...just as the Hindi film music has made a transition from being melody-based to becoming rhythm-based, Hindustani classical music too is slowly following suit. In the process, the centuries-old equation and relationship between the main performer and his percussion accompanist is getting warped. In the bygone era, accompanists on tabla, sarangi, violin or harmonium used to sit on the concert stage in a way so that they did not directly face the audience but facing the main performer. This arrangement gave primacy to the main artiste and enabled the accompanists to take the cue from him or her. Today, most tabla players face the audiences. They want to be treated at par with the main performer. It is not at all unusual to see listeners sitting with deadpan faces while a sitar or sarod player is probing the depths of a ragain the alap-jodjhalasection and breaking into an uproarious applause the moment the tabla accompanist starts playing.Fascinating. Who are the headline collaborative pianists that would influence your decision to attend a concert?
On most occasions, it is the tabla player who receives more appreciation and applause from the audiences whenever the main artiste repeats the melodic line and allows the accompanist to play solo sequences. As vocalist or instrumentalist want to attract as big an audience as possible, they too go along with this so that the concert becomes 'successful'.
Friday, April 01, 2011
Just as collaborative pianists are beginning to achieve increased prominence in North American and Europe, the same thing is happening with tabla accompanists in Indian classical music, with an unintended change to the power dynamic between soloist and accompanist. Take a look at this excerpt from an editorial by Kuldeep Kumar in the Times of India: