‘Music is different from musicality’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Music is different from musicality’

The weekend lived up to its promise of drawing a larger crowd on day two of Baajaa Gaajaa, a three-day music convention in Pune celebrating the diversity of India’s musical traditions.

mumbai Updated: Feb 07, 2010 01:04 IST
Purva Mehra

The weekend lived up to its promise of drawing a larger crowd on day two of Baajaa Gaajaa, a three-day music convention in Pune celebrating the diversity of India’s musical traditions.

The day began with a seminar on the tradition of music in Indian theatre moderated by noted tabla player and Baajaa Gaajaa founder, Aneesh Pradhan.

Musicologist Ashok Ranade began the discussion by differentiating between music and musicality. “Opting for a proverb over a straight statement is musicality. When people refer to music they get preoccupied with tone, voice, ability to hold a note and song, but theatre artistes should concern themselves with musicality instead,” Ranade said.

The composer said the current generation of cultural exponents were obsessed with visual communication and stressed on the need for a dialogue on auditory communication.

Theatre veteran Sunil Shanbag concurred, adding that theatre persons had yet to figure out the fundamentals of music in theatre. “I came into theatre in the urban context. Musical theatre was considered as the other or separate from the work we were doing. However, musicality does add a layer of experience to the play. It’s a shame, we live in times of the theatre of poverty,” said Shanbag, also a panelist.

Prasad Vanarase, dean of the Flame School of Performing Arts in Pune, attributed this to a possible transition in theatre’s focus post ’40s and ’50s.

“With Vijay Tendulkar, the middle class had become the hero of the play. Theatre started reflecting the realities and complete chaos of life, in a way there was no place for music,” said Vanarase.

The discussion then veered towards the impact, if any, of Indian film music on theatre. Shanbag said Hindi film music resulted from the musical traditions of old theatre in the country, but Vanarase pointed out that once film music grew popular and was made available for free on the radio, people no longer wanted to pay for music in theatre.

By way of a solution to assimilate music and theatre, Vanarase suggested that theatre persons needed to integrate musicality with the idea of speech training.