the thing you mentioned in PS0. :p

CYNOSURE said...

Well I didn't knew about "World Music Day"...anyways I listening to music and it is always a bliss...especially at the time of stress...

PS: I listen to Jodhpuri Ji's kirtan when I want to sleep :P
PS: I thought AK was ur mother in law, till the time I came across the link in ur PS section ;)

Konika said...

Ah, I finished reading long article.. definitely somewhere I do connect to the Bansathali memories, where you use to sleep plugging ear phones.. leaving me wondering.. how didn't it unplugged in 2-3 hours of afternoon nap. The beauty of the post is.. the feeling of knowing and loving music is like an innocent child, very honest, very curious and positive.

Richa said...

Can relate to your post in every way... from cassettes to mp3 to kirtans..i too have similar choices.. a mix of all... and still have..

Nw days to I m so obsessed with music that I cant get away with it.. even rt nw i m plugged to 'thoda2 pyar' from love aaj kal..

Adding to your 'classical' examples I love starting music of 'goonji si hain', ak sings that very well...

"Then I started eating AK's head" ROFL
'kid in Kindergarten" analogy is very cute ..

As always .. you took along others in your exciting journey of exploring music :)

Keep wandering!! ..
1. Next time step by step ;)!!
2. Definitely, You have got a thing for Music :D!!

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