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Notes from a summer symphony

delhi Updated: Aug 02, 2011 23:13 IST
Mallica Joshi

Have you secretly wanted to croon like Julie Andrews and Captain von Trapp's seven children a la The Sound of Music? Are you a diehard fan of the Emmy Award-nominated musical Glee? If you said "yes" to either or both of the posers above and are a Delhi University (DU) student, here's your chance to hit the high notes...!

RPQS - Range, Pitch, Quality and Scale. If your voice has these four elements in the requisite doses, you could just be part of DU's fiercely competitive music societies.

The Western Music Societies (WMS) and the Indian Music Societies (IMS) in DU attract around 100 freshers for auditions every year. Since the competition is tough, only the best make it.

For the most part, music societies are managed by students themselves. Though teachers help in logistical areas, the music is something that is up to the students. The auditions are also taken care of by students. The most common form of singing in the WMS is Acapella - solo/group singing without instrumental sound.

"We have two rounds during auditions. In the first, we look for singing abilities, especially the ability to sing Western music. The second round has additional criteria - such as scale, pitch, range and the ability to pick up notes," said Krishna, president, WMS, Sri Venkateswara College, among the best teams in the university.

And while the WMS is slightly more popular than the IMS, students flock to auditions and performances by both. "The college song is its main identity and it is sung, and at times composed, by the IMS," said Dhruv Bedi, vice-president of the IMS at Hindu College.

There is more room for instrumentalists in IMS that there is in WMS. "We get a lot of aspirants who play traditional Indian instruments. If they are talented, we take them in," Bedi added. Though WMS also takes in instrumentalists, they are fewer.

Meanwhile, experimentation is catching up with the music societies. So, while western group music has moved from Gospel music to popular music, there's everything from devotional songs to film music in Indian music.

Music has, in the last decade, also become a career option. The popularity of college bands, fusion music, offers from outside DU and a spike in interest has made it possible for students to turn their passion into a profession.

"Last year, the Sahitya Kala Akademi asked to perform at the Commonwealth Games Youth Festival. Other offers from outside DU are also coming in, slowly, but surely," Krishna said.