Aesthetics of MUSIC
Two terminologies that are to be understood here are ‘aesthetics’ and ‘music’.
Let us go to the root of the word ‘aesthetics’ and not the connotations that it has accumulated over the centuries. The word aesthetics comes from the Greek word AISTHETIKOS meaning ‘sensitive’ which itself is from the word AISTHANESTHAI meaning ‘to apprehend by the senses’.
Now this leads us to know what are the senses? Due to lack of knowledge and for the sake of convenience we have classified them into 5 or 6 or seven at the maximum and have done a great damage by failing to appreciate the many senses that are there outside our classified and categorized ones and even those within these with subtle nuances and variations.
So greatest damage was done to aesthetics from the time it was made into a philosophical concept and trying to confine it within the parameters of logically definable and theoretically acceptable definitions of expressions of beauty, nature etc
So, at least when we talk of aesthetics of music let us put aside all existing definitions of aesthetics [which however well defined fall within the narrow spectrum of cultural and social conditioning].
Let us go back to the original meaning which says is it ‘apprehension by the senses’.
Here, as it involves music and for want of space let me confine to the senses of sound. I say senses because it is many in number and has evolved along with the organs of hearing based on utility and necessity to perceive sound waves and vibrations with different sensitivity ranges.
While the ears of fish, birds and man all evolved underwater and therefore had fluid transmitters of sound the bug ear had no fluid transmitters. To cut short the evolutions the human hear has the hearing range from 20 to 20000 vibrations a second with the maximum sensitivity at around 3000, which incidentally, is the pitch of a women’s scream!
So unfortunately these 20 to 20000 vibrations is the limitation of human sense of sound.
Whereas everything, either perceived through any or all the senses, as well as those unperceivable or remain unperceived by human beings is nothing but life energy in motion and therefore emits a sonic vibration/vibrations. That’s why our earth and all the planets and stars together are called UNI-VERSE, in Sanskrit it is known as EKASHYA KAVYAM. – A [one/single] divine song composed to music.
The planetary chimes cannot be heard by our naked ear as they are 20 octaves lower in pitch than the tones we know of. That’s why cockroaches and whales are able to sense the changes in the vibrations caused by difference in oscillation of earth just before actual earthquake occurs because they enjoy the music of the earth than we do.
So aesthetics of music is the apprehension of life energy through the senses of sound which is there in the whole universe outside us and inside us.
Osho has said once “we are different songs of the same singer, different gestures of the same dancer. Each being is song of God: unique, individual, incomparable, unrepeatable, but still coming from the same source. Each song has it own flavor, its own beauty, its own music, its own melody.”
So my acronymic description of Aesthetics of Music would be
Of all the
Connecting everything with life energy and vibrations.
Whereas all philosophical concepts reduce aesthetics to some form or other of expression of beauty and its perception based on cultural conditioning and accepted social practices and pressures.
The compositions of the trinity are imbued with the true aesthetics of music, as they are the products of BAKTHI or UNQUALIFIED DEVOTION. The word bakthi does not exclude anything. In fact even the word exclude cannot be translated into Sanskrit language that’s why it is known as sacred language as Swami Vivekananda said “I am proud to tell you that I belong to a religion in whose sacred language, Sanskrit, the word exclusion is untranslatable”.
Classical Carnatic music primarily through the compositions of the trinity with their Sahitya or Lyrics, Ragams or Modes and Talams or Rhythmic patterns are born out of Bakthi and therefore includes the subtle elements of all forms of life energy and therefore is imbued with aesthetics.