Nature in melody
Violin is popular
in Indian music. The instrument is also taught as an independent
subject at various universities, reports Hemant
A number of foreign music composers are working with Indian violinists and developing sonorous European melodies
very reference to music generates a feeling of rare happiness in
our hearts. This sweet sensation reminds us of the rise and fall
of sea waves, flow of winds, chirping of birds, murmuring rivers
and rustling waterfalls. We observe the same rhythm and melody
in every object of nature.
an essential part of music, without which both song and dance
remain incomplete. From time immemorial, instruments have been
an integral part of music.
Violin is a highly
popular instrument in Indian music, whether it is Hindustani or
Karnatic style. Learned music scholars have established the
truth that violin is basically an Indian musical instrument. It
is more and more used in classical, semi-classical, orchestra,
folk and film music. Today, violin is taught as an independent
subject at Benaras and Kheda Universities. Similarly, at school
and college musical symposia, stage performance, contests and
functions, violin players enchant the audience.
introduced through the South Indian music in the country.
According to Narayan V. Pandit, violin was first observed in the
court of the South Indian state of Tangavur. Later, the king of
Tranvancore, Swati Tiroonal, imported three violins from Europe,
and commanded his three competent musicians to practice and
master this instrument. With the passage of time, Balaswami
Deekshiter (1786-1858) came under the impact of the European
violinists of Tangavur.
with Vadivelu (1810-1897) made several experiments with violin
and introduced it in the Karnatic music system. Moreover, P.
Sombpurti differs with this observation. He contends that violin
as a musical instrument was in vogue in the South Indian music
even before the 18th century. Whatever the arguments,
there is no denying the truth that violin was properly
introduced in Indian music by Balaswami Deekshiter, and he can
well be considered its founding-father in the South Indian music
In the recent 20th
century, Govindswami Pillai and Kamal Krishna Aiyyar have made
novel experiments and have firmly established violin in the
Karnatic music. It is violin that holds the most prominent
position among all the South Indian musical instruments. It is
heard everywhere. Some of the South Indian violinists like Dr S.
Balamulkrishan, L. Shankar, L.Vaidyanath, Dr L Subramanyam, Sri
Ganesh, T.N.Krishanal and many others have won worldwide
Violin had a late
start in North India. It travelled from Bombay, Madras and
Kolkata and reached North India only in the 20th
century. Prominent North Indian violinist such as Gagan Chandra
Chatterjee, Ustad Allaudin Khan, Pt Gajanan Rao Joshi and
V.G.Jog are the illustrious stars of violin music in North
India. Actually, the entire credit to popularise violin is North
India goes to Vishnu Digamber Pulaskar. Ustad Allauddin Khan
started learning violin in 1911 and he made successful
experiments in combining the Indian and European style of violin
Today violin is
often used as an accompanist instrument in alliance with khyal
gayaki. Gagan Babu of Allahabad is considered a past master
in the gat style. M. Rajam and Kala Ramnath are
considered chief exponents of the Hindustani violin recital.
Whereas one notices the impact of Omkar Nath Thakur on the
violin recital of M.Rajam, Pt Jasraj seems to be an inspiration
for Kala Ramnath.
After the era of
the dumb movies, it was in 1935 that Bombay Talkies produced the
film Jeevan Naiya, where famous violinist S.N. Tripathi
introduced most musical notes in the film. Later, Husnlal
brought out a violin revolution in the Indian film industry
between 1943 and 1960. Today a good number of foreign music
composers are working with Indian violinists and developing
sonorous European melodies.
Violin is widely
used in ghazal recitals of Jagjit Singh and Deepak Pandit.
The history of violin jugalbandi can be traced from the
times of Ustad Allaudin Khan. He experimented it with his famous
disciple, Pt Ravi Shanker (sitarist). Similarly, V.G.Jog and the
great shehnai artiste Bismillah Khan enthralled the audience
with their jugalbandis.
The writer is a
lecturer in music, S. A. Jain College, Ambala City