All About Rabindra Sangeet

রবীন্দ্র সঙ্গীতের সব কিছু

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Guidelines for singing rabindra sangeet

Guidelines for the students while singing Rabindra Sangeet. Singers should know the intension of the poet. A brief summarized explanation.

The Lyrics

The lyrics of Rabindra Sangeet enjoy equal importance as its tune. It has been revealed through numerous letters of Rabindranath written to different people and articles published on contemporary magazines and papers that his intension was to convey his profound revelations among people by his creations. He had experimented a lot with the choice of words even synthesizing his own lexicon at times for categorical expression. His selection of language hovered around a wide variety of words expressing perplexed heavenly dignity to onomatopoetic words so that his complex feelings could reach the readers with natural ease. Supplementing his words, even by mistake, is the last thing that one should do, keeping in mind that wizards on this subject are in favor of rejecting the translations that are not done by the poet himself.

The Music

Hindustani classical music can be broadly divided into two categories. The one that follows a fixed course known as 'Dhrupad' and the other that is free to be adorned with the singer's imagination – known as 'Khayal'. Dhrupad is an example of Sangeet that emerged much earlier than Khayal. Students used to copy the songs from their Guru without any deviation and deliver them to their audience and also to their followers. This was when the concept of 'Guru-Sisya Parampara' had been conceived.

Rabindranath was exposed to Dhrupadi style of music from his very childhood. Maestros like Yadu Bhatta, Radhika Prasad Goswami and Gopeshwar Bandopadhyay were regular visitors at Jorasanko Thakurbari and Shantiniketan. Dhrupad, hence, came to him quite naturally. For the same reason one finds majority of his compositions to be based on dhrupad style. His lyrics are largely divided into four part pattern (Sthaayee, Antara, Sanchari and Abhog), that is a characteristic feature of dhrupad. Some of his compositions are based on various folk tunes of India or even other countries. In those songs too the four part pattern is identifiable.

He would always stress upon the mood contained in the lyric. In order to achieve the finest tuning between words and music at times he had deliberately deviated from the well known form of a raga or style. He was also tentative about the insertion of the names of the ragas above his songs. He had preferred the 'Expressionist Form Of Rabindra Sangeet' to blossom in its own distinctive style and become popular. In his own words the lyric is like 'Man' (Purush) and its tune is the 'Nature' (Prakriti). Imbalance between them renders the whole music incomplete, as they are inseparable as ever. Each and every corner of his vast volume of compositions bears the delicate touch so that the lyric is emphasized just as they would deserve. Altering the tune continued until he was perfectly satisfied with the creation.

Debates took place with peoples like Dilip Kumar Roy, Dhurjati Prasad Mukhopadhyay on whether the poet should allow the singers to experiment with the tunes and let them deliver the way they think to be the best. Each time he would object and deny freedom to the singers, revealing that it was the composer's duty to alter the tune. He had once written in a letter that if research work is to be conducted – why Rabindra Sangeet – it can be merrily done upon one's own lyric.

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