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music 300x225 The Musical Gene


By Sunil Kumar

Is music intrinsically related to genes? Like all scientific mysteries, and the rest of the world’s obnoxious theories, we shall never know. But, an interesting and sexist fact. Males produce ten times more music than women.

We have had music since the dawn of time. Notice any important ritual in any religion anywhere in the world. The hills, the houses, the mountains, the lakes, the trees and everything else is alive with the sound of music.

In my existence on the planet, I have read countless times that music is somehow related to the right brain. As if some creative love always manifests itself everywhere but particularly in some strange part of our cerebral cortex.

We have never really achieved enlightenment. Most of us, including some saints, probably were in some self-created delusion. In this column and the next, I will try to make some sense of music, its impact and what the world is.

Classical music in our country is a strange eclectic mixture of sorts. Carnatic and Hindustani are ancient and rich traditions with a timbre, ideas and a vocabulary richer than anywhere else in the world.

The great sitar player Ravi Shankar was among the pioneering exponents of our traditions to the wider world. It is strange that in our country and most now, acceptance of local ideas has to be first routed through the wider world. Undoubtedly, ancient insular societies were more stratified and self-contained, often referring to the outsider as a barbarous entity, and so some rules remained unchanged for centuries.

The world today is sort of similar but very different in a lot of ways. I know, for instance, that the original inhabitants of Australia, the aborigines played the didgeridoo, or that every local tradition had its own vocabulary.

Music is somewhat strange, a creative juxtaposition, an opening of the senses. Or as a rock poet put it, the opening of the doors of perception, deep and wide. What is there on the other side still remains a mystery.

Every day may be a winding road, or we may be listening to why this world is “Kolaveri Di” but music is an unchanging, uncharted emotional hinterland. More later.



 The Musical Gene
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