Warning: The following post may not make sense if you cannot immediately recognize that the Hungarian minor scale is really just Keeravani wearing a bowler hat.
Somewhere in the place we call the “past”, two subspecies of the branch Homo Sapiens Madrasicus split. The evolutionary difference between them had to do with music, and the intervening years have, rather unfairly, kept these two groups more apart than necessary. I am talking about the two kinds of music that caused this schism in the first place. Interestingly enough, both genres contain the word “Classic” in the adjectives used to describe them.
1. “Classical” music, a.k.a Carnatic music a.k.a Raga and Rule
2. “Classic” rock, a.k.a 1970s music a.k.a Rock and Roll
Since I enjoy both genres immensely, I feel rather strange that I don’t have much company (with the exception of him, perhaps). If one were to draw a Venn diagram of this situation, A (ulta U) B would not just be tending to zero, but sprinting towards it in all earnest. In other words, the union of both of these sets seems to have resulted in divorce without any marriage counseling. Therefore, this post seeks to make the first moves in reconciling fans of “Nagumomu” with the fans of “Smoke on the Water”.
And talking of those 2 songs, here is a typical conversation between 2 folks, KD Gandhari and Vaadaamalli, who find themselves sitting next to each other on 47A from Besant Nagar to ICF.
KDG: You know that feeling when you go to a concert, and you wait 2+ hours for your favourite song, and they don’t sing it?
VM: Oh yes, I do. It’s happened to me many times. It feels like eating a Mirchi bajji and being informed that there is only boiling hot water available to drink. Not a good feeling at all.
KDG: I mean, for example, this song, one of my all-time favourites, is such a global hit, that not performing it at a concert completely defies explanation
VM: I fully empathize. It happens pretty frequently with my favourite song as well. Huge hit, and yet, all to frequently ignored in the playlist.
KDG: I love this song sooo much. The beauty of the minor pentatonic with the descending full scale..hmm..delectable
VM: Yeah. I can just feel the harmony. Roger was at his best.
KDG: Agree. Roger must have known right away that he was composing one for the ages.
VM: Yes. Totally unforgettable tune, that one.
KDG: Amen to that.
VM: Totally. The lake must have been such as inspiration
KDG: You mean the river
VM: No. Lake.
KDG: Why do I get the feeling that we are not talking about the same song?
VM: Yes. This sudden cognitive dissonance involving the type of water body is rather jarring. Like C and F# being played together all of a sudden.
KDG: I am referring to the river Cauvery
VM: And I, Lake Geneva
KDG: Aaaaaaaaaaaah. I’ve been talking to an insufferable classic rock fan
VM: Aaaaaaaaaaah, I’ve been wasting my time on a pompous music academy peter party
(Cold silence ensues)
So that’s been the typical tone of conversation so far, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Classic Rockers and Classical Raagers can get along. On the face of it, both genres seem about as far from each other as Anu Malik and original compositions, but that’s just an illusion. There are many similarities between Classic Rock and Carnatic music.
For starters, both these genres have a strong live-performance-creativity element. One has Kalpana swaras and the other, extended Guitar leads and one has Thani avarthanams and the other, pounding drum solos. Carnatic music is about reaching the Higher Being, Classic Rock is about generally being high.
So, here we go: Tiago Roger’s Smokin’ lead
and Deep Purple plays Nagumomu