Thursday, April 12, 2012

TAGORE AND HIS MUSIC

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Rabindranath Tagore is Indias greatest modern poet. He was the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 11 for Gitanjali, a collection of poems where he put his thoughts with imagination, deeply religious emotion and love of nature and his homeland. He was a great educator and philosopher as well as a major dramatist and novelist. His poems captured the heart of his native Bengal, and all of India; and when he traveled to the West, his acceptance as one of the finest writers of the world was immediate and overwhelming. Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats and Romain Rolland recognized him as their colleague in the shaping of literature in the modern world. He was a friend of Einstein and was admired for his ingenuity.


Tagore was born in Bengal in May, 1861 in a high class, zamindar family. His father Debendranath Tagore was a prominent philosopher at that time. As a child, he lived a quiet protected life and was even educated at home. He began to write poetry as a child; his first book appeared when he was just 17 years old. After a brief stay in England to study law, he returned to Bengal, where he rapidly became the most important and popular author of the colonial era, writing poetry, short stories, novels, and plays. He composed several hundreds popular songs, which became later to be called as Rabindra-Sangeet. In 1888, at the age of 7, he was asked by his father to take charge of the estate in Shilaidaho, Kushtia, Bangladesh. He not only fell in love with the nature and the river Padma in Shilaidaho, but lived there permanently from 181-101 and wrote many of his great writings.


He established a school, Shantiniketan in 101 to teach a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies, which expanded into an international university, known as Visva-Bharati. His talent was not only confined within writings but began painting in 1.


Tagore wrote primarily in Bengali. He was knighted by the British king George V. Tagore renounced his knighthood in 11 following the unfortunate Jalianwala bagh massacre in Amritsar.


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Tagore wrote the national anthems of both Bangladesh and India. His writings, songs and novels still influence the Bengali culture in every stage of life, even after so many years. He died in 141.


His poems have lived, through the whole of the twentieth century, as songs. Known as Rabindra Sangeet, these songs are central to the warp and woof of the texture of life in Bengal; they are learned in classrooms, heard on the radio, sung at family gatherings, and sung quietly to oneself as Bengalis work and walk and move through the course of their lives. His songs which continue to mesmerize till this day, reflect perfect fusion of words with melody





Rabindra Sangeet


As has been told before the songs written and tuned by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore comprise Rabindra Sangeet. In English they are known as Tagore songs. It is a music that can be felt, that awakens the spirit of strength in man that empowers his desire to survive against all odds. It is a music, which remains unseen yet spreads a fragrance that is immaculate and all encompassing.


These songs are central to the warp and woof of the texture of life in Bengal they are learned in classrooms, heard on the radio, sung at family gatherings, and sung quietly to oneself as Bengalis work and walk and move through the course of their lives.


Rabindra-sangeet embodies a breathtaking fusion of musicianship and poetic genius of Gurudev. Such was the impact of this creation, that it not only withstood the test of time for more than a century, but also secured a unique place for itself in the subcontinents musical culture. It incorporates so many different ‘ragas’. Each of them have their own temper and brilliance. Tagore composed in ‘bhairavi’, ‘sohini’, ‘purabi’ and ‘bhopali’. It is a music which is a sea of melody.


To the world, Rabindranath Tagores recognition was admitted through his poetic brilliance. His reputation as a music composer occurred at a later time. From his early days, the musical genius


in him had not only mingled with his poetic brilliance, but had great influence on his personality also,


Tagore said My poems without their melodies are like butterflies without their wings. The poem and the tune interweave each other in his song. According to him the Music is always to interpret the poetry. His music perfectly succeeds in this confluence. Where ends the pursuit of words, there commences the invocations, the extension of tune, the music. It is a delightful equilibrium and once tasted it remains consistent in the listener’s mind.


The variety in Tagore songs is astonishing. While a large number of his songs were based on Indian classical music, he also did a lot of experiments with western tunes. Likewise his many songs are based on our devotional tunes and folk tunes. Tagore himself believed that among all his creations, his songs will be ever lasting. His music reels in romance with nature. His music has no restriction, no domain. It is free and it extends the feeling of beauty and joy beyond the limits of verses to the expanse of universe.


Gurudev himself called his music an incorporation of the magical mystery of creation, a light that seeps through darkness and the deeply profound nectar of love. What makes Rabindra Sangeet


stand apart is its utter simplicity. Gurudev’s lyrics and melody have always held a simplicity that breaks barriers among all classes of men and women and thus remain entrenched in memory. It is a musical form where the creator was never to be seen with any musical accompaniment or instrument. Today however the harmonium is a familiar accompaniment to Rabindrasangeet.


Many of his songs were written on the ‘dawn’. It symbolized a new beginning and end of the ‘old’. It thus brought about a feeling of happiness. Just like the ‘dawn’, even the darkness of the night made its way into an unforgettable song as in ‘Yamini Pahaile’.


Tagore’s music incorporated Buddhist philosophy for he was tremendously influenced by Gautam Buddha and his teachings. So his music speaks of kindness and sympathy, of love of humanity and of tenderness towards man and animal.





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