Music that stays

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” –Albert Einstein

Music is magic. Music can do wonders- from lifting up your spirit to regulating your heart or boosting your hormones. It defies description, it can just be felt. And when felt from the heart, it is a wonderful feeling. Imagine a life without music, and you will be left groping in the dark!

India has been a land of melodious music. Indian classical music has earned immense praise worldwide. Apart from classical music, many Indian singers like Md. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Bhupen Hazarika etc have left their indelible mark on the music scene. For them, their music was everything. They considered music as a passionate hobby which is reflected in their works. The music they composed, the songs they sang were food for our souls. Even today, listening to their songs gives immense satisfaction and contentment. Their music is ever-green.

What about today’s music? Except for a few singers, most of the singers have taken music as a profession, rather than an art. Music has been commercialized. It is no longer a passionate hobby, just a money-making business. It has become more of noise than melody.

Today, many songs are composed just for the sake of composing a song. Lyrics, rhythm and music have lost their meaning. Anything that can be spoken out can be the lyrics of a song today, no matter what it means. The melodious rhythms are on their way to extinction. Music has become artificial. Advanced technology which can be used to compose melodious music is being used to create artificial sounds and tunes. These songs may gain popularity at a very fast and alarming rate, but most of them do not have an adequate longevity. They seem pleasant for the ears only for a short while; perhaps only during the period in which they gain popularity and limelight. After a few months or a year, they become ‘old and unpleasant’. Either the movie in which that song was featured has become ‘outdated’ or the listeners have just got bored of listening to those songs. This is not seen in the case of evergreen songs. Even now, people love listening and humming to a Md. Rafi or Kishore Kumar song or listening to the songs of movies like Silsila and Sholay.

Agreed, new music has also got its own listeners who love it with passion. A large proportion of  these listeners comprises teenagers. Teenagers are often dominated by the need to establish their identity among their friends and they find music to be a cheap and effective way to do this. They feel that listening to intense music enhances their ‘cool’ personality.

People from the earlier generations may not like this kind of music produced today as they have a different take on what constitutes evergreen music and have a completely different outlook on music. A study by researchers at the University Of Cambridge said that teenagers like ‘intense’ music, while those in early adulthood opt for ‘contemporary’ and ‘mellow’ choices as they search for close relationships.

In spite of the changing trends, even now, some music albums and movies do have some very good numbers. New songs with a classical base and a pleasant appeal have also gained ground, but their number is still very few. The music industry needs to encourage meaningful music and deliver it in a cornucopia.

Music with meaning has not become completely extinct and it is our utmost responsibility to preserve meaningful and true music for our future generations.

(Published in Horizon, The Assam Tribune, a reputed English daily on 31st January, 2014)

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