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  • Writer's pictureRahul Pophali

Big Picture of Indian Classical Music

The general perception of people about Indian classical music is prejudiced. I meet many people who are unwilling to even try listening to Indian classical music because they think it is boring, or they assume its not their type. Many find it difficult to relate at the face of it. Well, I understand that Indian classical music is an acquired taste. It takes time to even appreciate this kind of music to a basic level. The form of this music is vast, elaborate,and intricate. To understand and appreciate Indian classical music, you need to look at a bigger picture than most other forms of music!

Let me explain what I mean by the big picture.

Being a tabla player, I have studied how rhythms work in different genres of music. Human mind perceives rhythm when it identifies a repeating pattern of sounds. In most genres of music, this repeating pattern is small, making it easy for human mind to identify and relate to the rhythm. This repeating pattern is long and stretched in Indian classical music in order to facilitate deeper exploration into rhythm. It requires focus, patience and receptivity to identify and relate to this big, long repeating pattern that forms rhythm in Indian classical music.

It’s like a painting on a huge canvas. If you stand too close to the canvas, you would not be able to see the complete picture; you would only see a part of it that fits in your frame of vision, which probably would not make sense. You need to go back,move away to expand your frame of vision, so you could see the big, complete picture and appreciate it.

Indian classical music requires you to expand your attention span, focus, and listen to be able to appreciate it, understand it. This would be developed over a period of time,of continuous listening.

It’s a great art form that has so much to offer! It’s not the kind of music that will always make you shake your body, it’s the kind of music that will stir your soul!

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