Fixed views not tenable

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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#1 Fixed views not tenable

Post by kvchellappa »

A fixed-universe view crumbled in philosophical variety of its logical construction, and in a purely physical model based on rigorous mathematics in early Twentieth century. That being so with what we believe to be solid and measurable, any view that is rigid and linked to certain norms that are at best consensual, cannot be tenable in art that is creation of human mind. Art fails to be art if it is a dumb reproduction of what everyone sees. Imagination is the key to art. We see in visual arts how the universe of the artist is his exclusive domain and it varies from artist to artist and time to time. Even in language, change decides its utility and longevity. Anything rigid has reached its end. Rigor mortis has set in!
In music where sound and how it is produced using a few defined but not quite fixed basic syllables is the key, the no-change rule does not seem plausible. It applies to the entire gamut. What decides is whether it is genuine music, something that pleases majestically. Everything is pivoted on producing imaginatively a concatenation of the basic syllables into a whole that comes alive, just as there are many ingredients variably used to produce life, still one has no real clue as to what life is. That inscrutability that is imbibed by some inner power is what drives art and especially music. Thus, all definitions of anything that parallels life without blindly imitating it are incomplete. An artist knows to produce it better than to reason it. A pedantic critic often knows to reason without really being able to produce. A knowledgeable critic appreciates a transgression or aberration, based on whether it altered the nature or enhanced it, not by grammar that was written when a new form was unknown.
We have had meaningful and educative discussions on various topics like whether sangatis are fixed, where neraval must be sung and whether it must have complete meaning, whether a word can be split straining its meaning, what ragas are fit for RTP, whether the pace of singing must be limited, and so on. For every view taken, there have been glorious and celebrated exceptions. An artist must concern himself with ‘his’ art and all genuine artists do that. We have a good crop and we have a veritable feast of both music and learned criticism.

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