Orchestration in Indian Music
So, from Baroque came the “Classical” music. Classical music in those days had some constraints by using only fixed scales like the major and the minor scale. This is the time when the Romantic age came when movements started to remove these constraints. This was the twentieth century and the famous names during the Romantic period were Mendelssohn, Brahms, Franz Liszt etc. They tried to get out of those constraints and opened up the music or gave it more freedom. This has happened in India also when Rabindranath Tagore experimented with melodies which were based on our traditional raags but not strictly following the rigorous raag structure. This was done to create the melody which would be compatible with the lyrics and this gave rise to our “Adhunik” or modern songs. Some were successful and some not but this was the beginning of our romantic age. In the west classical music in this romantic age reached new heights. Following this, in the beginning of twentieth century we saw the beginning of “Impressionistic music”. It is not easy to describe or explain this impressionistic music in few words. In the west the painters usually use the expression ïmpressionistic”. In France we had painters like Monet, Cezanne etc. They said that they do not want to paint something as it stands but rather as they perceive it or their “impression” of it. This may not look like the object or the person they are painting at all. By this time, the musical vocabulary had expanded and enriched considerably. So, impressionistic music would be very similar. It would create music which would be an “impression” the composer creates from the musical and lyrical vocabulary of his composition and liberate it from any constraints.. Based on this a movement started and right now the greatest composer in the impressionistic school is the French composer Debussy. Another famous name is Stavinsky. After this another movement started which was led by Schoenberg. This has some similarity with us but not completely. Schoenberg talked about “Atonal” scale. The notes “Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni Sa” is named a “Diatonic” scale. The four notes “Sa, Re, Ga, Ma” is one “tone” and the notes “Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa” is another “tone”. Sa to Re is one full tone, Re to Ga is one full tone and Ga to Ma is one halftone. Similarly, Pa to Dha is a full tone, Dha to Ni is one full tone and Ni to Sa is a halftone. This is why it is called a “Diatonic” scale. Schoenberg said that there is no such thing as a diatonic scale. It is all a Chromatic scale. Since there are 12 notes in total between Sa and Ni, Schoenberg said that he would use all these 12 notes. He also said that there would be no “key signatures”. As we know that we identify symphonies by their key signatures like G Minor (Gm) or C major(C) or F major(F) etc. Schoenberg said that there is no such thing as “key signatures”. Music should be “Atonal” and we will use all the 12 notes in a scale and there will be no concept of a “Sa”. The “Sa” can change all the time.This movement was started by Schoenberg and also helped by Stravinsky and it lasted a long time. Currently there seems to be a movement to go back to the melody based composition.When Stravinsky first performed his “Four Seasons” in Paris, the audience started a riot and broke down the chairs and tables as soon as they heard the atonal composition with dischords.However, that was right in the beginning. Right now, “Four Seasons” is one of the most famous compositions in the world. What I was trying to explain earlier is that the main reason for this in the west was that the industrial revolution happened there long time ago followed by dramatic advancement of science and technology. The word “physics” had found new meaning and the application of science and technology in music progressed rapidly. Just consider the revolution in electronic music and the Synthesizer. In one instrument we can produce at least 500 different sounds !
By measuring and analysing the sound frequency of one musical instrument they have created the sound of that instrument in this synthesizer. In fact we have brought one with us today for demonstration. In this Synthesizer we can do many things. We can play the flute, the trumpet, the violin, the cello, the piano and many other instruments. We can also do some other wonderful things. For example: if you record just the note “Sa” in your voice on a cassette and load it in this Synthesizer then it will be able to create all the other notes in that scale in your voice. Now they have also created the sound of Sitar, even the legato (meenD) effect in Sitar and also Tabla. They have recorded the “Bayan” (left hand drum) and the Tabla for the right hand. Actually they have recorded the real Tabla and then transferred it to the keyboard. As a result, you will get the original sound. You won’t be able to distinguish between the real Tabla and the Tabla sound played by the keyboard.
Click to Page 3