Can a music lover ever have enough?

Every aspect of the new WorldSpace ad is too good! Be it the WorldSpace Signature tune played in a Hindustani style or the music shop or the Hindustani music lover (look at his expressions!) and then, of course, A.R.Rahman! Does he look cool! And then, the lines in the ad!

“So you love Indian Classical music? You spend every rupee you can on Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Joshi? But, can a music lover ever have enough?” asks Rahman.

Yeah, can a music lover ever have enough? What is it that is there in music that never lets you feel you have had enough of it? What is there in music that makes you feel that every time you listen to it, you are elevated to a new state of bliss altogether?

If Rahman’s music makes me feel something, the effect that Carnatic music has on me is something different! Just imagine spending the whole day listening to M.S.Subbulakshmi or Mandolin Srinivas or M.S.Gopalakrishnan or Lalgudi Jayaraman or E.Gayathri or Madurai Mani or D.K.Pattamal or Nithyasree or my favourites Sanjay Subrahmanyan and T.M.Krishna or…. (the list is endless)! Pure bliss! The beauty of Carnatic music is how the same composition/raagam sounds different when it is sung/played by different people. Even if say, you hear the same raagam taken up for elaboration on three consecutive days by three different artistes or for that matter the same person, will it sound the same on all the days? The joy of attending a concert, not knowing what is going to be sung on that day and the joy you feel when your favourite song/raagam is sung! This element of suspense is what makes attending concerts something equivalent to listening to a new music album for the first time!
This is not so with film songs. There is a limit to which you can make changes while performing a song live on stage. The audience won’t be ready to accept hearing their favourite songs sung with many changes. (Hey, this is not a post comparing film music with Carnatic or anything! I am just penning down or rather typing my thoughts)
Coming back to the ad, I, or for that matter, any music lover can identify himself/herself with the Hindustani music lover who comes in the ad. If there is one thing that I find difficult in stopping myself from doing, it is buying CDs now and cassettes earlier. Every time I go to Music World or some shop, I will be in a state exactly like that person in that ad! 🙂 Confused about what to buy and what to leave!
I don’t have much of a problem when it comes to buying CDs of film songs as I buy only the CDs of Rahman’s movies these days. I don’t find many good songs in the last couple of years by other MDs. (Of course, you all would have expected me to say this! 😉 ) So instead of buying a CD for one or two good songs in a movie, I am satisfied listening to those songs in TV/Radio/ But, the problem starts when it comes to Carnatic music! Lots to choose from! I stood with 6 different CDs of TMK in my hand in a shop a few months back confused as to which one to buy and I finally bought just 2 comforting myself saying that I already attend many concerts of his!
Forget the part about buying CDs, will there ever come a time when I say I have had enough of music? The thirst for learning and listening to new raagams/compostions, delving deeper into the already known raagas and krithis and trying to understand and appreciate the finer aspects of those, is so much that I can say that music will always remain the one thing in my life that I just can’t part with. Apart from Classical and Rahman’s music, I want to explore other genres of music too!
Again quoting what Rahman said in the earlier WorldSpace ad, ‘There is so much to hear!’ 🙂

P.S.: Since it was about music, I couldn’t help writing a lengthy post!

17 thoughts on “Can a music lover ever have enough?

  1. Adiya

    Once somebody asked me to define music
    I.. didn’t really have an answer
    Or lets say I had more than one
    For me music is like
    an unspoken language
    is sound of nature
    if you listen carefully theres music in everything
    Theres only one way to understand and enjoy music
    you just have to keep listening and you can
    through world space
    There is so much to hear
    – ARR

  2. Sathej

    Very interesting post!Have several thoughts on it.By the way,I have the same dilemma as regards CDs.Sometimes,the same songlist is available on a cassette and why spend so much on a CD when a cassette provides the same.I buy CDs only if they have rare songs or they are truly great.
    As for music and its charm,I have some thoughts which I would post after a couple of days(right now,very busy…have got exams!!)

  3. yuva

    // confused as to which one to buy // you need like-minded friends for CD club (like book club) who care to share and to Enjoy more with less(cash.;~D)

    sound of music
    gives us so much emotions
    is the ocean fills our soul with senses to make us more human

    Music is the best gift of God to all of us
    because, can put life in to a dead soul.

  4. Durga

    Excellent post!! Had to read it twice before commenting (That’s a compliment). Very well written. Of course, I identify with all that you have said :). My addition to it.. Music is the rhythm of LIFE! So it will always be a part of our system 😉

  5. Aparna

    I already know these lines 😛

    All the best for your exams! Waiting to know your thoughts on music and its charm 🙂 As for cassettes & CDs, I have more cassettes than CDs when it comes to Carnatic Music.

    > Music is the best gift of God to all of us
    That’s true!

    Thank you! Yup, what’s life without music? 😉

  6. Bharath

    It gets worse (or rather better depending on your POV) when you expand your circle of what you listen to. Italian, Greek, Algerian, Persian/Middle eastern, Russian, Chinese classical, African (Zulu, Kwaito, Kwela et all), Nordic and add western Genres, Indian classical on top of this.

    We can never have enough can we? 🙂

  7. Aparna

    Welcome to my blog!

    Phew! Now that was a looong list! Let me see if I am able to learn something about atleast one more genre!

  8. Sathej

    Disclaimer:The views I elaborate here are entirely mine and are by no means assertions.
    Music is indeed a great solace to the human mind.I choose to compare the features of Carnatic Music(CM)(with which I am familiar to little extent) and film music which I have heard very rarely.I know it is unfair to comment on film music on which admittedly I don’t have sufficient expertise,but nevertheless here I go.
    The primary difference between CM and film music(FM) lies in the content. There are no boundaries set for FM-the composer,the singer et al are free to present what they want as long as they satisfy the listener.Philosophically,this seems to be a glitch with FM.In CM,the skill of the artiste is to present his/her music within the set boundaries.
    The content of most of today’s FM is deplorable.Where are the lyrics going?!The listener cannot be deaf to the lyrics,after all.I would anyday prefer to soak in the lyrics of Kadannu Variki or Mayamma Yani ne than listen to songs with absolutely meaningless lyrics.When I hear a Mayamalava Gowla(like the one played by Shri TNK recently at Music Academy) or a Saveri(by Shri TMK at MFAC last season) or a Thodi by Shri Ariyakudi on tape,my mind is filled with tranquility.Just now,I listened to the Late Smt.MS songing a soothing Hecharikagara and Shri OST render a soulful Durusuga(Saveri).CM is for the mind and soul while FM is for entertainment.Note that I do not belittle FM but am merely comparing the features!
    Coming to the technical aspects,as regards CM,though boundaries are well defined,there is huge flexibility for the artiste.He can innovate in the Manodharma Sections.
    Next,though many film songs are based on well known Carnatic Ragas,they are essentially Ragamalikas.Once,Shri B Rajam Iyer said ‘When in doubt about a Raga,just analyze a few Thyagaraja Krithis in that Raga.You will be clear’.A film song does not do justice to a Raga.For that matter,I don’t personally prefer Carnatic musicians render Ragamalika Swarams or Tanam haplessly.There should be a certain restraint shown.Mere gimmicks with several Ragas does not do justice to any of them.
    I understand that I have not given a perfectly coherent account.Maybe,I’ll do it some time later.But,after all why talk too much about music?As the Legend Late Smt.Veena Dhanammal used to say, ‘Sangeethatha Pesaraangalame?'(jocularly referring to the Conferences at the Music Academy!)
    Thank you for giving me the space in your bolg,Aparna.Hopefully,I’ll be starting a blog by the next week.

  9. Aparna

    Nice to know your views.
    I would like to add a point here.
    As you say, many film songs are based on raagas and they don’t do justice to the raaga/raagas in which they are based on. But, then if the MDs start concentrating on preserving the essence of a raaga, the difference between film music & Carnatic will be lost!

  10. Sathej

    Of course,Aparna!All I meant to say was they borrow freely from Carnatic Music but don’t do justice to the Raga.But,as you say,in a way,that separates the grain from the chaff,right?Accepted!

  11. Sathej

    Hello Aparna,
    By the way,is WordPress better for a blog than Blogspot?The reason I am asking is that I plan to start one by the next week(hope I’ll have atleast half your number of visitors and I don’t have to shut down the blog like I did sometime back!).

  12. chiroti

    Hey Aparna! This feels like a more descriptive version of my post on what turns me on in life! Music! Yes, definitely agree that there’s so much to hear and wonder how some people can say that they are not very keen on listening to Music. I feel elated when I listen to good music, esp. Carnatic and I have a deep respect for people who can convey meaningful music or thoughts of true music in whatever ways, could also be like the way ARR does in promoting worldspace 😉 (this is just to make you feel happier ;))

    On a serious not, Music gives you an identity that separates you from rest of the world and moves you few steps closer to God.

    Good observation on film songs and live performance. There’s a lot of difference in rendering film songs and carnatic music.
    1. Like you said, the scope for being creative is very limited for film songs although few singers like Hariharan do exceptionally well in handling these changes.
    2. Film songs is meant for masses that can / cannot understand music but just plain enjoyment / entertainment.
    3. When listening to film songs people tend to relate to the heroes / scenes from movies and feel good whereas Carnatic is more divine. Personally, I prefer Carnatic. 🙂

    Was that too much? Hehe! Well even I cant stop when I start talking or writing about music! So same pinch! 🙂


  13. Aparna

    Looking forward to reading your blog soon!
    I feel WordPress is better than blogspot. That’s why I chose this. And, I saw that Ram had already answered your question and I have no more points to add to it. 🙂


  14. Aparna

    Hey yes, you can say that this post is a descriptive version of your post! It never struck me!! But, the inspiration for this post is only ARR’s words in the ad. 😉 (I am saying this to make you happy 🙂 )

    >could also be like the way ARR does in promoting worldspace 😉 (this is just to make you feel happier ;))
    Am I happy after reading this line!! 😛

    And yes, It wasn’t too much! I expected a longer comment from you. 😉


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