Monday, May 22, 2017

HOW MIT & Raga Sputa Method can rescue the traditional Asian Music,
& the ‘modernization without westernization’ in the Asian music domain?  

“The Agra Gharana, one of the major streams of Hindustani classical music, is on the verge of extinction in the place of its birth. There are few patrons and the number of practitioners of this great musical tradition is dwindling.”(  )

Hindustani classical music was growing with rich variety of gharanas; each gharana following its own unique traditional mode of musical training and education. ( ) Like the Agra Gharana, all gharanas are experiencing the threat of extinction, due to the ‘musical tsunami’ dominated by western pop music, as stated below.

"The young ones are veering towards pop musical streams which are neither soul satisfying nor soothing to the senses."- Jitendra Raghvanshi, national secretary of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA)

The south Indian classical music, known as ‘Carnatic Music’ had experienced worse consequences, by the replacement of ‘tampoora’ by the modern ‘electronic shruti box’ . (‘Pitch Problems in Indian Classical Music’ ; )

Like the Indian classical music, the Chinese classical music also face the threat of extinction, as the following news suggest.

“  the onslaught of modernisation and westernisation in Chinese culture over the last century has been a powerful one. As the most potent symbol of the classical musical tradition, the guqin has suffered badly.” ( )

In the light of the above frightening scenario, I found the following, as an encouraging development.

“Sonic Orders in ASEAN Musics”(2003)  - a field-to-lab ethnomusicology project that has produced two book volumes and 10 CDs providing a current over-view of what remains of the audioscapes in Southeast Asia.” ;  &

Probably the above project is a music related evidence for South-east Asia’s traditional role of being a bridge between Chinese and Indian civilisations. (

Following the above lead involving the application of MIT ( Music Information Technology), let me brief as how MIT & Raga Sputa Method can rescue the traditional Asian Music; apart from opening a gateway for new opportunities to dominate the world music education and entertainment market.

The convergence of music and computing technologies has increased the creative possibilities and potential for innovative and diverse new music and media. ( )

had increased the potential of rescuing the Asian classical music from the probable extinction.

Also the ancient Indian music composing technique called ‘Raga Sputa Method’, first discovered by the late Abraham Pandithar ( );

and the refinement of the above method through my research ;

would enhance the above rescue operation, by the application of MIT. 

In fact MIT in association with the refined ‘Raga Sputa Method’ is heralding a revolutionary transformation in  the music education and composing; replacing the western domination by the Asian domination, in the world music education and entertainment market.

The present text-to-speech, speech-to-text, etc applications of NLP (Natural Language Processing), were based on the convergence of linguistics and computing technology. My application of ‘Physics of Music’ to the ancient texts of Tamil & Sanskrit, had discovered ‘Musical Linguistics’; with the scope for developing lyrics-to-music, refining the lyrics-to-music, etc applications. I shall not be surprised if the above research encompassing ancient Chinese texts, revealing more to extend the scope, for developing new applications, catering to the emerging ‘new needs’ of the world market.

When I introduced ‘Music Information Technology’ as a subject to the engineering students as common elective subject to all disciplines (National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India), I never imagined that it would lead to validating a new music teaching methodology, helping my students, most of them music illiterates, to learn western music scales, Carnatic melakartha raga system, and the conversion of western melody into Carnatic notation & vice versa, composing the music in their laptop, using the mouse.

In fact, I had advised my students to explore the option to undertake the above rescue operation, as funded projects, after the completion of their studies, promising to share my expertise in their projects.

In fact with MIT knowledge, music composers will become a kind of music architects. Any music architect, by studying the new music taste, can design even a new musical form to build a music architecture employing the music building materials in the way the great composers used them or in a new improvised method. 

Also China’s success in  ‘modernization without westernization’ ( );

Seems to be not reflecting in the domain of Chinese Music. ( ).

The following from the ancient Tamil text may provide the key to ‘modernization without westernization’in the music domain.

paNivuil chIr
mAththirai inRi  nhatakkumEl, vAzhum Ur
kOththiram kURappatum”.-  nhAlatiyAr 25:2

 பணிவு இல் சீர்
 மாத்திரை இன்றி நடக்குமேல், வாழும் ஊர்
 கோத்திரம் கூறப்படும். "
  நாலடியார் 25:2

“ the history of a city and the history of music of the city are intertwined. The growth and decay of a city will be reflected in the music of that city. Also the emerging trends in music may reveal the emerging history of that city. Hence the study of music history includes the musicological details which are related to the changes in the history of the place. Probably this could be extended to study an individual. The music skills, likes and dislikes in music taste of a person may reveal the characteristic of the person. The history of a city is not only the history of the people in the city, but also the history of the music of the people in the city.” ( )

From the above discussion, it is clear that MIT in association with ‘Raga Sputa Method’ can rescue not only the traditional Asian Music, but also may contribute to the ‘modernization without westernization’ in the Asian music domain. 

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