understanding of Buddhism, Hinduism, and/or Indian secular culture.
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Understanding Indian Contemporary Culture through Music
The common contemporary Indian music consists of remixes, fusion, and Indian pop music. One such artist is Amjad Ali Khan. His music comprises of songs that rely on the sarod instrument. Having learned the art from his father, Amjad became one of the most recognized contemporary musicians from India. Some of his music has been found to challenge ancient understanding while others use the ancient reference to complement modern situations (Liu 230). The most referenced old age texts and ideology in Amjad’s music are the Vedas. This text originates from old age India and provides the artist with the base for contemporary musical content. The immense Vedic contribution of ideologies, style, and meaning to Amjad’s music has provided the modern culture with a means to understand the music better (Goswami 427). It has also allowed modern culture to relate with ancient happenings. Therefore, it is clear to see that contemporary music has a bearing in ancient culture and uses old age Indian ideologies in portraying modern day happenings.
Most modern musicians will argue that Vedas I too ancient text to influence modern culture. However, this argument can be placed to rest based on an analogy that refers to common place events. For instance, when making any repairs to clothing, repeated repairs may result in the final clothing losing its original appearance (Bisakha 490). Therefore, according to this analogy, it is clear to see how modern contemporary music can have elements of the Vedas (Liu 231). Most analysts have been found to state that there is little or no evidence to the influence played by the Vedas in the development of contemporary music. However, according to the aforementioned analogy, a musical horizon can be out of modern understanding and reach. Despite this disparity, there is a close resemblance in certain aspects of the art. Some of the literary evidence that is found in modern culture and thus contemporary music include elements in the old that remain frozen. These elements are beautifully used by Amjad to portray a modern culture that is analogous to the previously held ideologies. The patterns are modified to simulate the current events in a given society (Goswami 427). In particular, the Semaveda have been crucial in influencing Amjad’s music as they are Hymns that provide a wider perspective to the different ways of reciting the music. Despite the difficulty of interpolating the modern text with Vedic text, an in-depth analysis of such text in comparison to age old music clearly shows the relationship.
Iconography refers to the imagery used in the depiction of art, whether contemporary or not. Contemporary music makes use of iconography in the depiction of album cover art as well as advertisements in the creation of the awareness of the events that are in line with the modern art. Ancient Hindu temples are awash ancient art that depict the clothing as well as instruments used by ancient Hindu people (Bisakha 491). The music written on the walls, as well as the dancing performed by the people of the time bears similarities with modern contemporary culture. However, modern music has been found to alter the dressing as well as the dancing methods in the depiction of the physicality of the music (Bisakha 491). Contemporary musicians have often altered the clothing, instruments, and dancing styles in congruence with western culture. This is mostly evident in the Indian pop culture, and music. The pop music is highly influenced by western music but bases its heritage on Indian subculture. The clothing and decorations used depict the Indian way of doing things, but the music and the message do not strictly rely on local experiences of the Indian people (Goswami 430). The amalgamation of Indian and western culture tends to erode the original values held by the people of the olden days.
There is a consistent experience of Vedic influence in day to day Indian life. This influence has transcended into the contemporary culture in different ways. While this influence cannot be identified instantly, the influence can be depicted in modern music (Bisakha 489). While most people have the ideology that Vedic influence only lies in Indian classical music, the opposite is the truth. This is to say that there is a linear relationship between the Vedas and the music sand today in the Indian culture. The Vedas music had a direct influence on medieval musical forms; the medieval musical forms on the other hand had a direct influence on Carnatic Sanganeet and Hindustani Sanganeet (Liu 234). However, the model above of influence has been found to disregard the process of amalgamation in the influencing of modern music as well as other forms of art. Amalgamation refers to the tendency to have a change in the content as well as means of presenting the content to the masses. The amalgamation process changes how the information is understood and depicted to the public.
The more agreeable model of transformation of the Vedic and thus the influence of the text on modern culture involves a complex transformation that involves different levels of understanding and thus depicts the amalgamation process. The amalgamation process will often involve the conjoining of different forms of musical depictions and thus results to a new musical genre. This is common with the amalgamation of Hindustani and the Carnatic music. Amjad’s music has depicted this amalgamation in many ways, which is the core reason behind his immense success in the music industry (Liu 228). The amalgamation of the music is such that ancient folk, Sino-Asiatic music, and the Vedic text amalgamate to form the ancient Indian musical forms. These in turn have been found to amalgamate with the medieval folk, Persian music, and Arabic music, to form the medieval musical forms (Goswami 431). The amalgamation of the resultant medieval musical forms with contemporary folk songs as well as commercial pop music has indirectly resulted in the development of the Hindustani music. The amalgamation process can clearly show that there is an inherent influential process to the modern music that predates the recent past.
Therefore, it is clear to see that the contemporary culture in India has been influenced by previous cultures as well as art. While this influence is not direct, there have been found different ways in which the amalgamation process has taken place. Amjad’s music is a clear representation of the amalgamation process, and therefore the ways in which this influence has taken place (Liu 233). The modern contemporary art in India has also been found to have been influenced by Western culture. This has resulted in the continuous changes that are exhibited in the culture. While most people might view this as negative influence to Indian culture, the reality on the ground is that this culture has resulted in the continued rich history as well as changes in modern depictions of the past.
Liu, Chen. “Noise In Guangzhou: The Cultural Politics Of Underground Popular Music In Contemporary Guangzhou.”Area 46.3 (2014): 228-234. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Goswami, Bisakha. “Music And Religion: As Reflected In The Unpublished Text Ānandasañjῑvana.” International Journal Of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies 1.5 (2014): 422-433.Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Goswami, Bisakha. “Emergence Of Ethnomusicology: As Traced In Indian Perspectives.” International Journal Of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies 1.6 (2014): 489-509.Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
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