Vocal Music and Instrumental Music

Vocal Music and Instrumental Music

From the dawn of civilization and from the very beginning of time, Vocal and Instrumental Music have been an integral and inseparable part of civilized human life. Basically, music whether in vocal form or in instrumental form is a means of establishing communion for an individual with his Creator. Music, therefore, in any form is not only stylized, but also quite individualistic. At same time music is also one of the finest means of artistic communication with fellow human beings. It is a method by which man ennobles himself aesthetically and spiritually and also provides artistic entertainment to the listeners. When music is performed it at once involves the cultural and aesthetic elevation of not only the artist or performer, but also of the listeners, who are listening to the music.

Vocal music, from the very beginning of human civilization, has been the leader and the kingpin of all forms of music. Without doubt it has been the greatest single purveyor of the deeper artistic and musical urges of man and the means through which these urges have found artistic expression. As against vocal music, however, instrumental music is a derived form of music. Nevertheless, instrumental music is perhaps the finest extrapolation of the creative and inner urges of the artist and musical composer. In point of fact there is such a deep complimentary between vocal and instrumental music that it is impossible to visualize any musical performance without both of them existing together.

Like literature, music has also a language of its own and the notes produced whether in abstract melody or any composition has some message to convey or some mood to create. Speaking metaphorically, the notes and nuances of musical sounds which ultimately go to make musical picture or image can be compared to a painter’s brush and the colors that he uses in paining a sketch. The language of music, through different, is very largely common in both the presentation of abstract music, like raga alap or orchestral composition or even musical compositions having lyrical, poetic or art content. Instrumental music by contrast does not have any spoken words or verbal language. Still, however, it bears a much larger resemblance with vocal music in the sense that it can successfully portray not only abstract or melodic music consisting of musical notes and nuances presented in emotional and stylized form, but has also a language in which musical messages or feelings are sought to be conveyed. They keys of the piano, the breath of the shahnai, the plucking of the sitar and sarod and the percussion of tabla or mridang are not only the sounds of instrumental music but very largely constitute the language of instrumental music as it were. Instrumental music is presented in a highly abstract form and also in easily understandable and readily enjoyable fixed compositions.

In both instrumental music and vocal music there is a bewildering variety of musical forms in which such music is presented. There are not only a large variety of musical instruments, but also different categories corresponding to the octaves and types of male and female voice. In vocal music, for instance, we have the form of abstract alap, dhrupa music, kheyal music, tappa music, thumri music, devotional music, regional music a wide-ranging variety of folk music and so on and so forth. In instrumental music also there are similar variations and if we construe even the main musical instruments of India, we have formidable number of musical forms, compositions and styles.

It is widely known that rhythm is an integral and inseparable part of music not only in the highly stylized abstract form of melody music but also in the faster movements of abstract music, let alone the musical compositions as such. In fact, rhythm is a part of nature and in especially noticeable in almost all the creations of nature starting with plants, flowers, water, and wind and most conspicuously in the majestic and measured movements of various species of the animal kingdom. Who can deny that the gay strutting and preening of the peacock, the meandering movements of rivers and snakes, the sounds of the birds and animals and the majestic and artistic beauty of the movements of the animals have not inspired the composers of various forms of music.

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