The classic tag to music, literary works, attire and so on originating in different regions of the country represents the refined tastes of a bygone generation. Classical music used to be music to their ears, classics among the literary works used to be their immortal possessions showing the world its own shame (as Oscar Wilde opined), classical attire used to be their uncompromising outlook on etiquette. Sage Narada, as narrated in the land’s epics or Saint Thyagaraja are doubtless the land’s unchallenged ambassadors of classical music leaving an indelible stamp on the minds of listeners, in addition to the valuable and enduring message guiding them in life’s journey. Scholars often are fascinated to say that music knows no boundaries of language or geographical regions. The idiom that a king is worshipped in his own territory and a scholar of eminence is worshipped everywhere can as well be applied to classical music. The sub-classification of the land’s classical music forms into Karnatak or Hindustani and globally as Western doesn’t seem to be a fair and comprehensive view on music, the classification tending to be divisive.
Names of persons, whether singers or those playing on various musical instruments who capture the minds of audiences, both in person and in absentia, continues to reveal all about the musical fare that listeners expected to be enthralled without ever getting disappointed anytime anywhere. M.S. Subbulakshmi, T. Chowdaiah and Bhimsen Joshi are classic examples of that genre.
While old-timers sought solace to their minds through classical music, the current scenario is to seek excitement by other forms of music such as light music, folk music, pop music and so on, with sound overshadowing both the lyrical content and finer sides to its quality. Thanks to cinema and television, unlike in times when these means of entertainment were yet to emerge, music is either impacting its appeal to the viewers-cum-listeners or attracting them towards its source. Further, the classical means of storing music in gramaphone records having yielded place to electronic devices such as magnetic tapes, compact discs, Digital Video Discs or Digital Versatile Discs, Pen drives and chips, musical experience can be had instantly without even an iota of physical strain.
In the backdrop of the foregoing preamble, one is prompted to talk about orchestras which are familiar to public of Mysuru. According to a report in a section of the Press, public response to orchestras, once a major source of entertainment has waned in recent years. Does that mean classical music is heading for a boom in days ahead?