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Rhythm and Soul of Music: A deconstruction

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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In the sixtieth year of independence where one to surf the channels and assuage the music being played, to commemorate this occasion, one fact that would emerge as a striking motif is that still the songs of the old era dominate the countdown for this occasion. Very few songs from the last ten years or so find a slot for themselves in the count down list.

While technology has made deep inroads into the music the folk has gone out of the genre. It is the element of folk that introduced the soul in the music, the soul has been replaced by the rhythm, and the rhythm is a by-product of technology, which if it cannot break a song into bits and bytes, is not able to reproduce the sound.

Though the Punjab style music dominates the music scene, seldom would have been the case where one would find the traditional folk instruments forming the base around which the technical music evolved. Algoza, or double flute which had become the signature tune of O P Nayyar and which had established the Punjabi music in the Hindi film industry, as the music to dance to is hardly heard at all. There may not be any player as well to play this instrument.

Unconventional which was a norm of distinction be it in the form of interludes by playing on the comb, or by using a broom as was done by R D Burman, or heavy orchestration characterized by pronounced violin play in interludes as had become the trade mark of Laxmikant Pyarelal, or use of accordion or folk boul music of West Bengal, and Tripura as was done by Sachin Dev Burman or improvised version of symphonies of Mozart as was capitalized by C Ramchander are hardly audible these days.

It was also the fact that the quality of lyrics which has traveled from bursting out into an ode by having a fleeting glance of the feet, to being bawdy that has contributed to the decline in the genre of music. If the lyrics do not challenge the composer, then the music cannot reach its crescendo. This is more so evident in the songs that promote national fervor and pride, as the pang of freedom and the torment of war that was experienced by the lyric writers like Neeraj and Pradeep found expression in finest form by the music composers. It is indeed the writer of lyrics, which by introducing novel way to put the things that contributes to the popularity of the songs. Songs of RANG DE BASANTI or LAGAAN are an ample testimony to this fact.

Javed Akhtar had conceded to this fact in a show on KOFFEE WITH KARAN, where he had said that the audience is receptive to good lyrics, but it has to be given to him. He buttressed the point of usage of the word CHAMKEELE in DIL CHAHTA HAI, which even the director of the film Farhan Akhtar could not make a head or tail of. However, it was the emphasis on this word that made the song stand out and same happened with Rubaroo of RANG DE BASANTI where though a slur was used, the way it was woven into the music did not make it appear as if the songs has suddenly made its appearance without its necessity.

When the music director can score music to any form of lyrics, and success of Himesh Reshamiaya is a testimony to this fact, then success is a neighbour who is at a handshake distance. This kind of quality was a specialty of Pancham who could score music even for a dry verse, and the combination that he attained with Gulzar produced one of the best tangos that Indian Hindi film music has ever seen.

The shelf life of music can only increase if a soul is induced into the music and the soul can only come if there is a tweak that is able to differentiate the music and make it stand out in a crowd. When the Platinum Jubilee year of Independence is celebrated, one hopes that by that time, the modern day music have made its presence felt in such a manner that its forefathers may be remembered as a passing reference and not the other way round as it is happening now.

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