Future of Traditional Classical Music

Future of Traditional Classical Music

The present and past must intermingle and give birth to a future world of Indian classical music which combines both the earlier traditions and the innovations suited to present day conditions. It is in this direction that we must move to pave out the way for the Future of Classical Music in India. How do we go about this difficult job? Let us find some illustrative and possible answers for the future growth of Traditional Indian Classical Music.

  • Traditional classical musicians should be given some type of continuing financial support by Govt. or lay public and private organizations.
  • All India Radio should absorb the traditional classical singers and classical musicians as staff artists and advisers as far as possible.
  • Chairs should be created in Universities on regional and rotational basis to provide for eminent classical musicians.
  • Private organizations set up to further the cause of traditional classical music, should be supported and their performance regularly watched.
  • There should be a fair system of assessment and rating by elder traditional musicians and musicologists for deciding upon assistance on all the four points above.
  • All India Radio should screen and grade classical artists with fairness, impartiality and strictness.
  • All foreign tours under Govt. and public control as part of cultural exchange programme should be manned by graded Indian classical musicians and not by ill trained persons who manage to go abroad through contacts or influence. After all, foreign countries must hear correct and authentic music of India and not an admixture or different sorts of music. The supreme test for the powers that be is whether they will be fair, strict and impartial in their judgment and selection. The gradation lists of AIR/Doordarshan can be the starting point. The point raised here is a matter which must seriously concern bodies like the Sangit Natak Academy, the Indian Council of Cultural Relation, the Ministry of Culture and even the Universities besides State Governments and cultural organizations.
  • Proper courses of music appreciation and concert ­demonstrations with powerful press coverage educating listeners on a wide scale on the basis of elementary concepts, technique and phrases of music. This is the only way to keep erring and adventurist performers of music under check and in their proper place. The control and check of Maharajas, Nawab and elder listeners are now gone. Unfettered license will finish whatever is left of our classical music and traditions.
  • There must also be fair system of spotting new talents and giving all support for their training and performance. This again is a matter of fairness and impartiality in selection.
  • Commercial cassettes and recordings of the recitals of old masters, as may be available in the National Archives and records of Gramophone companies, should be produced on a large scale and sold at subsidized prices. Listening sessions of these record­ings with explanatory interludes should be organized in all parts of the country. This is part of musical education for all of us particularly the youngsters who love music and wish to specialize and make a living out of it Let us not be accused of holding back our glorious musical heritage from the present and future generations. However tenous, this link must be strengthened and maintained since the guru­shisya parampara is on the decline today.

There may be many other good suggestions for the future growth of Traditional Classical Music. Only an illustrative list has been given above. The roots of a nation are in its classics. We must be quite firm on the point that we cannot allow our classics to be ruined. We may modify our approach, change our strategy, vary our emphasis but let there not be a sellout of classical music in the name of cheap popularity and commercialization. The Classical Music Gharanas may have become out of date today for various reasons but musical discipline can and must be restored, and it is in this direction that we must move.

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