#TPOM (The Place Of Music, March 07, 2015)

SynTalk thinks about different facets of music, including its ever changing relationship with ‘place’ and time. We explore how blocks of noise, sound, consonants, melody, & ‘intention’ come together to create music. How does music exploit the spatial dimension? How does the envelope of quality (timbre) emerge? The concepts are derived off / from Panini, Kant, Bakhtin, Chomsky, Kumar Gandharva, Bismillah Khan, Alladiya Khan, Aminuddin Dagar, & Ashok Ranade, among others. Are sounds (& music) merely vibrations? Are the underlying chronotopes of (say) Dhrupad, Khayal, or Thumri different in ‘a certain way’ (a la Epic and the Novel)? Do musical gharanas (styles) named after places have anything to do with them? Is it possible to tacitly learn music (including the ragas) from the environment? Does music have an internal grammar? How music is both instinctive and cultural. What is the role of imitation? Does music live in our experience, and what / where then is music for animals & plants? The varying priorities accorded to melody and lyrics in folk & classical music. Does folk music always have a performative function? Why are instruments closer to human voice (created by God himself(?)) considered superior (like sarangi over violin?)? Why instrumental music has rarely had a solo repertoire? Are we an instrument ourselves. Why (if at all) is art music special, & how is its aesthetic different from other genres? Why / how do different stringed instruments sound different? Is human voice also a medium (instrument)? The links between beating, mongoose, bowing, crows, plucking, peacocks, blowing, music, bird song, heavy metal, & Bhendi Bazaar. How / why is the place uprooted (say Sufi music from Tunisia) and brought to a performance space? Is music first for the musician? Is it possible to easily distinguish electronic sounds from the natural? Is there a certain quality (timbre) to EDM as well? The irony of tuning the tanpura electronically (shruti box). The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Milind Malshe (literature, aesthetics, IITB, Mumbai), Dr. Suvarnalata Rao (musicology, NCPA, Mumbai), & Dr. Subroto Mihir Roy (music (Dhrupad), Pune).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TPOM show.

Prof. Milind Malshe (aesthetics, literature) is a Professor of English Language and Literature at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), IITB, Mumbai. His areas of interest include aesthetics, art criticism, research methodology for performing arts, translation studies, Indian languages and literature, Bakhtin studies, stylistics, and semiotics. He has also translated some of the works of R.G. Collingwood and Noam Chomsky into Marathi. He has also formulated and taught courses in appreciation of music. Prof. Malshe also has a parallel career as a dedicated vocalist. After receiving his initial training under G. T. Tilak & Ashok Ranade, he trained under Ratnakar Pai of the Jaipur gharana. After completing his M. Litt. In from EFLU, Hyderabad, Prof. Malshe attained his Ph.D. from University of Mumbai, along with a Diploma in Hindustani Classical Vocal Music. He loves to teach, write, translate & read, besides performing in musical concerts & circles in India and overseas. He also actively manages a research group comprising students from a wide array of research interests and topics.

Dr. Suvarnalata Rao (musicology, psycho acoustics) is a senior musician and musicologist working in the field of computational musicology and organology (science of instruments). Having trained under the sitar maestro Arvind Parikh, she obtained her Ph.D. for work in psychoacoustics of music. Presently she is the Programming Head (Indian Music) & Research Scientist at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai. A recipient of several national and international fellowships (including the Homi Bhabha Council Fellowship), she has been a visiting Faculty at various educational institutions across the world. She has been a guest Professor at the Rotterdam Conservatory (CODARTS) & University of Amsterdam since 1995. Her publications include numerous research papers and books including her dissertation, ‘Acoustical Perspective on Raga-Rasa Theory’ and ‘Raga Guide’, an audio-literary production by the Nimbus Records, U. K. Besides being an editor/co-editor for a number of monographs and for the Journal of Indian Musicological Society (until 2012), her most recent contribution is a unique website titled ‘Music in Motion’ which allows one to hear and ‘see’ music at the same time. Since 2011 she has also been a board member of Music Council for Asia Oceania (MCAO), under the International Music Council (IMC).

Dr. Subroto Mihir Roy (vocal music) sings Dhrupad music and Saam Veda & is a visiting teacher of music at various academic institutions. He trained under the last disciple of Ramkrishnabua Vaze, Bhaskarbua Joshi. He is also a keen follower of Sayeeduddin Dagar in Dhrupad. His special interest lies in re-contextualizing ancient and medieval Indian thoughts in today’s cultural discourse on Indian music. As part of his Ph.D. thesis, he explored the dependence of musical creativity on avartan (musical cycle), which has much wider implications in creativity. Dr. Roy was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Sanskrit, University of Pune. As part of this affiliation, he has completed a project on ‘Semiosis of Music in Ghatak’s Select Films’ for The National Film Archives of India. He was also felicitated with a conference grant by Society for Education, Music, and Psychology, Research (SEMPRE) London University, for his paper on qualia of raga at the Empirical Musicology Conference at Leeds University. Some of the other fellowships awarded to Dr. Roy are Research Fellowship of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (2008-09) and the SAARC Fellowship Award for Research on Diminishing Cultures of South Asia (2011-12). Dr. Roy also received his post graduate degree in Journalism from Pune University (1994) and spent nearly 17 years (including 3 years as a freelance journalist) in mainstream journalism.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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