Indian classical music influencing western music in 21st century
The concept that Indian classical music has influenced western music has gained so much weight in the recent years. Classical music is the considered to be the music of east. While hip hop, jazz, rock and pop music is associated with western culture.
Introduction: the influence of Indian music is very prominent on western music. There are various evidences that show how western music is inspired from the Indian classical music. When we see at the Jazz music, it’s played in clubs, concerts, and even in balls. In the beginning, it was played in few western countries but now it’s being played worldwide. Similarly, jazz music is the one that has come from the combination of many other notes like gospel, folk, and classical. It means jazz is a mixture and blend of these types of music. Classical music has a deep impact on jazz music. The western music has hip hop music, jazz music, rock n roll etc. The rock n roll was first introduced by Elvis Presley. Presley himself was known as the experimental musician, and he did many experiments on other types of music. But when he introduced the rock n roll, it made him famous, as well his music made western music more adorable. The present day rock n roll is an extension of the music that was in 1950’s called “Rock Around The Clock”. Gospel is considered to be a church music. However in recent times an association was formed to save the heritage of gospel music. These all forms of music in a west have a little inspiration from the Indian classical music.
Let’s now see the history of an Indian classical music. When did it originate first? Then we will see that how it influenced western music and especially in 21st century. The classical music is not only limited to Indian classical music. It was far most in the west in different times. Like if we talk of Baroque music that was in 16th century or if we talk of classical music which was in 17th and 18th century and also the romantic music which was in 18th and 19th century. These all types of music had a common ground, and that was classical music. Every musician of its time was greatly involved and was in love with their music. The music created at that time is still remembered. The Indian classical music was also an inspiration from the music of this era. But the Indian classical music is unique in a way that it is related to Indian religion too. In Indian religious books, the origin of classical music and its importance is written clearly. The Indians considered music as an art and also part of their worship. They used to wear special clothes, special places were for those who practicing their music. The musicians were given special place in the society. The Mughal emperors were very fond of classical music, and they gave many awards and distinction to the best musician of those times. Indian classical music has seven notes ‘sa, ray, ga, ma, pa ,da and ni.” These are the base of the classical music. Just like western music that too has special and basic notes.
Review of the literature:
Indian classical music is as old as two thousand to three thousand years old and is known in Indian language ‘sangeet”. Indian musicians usually performed on the basis of their practice. They never wrote the music first and then practiced but they always started with the basic notes and then practiced those notes without writing. Those seven notes as I mentioned above are the pillar of the Indian classical music till today. These seven notes are in ascending and descending order and are categorized for every mood. It was also used for the treatment of patients. These seven notes known better as “rag” are showing and expressing moods and nature of living beings. Even today the western music mostly influenced by these notes. There are many lectures presented by classical musician in west.
Typical culture transmission of musical expertise in Indian culture and Western culture:
The transmission of classical music into other cultural forms by Indian and western musician is very much prominent in new and advance music. The evolution of folk music is also a transmission of musical expertise. As in folk music the lyrics and the music is not prepared and is based on the traditional stories sung in a different manner.
Different forms of Indian classical music:
Indian music has variations. It has pop, traditional, folk as well as classical music. The history is too old. It was rather a subcontinent rich history of classical music. The classical music itself has different types and forms depending on its notes. The two basic forms of music are known as ‘CARNATIC MUSIC” and “HINDUSTANI MUSIC” (Mathew.p.82). Among these, there are a variety of notes that differentiate from one another.
Indian classical music has different tones or simply called rags. They are
- Rag Marwa
- Rag Bhaira
- Rag Gaud –Sarang
- Rag Pahadi
- Rag Yaman
- Rag Bhimpalasi
- Rag Kedar
- Rag Jog
Like Indian classical music west also have different forms of music.
- Fugue ( form of canon)
Many others form depending on their variations in notes.
Based on these forms of music and their notes, there are differences in both forms of music. The Indian classical music is based on the same kind of notes, but they are actually heard and sung differently. The melody of these notes is important in the Indian classical music. This music produces different chain of melodies that are in accordance to the rags which are mentioned above.
The Western classical music is usually a prepared one, or in musical terms the notes are composed whereas, in Indian, they are not composed but blended together. The musical instruments of both are also different.
In Indian classical music, the single singer can perform whereas in Western usually a group of musicians performs together (Gammond.p.234).
After analyzing the main differences in both types of music we can now conclude that how the Indian classical music influenced the Western music. Both have vast histories and different backgrounds. In sixties, the first singer from India went on Europe tour where he along with western musicians introduced the new concept of fusion. That was called “East Meets West” (Music.Feb 1st 2013). After that, one more couple went to a west and performed. That couple was considered as the pioneers in taking Indian classical music to a west. It was highly appreciated and liked by that time. They organized many concerts and programs in Europe and America. Large number of audiences attended and liked the Indian classical music. At present, the Indian classical music has been gone through some changes. With the passage of time, the Indian classical music has adopted and adapted itself to the new waves of music. Interpreting the new instruments of a modern era, the Indian classical music has molded into a new shape. With the basic tradition and basic notes, it has evolved the music that is far beyond the limits of any country and audiences. The basic of Indian classical music is rag and based on this rag the Indian classical music influenced the western music. One of the instruments known as “sitar” was combined in 1960’s, in the music of west (Chillana. P.153).. It was considered to be more or like a guitar and with this “sitar” many new tones were made and got popular. The Indian classical music was combined with jazz music and folk music and thus creating a new set of music. That music was the major blockbuster of its time. Before 60’s, even in 50’s, few classical musicians with their special dress code appeared in America, and they were highly appreciated.
In recent years, many actors of west are seen dancing on Indian melodies. There are even footages of few awards shows broadcasted in west that starts with the fusion of Indian classical music and western music. Few evidences have also been found that one of the famous Hollywood singers has included few notes of Indian music in her song and her song was the greatest hit of that time. One of the bands named “Corner shop “proudly announced an album that was after an Indian singer. Few associations of music in a west even mixed the classical tones of India with their hip hop and jazz music. This blend caused a huge history in the world of music. There are many other examples which can be quoted to show how west was influenced from the Indian classical music. Indian classical music has never been shown its narrowness. It’s liked worldwide and in the same way adopted worldwide.
The Indian classical music has a medical and psychiatric history also. Many reports are found on a net that in few hospitals, in West the Classical music has been recommended by the doctors to heal the psychiatric aspect of patient. Music is used as a Therapy in many cases for patients. Depression, sleep disorder, chronic Schizophrenia is few of the problems that are healed up by the use of Indian classical music (Menen.p.11).
The west has its own wide variety of music but it has fallen flat to the Indian classical music as they have shown various examples where this music has soothed them. This music has a spiritual effect on a west also.
Chilana, R. S. (2008). Challenges for South Asian Resources and Information Services:. Concept Publishing Company.
Gammond, P. (1995). The harmony illustrated encyclopedia of classical music: an essential guide to the world's finest music. Salamander.
Mathew, B. (Aug, 1.2012). Kerala Tradition & Fascinating Destinations 2012. Biju Mathew | Info Kerala Communications Pvt Ltd,.
Menen, R. (Jan 1, 2002). The Miracle of Music Therapy . Pustak Mahal,.
Music, G. E. (Feb,.1.2013). The Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 2. Routledge.