How Can One Learn To Appreciate Hindustani Classical Music?
When it comes to classical music, be it western or Indian, many people are apprehensive. Yes, it is difficult to understand, but you can definitely appreciate it. First step is acceptance. Accept t...
When it comes to classical music, be it western or Indian, many people are apprehensive. Yes, it is difficult to understand, but you can definitely appreciate it.
First step is acceptance. Accept that currently, you are unable to appreciate something good, for whatever reason, be it hesitance, perception; still you want to appreciate Indian classical music. You are at a concert, person sitting next to you seems to have good knowledge and is regularly bombarding you with the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ about the performance going on, and you feel awkward. Don’t worry. Give a polite smile and try to enjoy the performance.
People say they cant connect with Indian classical music. Your journey starts from there. Listen to film songs which are not remixes and raps. Listen to Hindi or regional language songs or songs in your mother tongue. The classics are often based on classical music. Listen to songs by composers like Naushad, Laxmikant-Pyarelaal, Jagjit Singh, O.P. Nayyar, Kalyanji-Anandji, or if you don’t like old songs try comparitively new songs by composers, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, A R. Rahman, Uttam Singh, Aadesh Shrivastava etc.
Simultaneously, start listening to small classical instrumental pieces. Say, today you listened to a song, and in that song, flute was used. So you listen to a classical piece of flute for 5–10 mins. You can watch it on YouTube, if you want. Try to find similarities. Whatever you are hearing now, does it sound familiar to the tune in song? No? Ok, you heard something new. One day, you find that similar tune. You found a connection! You were able to find that a song you are carelessly humming around has its roots in Indian classical music. There you go….
Now that you are connected, and excited, explore. Along with instrumental pieces, start listening to Ghazal, thumari, etc. Start listening to instrumental pieces for longer. You will now be in a stage of comparison, hoping to find a similarity, a connection. Keep it up.
When you feel like you are getting repetitions in your exploration, Go to a concert. Yes, a classical music concert, the same place where you felt out of place. There also, you will be playing your little exploration game, while listening to the live performance. But, there will come a moment. There will be a point, where you will here something, a tune or phrase, which will force you to stop your exploration game and just… listen. Listen to the melody, listen to the progression, tracing the pattern. And believe me, you will enjoy it. You may not know what raga is being performed, what discipline, notation etc, but you will enjoy it. Now you will also be doing the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ because you discovered something which is new for you. Now, you are appreciating it.
Live performances matter a lot when it comes to appreciating Indian classical music. Yes, we do have many platforms digitally, but listening to a live performance gives you the best results. So go for them. Attend as many as you can.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Blogger. Musician. Like to listen Classical and Folk music.
Interested in regional music