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Influence of Western Music in India

The creation, performance, significance and even the definition of music vary according to culture and context. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. To many people in many cultures music is an important part of their way of life.

By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music ight be. Music in India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, and classical music. India’s classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions.

However, over the past few decades, there has been a significant influence of various estern forms in India owing to globalization and increase in the use of developed technologies. This research is an attempt to observe this influence over traditional Indian Music and to study whether it has hampered or has added value to Indian music. 1. 2 Reason for selecting this topic Music has been an integral part of my life since childhood. I have always been emotionally attached to this form of art. The various compositions, instruments and forms of music have intrigued me immensely.

This curiousness has led me to choose this topic for research and has enabled me to understand music, especially Indian usic in a better way. 1. 3 Research objective o To study the entry of western music in India. o To study the use of western instruments in combination with Indian instruments. o To study whether the listeners prefer western music over Indian music. 1. 4 Research Problem The main idea of research is to study the entry and influence of western music on various forms of Indian Music namely, folk music, classical music, film music etc.

The focus is also on the increasing effect of various western instruments on Indian music and how the traditional form of music has given way to modern sounds through hey prefer western form over Indian music. 1. 5 Scope and Limitations Like any research project, this research is limited by several constraints that could serve as starting points for further research. While the research report gives an idea about the influence of various forms of Western Music in India, it does not give a thorough indication of which is a better form of music.

It only throws light about the preference of the listeners and is completely unbiased in its inference. A second constraint of this research is the time limitation. The research was carried out within a limited time frame of two months. The third constraint is the sample size of the study. The primary research was carried out with a small sample size of 50 respondents, majority of which were students in and around the suburbs of Mumbai. 1. 6 Defining the variables Independent variable: Music Dependent variable: (i) Preference of listeners (it) Instruments used 2.

LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 1 Theoretical Literature Review Indian music unfurls the timeline of that undaunted Journey from the Vedic hymns to the music of the contemporary era. Indians were always comfortable in illustrating themselves amidst the artistry of tune; raga, tala and sur. Quite ideally therefore, Indian music has gradually become one of the much acknowledged genres of the varied art form. The rich chronicle of Indian music unveils its voyage from the ancient Vedic hymns to the recent era where music has gained a whole fresh face.

Indian music has therefore witnessed a lot of alteration in regard to its style, diction and approach. Gone are the times of Sanskrit songs and it is with the introduction of the Pop, Rock, and western fusion and brass bands, Indian music has become lot more contemporary. The characteristics of Indian music will be evident if compared with Western music. There are essential differences between the two systems: the first is based on melody-single notes played in a given order, while the second is harmonic: a group of notes called chords played simultaneously.

The late Dr. Rabindranath Tagore who was acquainted with both the systems put it thus: “The world by day is like Europeans music-a flowing concourse of vast harmony, composed of concord and discord and many disconnected fragments. And the night world is our Indian music: one purem deep and tender raga. They both stir us, yet the two are contradictory in spirit. But that cannot be helped. At the very root, nature is divided into two, day and night, unity and variety, finite and infinite.

We men of India live in the realm of night; we are overpowered by the sense of the One and Infinite. Our music draws the the lonely region of renunciation which lies at the root of the universe, while European music leads us to a variegated dance through the endless rise and fall of human grief and Joy. ” Basically Indian music evokes a spiritual sentiment and discipline-a longing for realization of the self salvation. Vocal singing is an act of worship and not an intellectual display of mastery over raga-technique.

In the West, he singing of a song is a secular and formal exercise, not involving devotion or piety as in the case of Indian music. The Guru-shishya tradition responsible for the deep attachment and dedication of the student to the teacher. In the West, usually a music teacher is Just a person hired for giving lessons and there is no intimacy between the teacher and the taught. Indian music, like Western music, is based on melody and rhythm, but it has no foundation of harmony and counterpoint so vital to Western music.

Indian music is “modal”-based on the relationship between the permanent individual noted called the tonic, with the successive notes. That is why the drone is played in the background of vocal music to remind one of the tonic note. The Indian system is horizontal, one note following the other, while the European is vertical- several notes at a time. Yehudi Menuhin, the noted composer and musicologist, highlights the difference between the two systems by describing Indian music thus: “The appreciate Indian music, one has to adopt a completely different sense of values… ne must orientate oneself and at least for the period concerned, forget there is a time-clock ticking away and merely sink into a kind of subjective, almost hypnotic trance. In that condition, the repetitive features of Indian music, both rhythmic and melodic, acquire an extraordinary fascination and charm… despite the domination of this hypnotic mood, a characteristic of Indian music is that far from deadening the intellect, it actively liberates the mind. ” Another notable difference is in the place of “composition” in both the systems.

In Western music, a composer first composes the music and puts it in notation: later the players play the music under the guidance of a conductor. There is hardly any improvisation, and the value of performance lies in the uniformity and the pre-determined conduct of tone and peed of music. In an Indian musical performance, while the grammar of melody and rhythm is fixed, the skill and ingenuity of the musician lies in his improvisation and creativity, especially in evocation of the mood and rasa of the particular raga.

In this connection an international musicologist writes: “In the West, we construct solid blocks of music. After having carved out geometrically, in large sections, like building stones, the seven degrees of the diatonic scale, lined them up and placed them on top of each other according to cleverly worked out architectural laws which are called counterpoint and harmony. In this way we erected splendid edifices in sound. In the East, no one dreamed of dividing sound into blocks; instead they refined it to a wire- thin thread.

They strove meticulously to stretch out the sound, to refine it to the point of extreme delicacy. No standardized materials, no building of two or six or ten floors; rather a simple variegated silk thread which unwinds and rises and falls imperceptibly, but which in every tiniest portion evokes a world of feelings and sensations. ” In Indian music, melody and rhythm are more developed and offer a great variety of subtleties, not possible in Western music.

Indian notes are divided into small units called shruties (22 microtones in all), whereas Western music has microtones adorned with gracetones (gamakas) produce a magical effect. Western music is capable of producing many moods and feelings. While Indian music has generally a principal mood or emotion in a raga. The Indian musician improvises according to his own creative genius within the framework of a raga, but in Western classical music such range of individual improvisation is inconceivable, except in Jazz. Moreover, the great use of drums in Indian music emphasizes its essential rhythm.

It s only by keeping one’s ears and minds open that one can appreciate the special sequences and melodies different from one’s own. This will apply equally to Indian audiences attending performances of Western music, and to Western audiences listening to Indian music. Let us not forget that the two kinds of music are complementary, like two halves of classical music. Since the last century, Just as India has assimilated western culture via its language, arts, dress, etc. , so has it absorbed and assimilated the western music in exactly the same way.

A progressive culture is never afraid of foreign influence. Even when an excessiveness of imitation does manifest itself, our culture will ultimately reject it and progress towards an all encompassing unity. The long history of India is full of accounts of our defeats at the hands of foreigners and tales of their reigns. However none were successful in uprooting our civilization and culture and sowing the seeds of foreign influence in our soil; rather, India has always managed to enhance its own greatness by absorbing what’s good in them.

The classical music of the West and India has evolved very differently and consequently though they are worlds apart. In eneral the Indian system is either solo with tambura or drone instrument and a percussionist or in a small group setting, whereas its counterpart in the West has developed a highly evolved harmonic system that involves written compositions and arrangements for a multitude of instruments played simultaneously. Trying to combine the two worlds does take away something from each other’s universe and this is a fact.

In every age, music not only expresses the style of the times, but is also engaged in the creation of new styles. Thus Khayal was created from Dhrupad, and Thumri was created from Khayal, followed by other forms of light music. But the source of all of these musical forms is still the traditional Indian folk music. The freedom of the individual and freedom of expression that manifested itself towards the end of the nineteenth century has culminated in today’s modern music.

The inspiration behind this lay in Indian popular music. It is this freedom of expression which has been successful in breaking the narrow bonds of musical grammar, and to enable the use of new instruments such as the violin, clarinet, harmonium and piano. Even after a thorough research of the old classical Indian musical forms today’s usic composer may conclude that these ancient practices, scale patterns, etc. are inadequate for his own expressive needs.

Very early, with the introduction of sound films in the 1930s, the cinema industry in India discovered that if films were to be successful they had to include songs, and to this day nearly all successful productions are similar to the ‘musicals ‘ of the West. The songs were initially taken from traditional Indian sources, folk, devotional, and classical, as well as ‘ghazals ‘ and ‘qawwalis and were presented in a more or less traditional manner. New new instrumentation and techniques were introduced.

The influence of Western music was delayed, partly by the fact that India had no indigenous tradition of orchestral music, which involves lengthy compositions and accurate performance from notation. Neither of them were part of the training of the traditional Indian musician. There was also the lack of experience with harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration, techniques which the West had gradually developed over a period of several hundred years. In the early period of 60s and the progenitor was of course Ali Akbar Khan.

Later it is in the hands of “Ravi Shankar”, the great sitar maestro, western fusions gained its desired contour. The year 1962 is indeed an important year in the history of western fusion in India as for the very first time the musical traits of east Jelled well with melodic attributes of the west. The release of “Improvisations” which is of course a classical effort of unifying Jazz and sitar aided in taking Indian music that steady step in the arena of global music. The late 1970s and the early 1980s were however marked as the “Rock and roll” era in Indian music history.

The Hindustani classical songs coupled with its raga and tala was then not the only genre of music that enchanted a million souls as then the western fusion eveloped quite rapidly to befit the requirements of 80s whilst captivating the intellectuals. In the modern Indian film songs, the melody generally retains its Indian character and the singer often uses traditional vocal ornaments. Music in modern India has a huge variation that is created keeping in mind the preferences of the new generation.

To create a subtle difference in tunes and mood, the blend of tunes and faster beats are added. Sometimes, fusion is created with blending Indian classical music with western music. Keeping pace with the modern world, Indi pop music is also created. This type of music is created with the amalgamation of Indian and western pop music. Sometimes, ‘raga ‘ and ‘taal ‘ which are the most important parts of Indian music are removed from the latest compositions to make the music fit to the modern trend.

The tunes, usage of some western musical instruments, words and the trend tend to create a new type of music though the replica of western and Indian fusion is always extant in them. The style of orchestration used in Indian music is also borrowed from the western tradition. The tonal quality and instrumental precision of foreign musical instruments have won the hearts of our eople, and these instruments have also made it possible to orchestrate Indian music. Orchestral compositions also include Indian musical instruments.

Our instrumental artists have always been careful in improving their style and the quality of their playing. While playing in an orchestra it is vitally important to follow systematically the “registered notation” method. For this reason these artists feel greatly the need for utmost precision in the recording of musical notation, even though we have not yet achieved our desired goal in this matter, and our system of notation is not universally used. Even without amplifying on the topic of the continuous improvement of Indian ‘Orchestral Instrumental Music’ it may be said that it has developed in response to new needs.

And at the root of this innovation and transformation have always been our music composers. All of the efforts to maintain the integrity of Indian music and to effect its improvement are a source of continual inspiration to me. The efforts of the Indian government to hold classical certificates and titles upon talented and knowledgeable artists are all steps full of hope in the advancement of Indian music. Against modern Indian music there has been an accusation by a certain select group – that modern Indian music is not Indian at all.

This charge has been made by a select and quite influential group of music aficionados. This group is of the firm opinion that: a) Modern Indian music does not follow any of the raga note patterns of Indian music, b) This music has none of the characteristics of being typically Indian – in other words Indian folk-music, and c) For accompaniment with this music, it is all too easy to use foreign ‘orchestral’ The above accusation has been made primarily around Indian Film music. It is through Film music that Modern Indian music finds its most popular expression.

Among the above mentioned group of critics is a section which has cultivated the strong viewpoint that the melding of Indian music and western music and the Joint use of these different styles of music is not possible. Contrary to the tendency to blast western music, ace vocalist Pandit JasraJ has said pop music and Beatles posed no threat to Indian classical music, rather the alien influence has heralded in ‘democratization’ of the art unlike the past when masters dealt the accompanying musicians with contempt. The sources of Indian music are endless and its potentials are without limit.

In the past Indian music obtained its inspiration and its ingredients from generations of inherited popular and classical music, as well as from western music. Today, as nations have achieved a much greater degree of closeness and cultural exchange has become so much easier, the opportunity for Indian music to disseminate widely and to expand its vision presents itself. Indian music has a great deal to offer to the music of the world because it has a rare depth, dignity, and above all a beauty of mood and expression. Behind all of sophisticated techniques of world music today lies a reflection of the individual.

Into this, Indian music will infuse life – by bringing to it a reflection of the soul. Indian music will send a message of peace and tolerance. And this noble responsibility will have to be borne by the modern Indian music composer. 2. 2 Research based Findings The exposure of music in India to Western influence did not as one might suppose, begin during recent decades as a consequence of the intensifying of international trade, colonization, missionary activity and wars. In point of fact, there has always een a cultural exchange between the West and India, so far as our knowledge of history informs us.

In this cultural exchange, as it is affected the domain of music in antiquity and medieval times, it was not only the Orient that was a source of elements of its own musical cultural to people of Asia and India. During the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, post-Indian rebellion, when the British Raj consolidated its bureaucratic power over many aspects of Indian life, Indian music was examined and researched as part of the scientific description of India, hrough both the mapping of traditional Indian culture for political and bureaucratic purposes and continuing scholarly investigation of Indian music by Western musicologists.

Music played a role as a symbol of Indian culture for the incipient nationalist moment, and it was within this sphere of activity that some of the most trenchant debate about the Indian and Western music took place. Western music was being adopted by Indians, notably in the world of princely patronage, where the presence of a European orchestra or professor was a sign of progress, modernization and prestige.

The Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi KrishnaraJa Wodeyar, for example, maintained a western wind band, string orchestra and full orchestra under the direction ofa European bandmaster tuned to the Indian scale of microtones. The invasion by European and American folk music during the twentieth century has overwhelmed the native music of India during the past decades to such an extent that the national music has often been extensively undermined or completely obliterated. In recent times, partially new national styles have arisen in which Western and Indian cultural heritages have undergone amalgamation.

In India, with the continuation of old traditions in music and musical theory, a new national music has emerged which has been evolved by the poet and composer, Rabindranath Tagore, in conscious imitation of Western music from stylistic elements of classical Indian music. The music of Rabindranath Tagore School is an amalgamation of the principles of the European art song with the traditions of the Indian art of singing. From the standpoint of the European, the Indian elements make the dominating impression whereas the Indians are more aware of the European model.

The novelty n this music is the renunciation of the cramping rules of the Indian music theory. The system of the Ragas and the Talas is relinquished, the formal scheme of the Variation-suite is abandoned in favour of the concise song form, the far too exuberant mannerisms of tonality, rhythm and melismatics make way for a simpler, more popular formation. The contribution of maestros like Mehli Mehta and his son, Zubin Mehta, to the enrichment of Western music are such as would make every one of us proud. Besides, we have a number of talented performers in Western music with a large following in India.

The impact of Western music in our country is particularly evident in our commercial films and time alone will tell whether it is desirable or not. But it is equally true that our film industry has afforded much scope for gainful employment to a large number of musicians, music arrangers and music directors trained in Western music. Music in modern India imbibes not only the western influence but in some cases the traditional Indian music are presented in the veil of modernity. Following the age of British rule, the Indian mind was especially attracted to the western way of thinking.

In music, though the analogy is not that straightforward, the influence of western music is none the less present in a similar way. But as to the question of whether it is possible to meld Indian music with western music, we have already found the answer in recent times and in the century. We live, so to speak, in an era of internationalism. In the welter of confusion caused by conflicting art-theories and art-forms, we also hear a few voices clamoring for expanding Indian music by making it international.

And the potent way to internationalize it, we are told, is through orchestration and choral singing to make it cceptable to Western cars. The fundamental point sought to be conveniently overlooked here is that internationalism implies free intercourse of art between different countries which, incidentally, is already there. Introduction of harmony, as understood in the West, will divest our music of its most unique feature. No doubt, Indian music has an unlimited potential for development along orchestra and choral lines.

But melody must always remain a dominant factor in these media of expression. They should by all means be allowed to grow along with our traditional vogues and not displace them. The real problem facing our music today is to preserve its traditional values and yet create new forms of expression which would emerge as an organic growth from the past and still be nearer to the idiom of contemporary life. The problem, by and large, involves the stupendous task of making Indian music strong and dynamic to meet the exigencies of modern times.

What is needed today is a free and unbiased understanding of the art of music in the context of Indian life and thought. A happy synthesis of the music of the past with the music of the present will be possible only with an appreciation of its past achievements and n equally dispassionate assessment of its future possibilities. One should not forget the fact that heritage of world music is marvelously varied, that its different aspects can speak to us at different times in our lives if only we open our hearts and minds to listen.

Indeed, in this age of speed and hurry, and din and fury, it is music and music alone that can make people mellower and gentler, enrich them emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, and thus add to the sum-total of their pleasure in living. 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOY Research methodology is defined as a highly intellectual human activity used in the nvestigation of nature and matter and deals specifically in the manner in which data is collected, analyzed and interpreted. It includes a philosophically coherent collection of theories, concepts or ideas as they relate to a particular discipline or field of inquiry 3. Research Design Research design can be thought of as the structure of research. It holds all of the elements in a research project together. There are various types of research designs used in the study of research methodology. Some of them are, Exploratory Research Design a. b. Descriptive Research Design Causal Design d. Natural Research Design Controlled Research Design e. is a method which involves observing and describing the behavior of a subject without influencing it in any way.

Descriptive research is often used as a pre-cursor to more quantitatively research designs, the general overview giving some valuable pointers as to what variables are worth testing quantitatively. Descriptive Research Design is also known as Survey Research Design. 3. 2 Sampling Design 3. 2. 1 Technique The technique used for the research is a non-probabilistic convenience sampling. 3. 2. 2 Size The sample size for the primary research was 50 respondents which mostly consisted of college students and working professionals in the age group of 20-30 around the suburbs of Mumbai. . 3 Data Collection Methodology The data collection method used was a survey questionnaire. An email of the questionnaire was sent across to potential respondents. The questionnaire contained a mix of both close ended and open ended questions. It had questions based on Level of Measurement (interval level questions) using the Likert Response Scale and Contingency questions. A sample of the questionnaire has been given in the Annexure. 4. FINDINGS AND RESULTS The following are the results to the survey questionnaire which was filled by the respondents.

Each question has been analyzed and the inference has been carried out accordingly. Gender There was an equal mix of both sexes and hence an unbiased view could be established across genders. There is a negligible difference of opinion between the two genders and as such any core conclusion cannot be established. Occupation The majority of respondents were students and hence the research findings reflect generalized for the youth. 1) What kind of music do you prefer? Rate according to preference from 5 to 1. – Highest Preference, 1- Lowest Preference) The respondents were asked to rank their preferences of the various music forms, both Indian and International from 1- 5 and the average ranking for each of the five choices were taken. It was observed that the respondents showed the highest preference for Indipop and Folk music whereas the least preference was shown for Hard rock/ Metal. 2) Name your favorite musician/ band ( Indian/ International) It can be seen that the average respondent still prefers Indian music as much as he dores the western tunes.

A. R Rehman is chosen as the favourite by a majority of respondents followed by Jal. Michael Jackson and Linkin Park are the two international singers//bands that stand out. The ‘Other’ categories of bands/ musicians are almost at par both nationally and internationally. They include Mohd. Rafi, Euphoria in the Indian category and Akon, Backsteet Boys in the international category 3) Please give reasons why you prefer them This was an open ended questionnaire wherein the respondents gave reason for their preference for a certain singer/ band. A.

R Rehman is preferred because he is said to blend Indian and Western music in a unique manner. Similarly, Jal is an upcoming band which is popular for its Sufi music blended in rock style. Certain western bands are chosen for their contemporary style of rock. Since most of the respondents are Students in their youth, the overall preference of the sample is bound to be shifted in their direction. Youths generally prefer popular artists both nationally and internationally and the same hold true. 4) Any formal training taken by you or any of your family members.

A large number of respondents have not taken any formal training in music and nor have their family members. This however, would not have a major impact on their listening preferences as it can be seen a large number of respondents, training ignored still have the same preferences of artists. 5) If yes, mention which form of training (Classical/ Hindustani music, tabla, guitar, drums etc. ) Out of the respondents who have taken formal training, most of them are trained in classical vocals followed by guitar and tabla. ‘Others’ include respondents trained in harmonium, keyboard and violin.

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