Art and Music have always fascinated me. Kandinsky is someone whose ideas on art and music resonate with me so well. He says Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or the other, to cause vibrations in the soul. He is someone who sought to evoke sound through vision and pitch through colour. My love for art and music intensified as I kept exploring his abstract paintings and his theories on Suprematism and Synesthesia in art. I listen to songs almost every day during my 45 minutes travel to the university. Being an ardent music lover I want to share my thoughts on music to readers through this post.
Before we talk about music, it is important to understand the definition of it. According to me, music was not made to entertain the audience. It was developed as an art that helps one convey their state of mind to the listener with lyrical devices by organising pitch, rhythm, and sounds. Music need not be eargasmic, It’s about bringing their listeners to the state of mind to which the musician intended to put them in. Music is a most languid way of influencing one’s thoughts and musician is successful in his mission only if he claims control of listener’s mind.
Indian classical music has always mesmerized me. It makes use of abstract words to reflect deeply penetrating emotions of love and sadness. When I was growing up, I thought the best musicians in the world were Linkin Park and I later discovered and enjoyed the works of Nirvana, Metallica and Guns n Roses. Now that I am all grown up, my love for rock music has finally led to what I call spiritual ecstasy which is Sufi Music. I think every rock music lover who listens to Sufi music will end up liking it. I think there’s a strong connection between the two. I love classical music and according to me, it has a philosophical dimension which is lacking in other musical genres.
Experimentation is something we cannot be related to musicians of today. Beatles always hit my mind when I think about experimental pieces of music. People like John Lennon and George Harrison recognised the beauty in Indian classical music and they approached Ravishankar to learn Sitar (Indian Musical instrument) with the idea to blend Indian classical music with Pop Music. Their song “Tomorrow never knows” was the first pop song that attempted to dispense with chord changes altogether and developed an alternative form of double-tracking called Artificial Double Tracking (ADT) system. Their contribution to the music industry with attempts to fuse classical Indian music with western music cannot be described in words, such is their work.
According to me, a song is a series of evocative statements that create a mood or a feeling – nothing definitive, nothing exact. The tune makes it pleasing for ears but it is the lyrics that makes us feel connected and usage of right words at right places plays an important role. It’s hard to digest the fact that musicians like Lana Del Rey and Patti Smith are not even recognised as top stars and their efforts often go unnoticed. Their songs are good at evoking deep emotions in the listener. The way Lana Del Rey portrays lives of Jim Morisson, Charles Manson and Jim Jones in her music is simply amazing and is a musical education for young aspirants. Her low mellifluous voice takes me to a different world and makes be go back in time. Her albums Born to die and Ultraviolence ( a term derived from the book Clockwork orange) are dark and sometimes puts one into a state of depression.
A good song need not have a good overall meaning, sometimes things are just a bunch of thoughts more or less strung together. Like most good poetry, sometimes a line is meant to be evocative and create an image rather than be descriptive and have a literal meaning. According to me, entertainment is about making one feel an integral part of what is being projected to them by creating a sense of belonging and this can be done by evoking deep emotions in the listener. Today, many singers who acclaim themselves to be musicians are not even good entertainers. Most of the modern day musicians have a great voice, but it’s sad to know that their potential is being utilised in an unproductive manner. It is not these commercially driven musicians who are to be blamed, it is we who keep listening to them.
I appreciate skill, accomplishment and mastery of the technique and I object to the modern day dismissal of such considerations in the making of art. There is still some excellent classical music being written and the most exciting thing about exploring them is that there is so much of it – four hundred years to explore. I can’t expect these commercially driven artists to change but I want my readers to find and appreciate the works of good artists and that’s the purpose of this article.
Songs of today can be heard but not felt. Keep thinking.
Thanks for reading.