Sa Re Ga Ma Pa… 2018, Some Tips For Understanding Music

The present Sa Re Ga Ma of 2018 is indeed a delight and one of the very few television programme that Madhusree and I really look forward to. Santanu Moitra and Srikanta Acharya along with Monali Thakur are judges of this show. These are the things that I have learnt about music by listening to the comments by the judges.

  1. The difference between high brow classical music and pop music is that the former is sung by the singer to herself and pop music is “told” to an audience. Interesting because the domestic help in our homes, our only interaction with the non-elite segments of our society would always say “please tell a song” as if the song is a conversation or a story to be narrated. This is a part of that discourse which also refers to the cinema as a “book”, meaning the text.
  2. I also learnt that a song is sung using its lyrics; if a singer does not understand the song as poetry first, s/he is likely to fail in the music.
  3. The third thing is that the song is more important than the singer; it is the song which must be presented and not the singer.
  4. If lyrics contain the Indian alphabet, aa, the tune must be extended and rolled out and not reigned in.
  5. The relationship of the singer to the song is very important in the accurate rendition of the song. Sometimes, the singer scans the song in his/her head. This is not such a good idea; both the singer and the song should unfold together.
  6. Snigdhajit sang Ladki hai jaadu from DDLJ ad he got a Golden Guitar. But I was not happy with the song. He does not have to sing it like Udit Narayan I know, and no one expects him to do so either but there was something that Snigdhajit could not achieve and which is that the song is essentially sung at a woman, it was a catcall to a woman, devised to attract her attention. Snigdhajit sang it within himself, in admiration for the woman, and it was not important for her to know of it. In short, the song was for himself and not for her; there was self-absorption this time and no wonder that he stunned both the original singer of the song as well as its composer. I realized that there was no song around eve teasing in Bengali. No wonder then that Jatin found the atmosphere of the Bengali Sa Re Ga Ma to resemble a temple. There is worship and it is because of the self absorption rather than conversation that flavours Bengali singing both with a classical flavour as well as a kind of a sacred sublimity.
  7. As I listen to Mainul Nobel sing Pathe Ebar Namo Saathi I realize that no one can sing like him. The IPTA sang it like an assertion, in Independent India, social movements had become sectarian. Hemanta sang it like a song, the Bengali flavour of self-absorption. But Nobel sang it like as if he was immersing himself in his nation; songs of movement become the national movement in Bangladesh and since there is no category higher than that of the nation in secularism, he raised the bar of the song to its limits.
  8. No one could sing Amaro Parano Jaha Chay like Nobel. He moves towards martyrdom in dissolving himself in the great sublime of the nation. He dissolved himself in the sublimity of the song into that zone where nothing mattered except the song, the song itself having dissolved into the absolute boundaries of human cognition into that which we call the Divine.
  9. No one can sing like Suman. I have never heard the song Aage Ki Sundor Din Kataitam the way he sang it. This is because he sings without the inhibition of the song. He has so much command over his voice that he can easily overcome the pressures of having to excel in putting his voice into the notes of the music. His command over the song makes him free, he sings with this freedom.
  10. Sampa Biswas’s songs are sung with gusto, as catharsis of the pains she undergoes each day in the form of bad memories of her past. No one can sing Indubala the way she did. She has a way with notes; she sings each note of a song diligently, takes every breath, uses every pause with elegance, negotiates strongly each trough and peak and drives through the song with absolute control over the metre.

About secondsaturn

Independent Scholar. Polymath.
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