All About Rabindra Sangeet

রবীন্দ্র সঙ্গীতের সব কিছু

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Rabindra-Darshan through Rabindra Sangeet

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Author: Anjan Ganguly, Editor, Geetabitan.com

A column, titled Rabindra-Darshan through Rabindra Sangeet, written by Anjan Ganguly on 11.02.2017.

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Published on 11th February, 2017.

Rabindra Sangeet itself is a tradition and it follows no other traditional styles. Although the ideas of the songs have been conceived from styles like Dhrupads, Khayals, Bhajans, Kirtans, Baul songs, Saari songs and many more including some foreign ones, yet it has its own style that corresponds to neither one in particular.

The essence of Rabindra Sangeet lies in its inherent amalgamation of its lyrics and the tune. The poet had always been very much critical and sensitive while composing a song. Lyrics of his songs are philosophic, substantial and accurate whereas each movement of his songs is a result of his delicate perception, immaculate noesis and extreme passion. The amount of passion he had put into the rest of his creations is not a match with that involved in his songs. Not only each song has an unique plot or idea but it is no other than his songs, for which he was optimistic that, people of Bengal shall be obliged to sing.

One of the main themes of his songs has been 'Harmony'. This phenomenon of the universe has always fascinated the poet and that he had very often referred to as musical harmony. The synchronization between different systems of the world would appear to him as a grand orchestra in progress. Each member of it playing its own part. He would consider himself as one of the subservient members playing the meagre part he is assigned to. The force is being provided by an Omnipotent entity, who has a variety of forms ranging from kind to fierce and gentle to torrential. This unique perspectivism is in slight diversion with respect to that of basic Hinduism which explains multitude of heavenly identities to force the universal persistent motion. Rabindranath being a follower of Brahmo religion, a variation of Hinduism, his philosophy is based on the Upanishads.

In his song 'Aakashbora Surja Taara ...' he expresses his fascination in a lucid way. It is the triviality that often tend to raise his eye-brows. The thought is eternal one and the representation simple. The musical tune, awarded to it is simple too. Because this song was written and composed by the poet in his sixties, it has got every reason to believe that this idea was conceived in a younger age, although, he had felt the necessity to represent it at a mature stage of life. He was lenient to impose the strictness of a raga or complication of a taal.

The sthaayee section starts with a very simple move. Your ears catches the length of a legato of full six beats on the word 'praan'. It is there to express for the vastness of the universe that is full of life. There are more such words with longer duration wherever an expression for vastness was needed. But the word 'sthaan' has been awarded with only three beats in order to establish a trivial amount. Yes, I do occupy a place in the universe, he says, but that is, in fact a contemptibly paltry in amount. This thought appears as a very simple one and this is the thought he wished to transmit. Hence his language is as simple as his tune.

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The word 'bismoye' is another word that needs attention. The expression for a surprise must be startling. The tune jumps to 'sadaj' right from 'dhaivat' in order to make it a jerk. The same is followed each time the song lands to that word 'bismoye'.

The word 'gaan', song or music has a wider perspective in his songs. It is symbol of harmony. I cannot compose a song, he says, it is the universal song that I am inflicted with. Therefore, the word 'gaan' is important for him. Gradually raising the pitch an ambience of exuberance is created dashed with a bit of tension. The tension is indicative of slight uncertainty. The phrase is terminated at 'nishad' a sign of tentativeness.

The onset of the 'sanchari' section opens with madhyam as to add importance for a newer perspective. Madhyam has been predominant in the earlier sections but in 'Re-Ma' combination. Here the the idea changes to 'my own feelings while treading through the woods'. A kind of suspense is created. It touches the top with the word 'chamak', which means startled once again. The ordeal ends with a gentle cushioning of pancham in the phrase 'aanonderi daan'.

The tune seems to glide into the 'aabhog' section from the 'sanchari' section with an innovative move with the phrase 'jaage aamar gaan'.

Description of what I have done continues for two lines and then landing into 'praan dhelechhi' which is rather difficult to express. He concludes with the idea of having a lot that is yet to explore.

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I think there is no use of repeating the whole 'sthaayee' after 'aabhog' but to end the song with 'Aakash-bhora' as indicated in the swaralipi. Interestingly, there is no repetition in the entire song except going back to starting phrase after 'antara' and 'abhog' sections.

The target of my such an elaborate explanation of this song is to account for the extreme passion Rabindranath has put in while composing the tune of the song. It is the singer's duty to uphold his composition with highest esteem and convey it to the listener. I also wish to discourage any attempt, however small or meagre it may be, to deviate from the original notation. It is our responsibility to save the rich collection of these songs from mutilation in the name of commercialisation.

I wish to continue this series of musical analysis with as much songs I can. The next song is 'Aamar Bela je jaay ...'.

………… End …………

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