Music, Mind and Rhythm – Some Musings on Bollywood Songs

Sudhirendar Sharma

Music is nourishing, and words (which are often inert) come alive when music delivers them as sound. No wonder, we know more when someone speaks – words delivered as sound. With music, sound gets further enhanced. Such is the impact that even sadness (in a song) becomes soothing. Not without reason, sad songs are often most liked, and we all have our personal list of favourites.

Our minds are cluttered with noise, and nothing less than a musical signal can help get rid of it. Music, it is said, helps discipline the ear and make it less likely to wander to collect negativities. Schopenhauer would say that music doesn’t convey emotion, it conveys the essence. That is why it helps us appreciate the beauty in sadness. One can taste sadness without being swallowed in it. Music helps us savour sadness and bitterness as much as pleasure.

While retro music continues to get phenomenal hits on video and audio channels, I don’t count it as an indicator of longevity and popularity. For me and many like me, that music is everlasting which generates sensations, evokes emotions, and conveys feelings. More than all that, it lets you feel a moment of irreplaceable fulfilment that is soulful.

How a composition eventually comes into ‘being’ is a mystery? I have yet to figure out what triggers in the mind of a composer to arrange few words into soulful music? And, how the music gets arranged to bring out the depth and dimensions of the words? There is an element of divinity that makes a large number of compositions inimitable, and consequently irresistible. Or, is it how it gets perceived, received and retained by us?

All said, it may be too early to draw a conclusion on this matter of comparison, which may remain a matter of subjective assessment. However, the reason for the present music to have a short expiry date may have to do with the times in which we live. In a consumptive culture, music too has become a throwaway product  with limited shelf life.

Let me bring a new reasoning to this ongoing debate. When retro music was composed, the ‘bazaar’ was but a part of our society. Today, society is part of the ‘bazaar’. This innocuous looking change has impacted our thinking and our ways of life a great deal. Feelings and emotions are packaged as replaceable products, to be showcased on occasions. This may have a bearing on our taste for music, and the reason for it to be composed this way, much like the way ‘India Shining’ was thrust upon us. It was but a whimper!

I will leave you with a song that carries multifaceted expressions which are insightful and reflective. It a Salil Choudhary’s composition on Majrooh’s verses from film Maya (1961).

Sudhirendar Sharma is a environmental journalist and a development professional. His interest in music is related to his childhood that lay immersed in musical memories. His blogs can be read here

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay


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