Friday, June 10, 2016

The flute as philosopher

(This time, we shall listen to the sound of flute in Hindi songs. It's markedly different from the sound in western classical.)

Listen to the flute in this song. It's used sparingly, yet presents the pathos of the man struggling for love. The flute is the man itself. The other instruments bring out the high ended grief, the restlessness. Until keeping all that aside, the man decides to say another stanza, and it's the flute that leads him to it. (Listen to the flute parts. This is considered a landmark song in Indian films. Else, you can jump to the flute parts at 0:48 2:11 3:36 and the strains during the last line of every stanza, like at 1:29)


Another instance where 'the flute is the man' is evident in the song 'wahan kaun hai tera'. (Video below. Note the timings) Here's an example. The singer says:
(simply press play; the first line you listen to is what's mentioned below.)

'Learned people say' - the flute agrees. Raises your anticipation. It's one with the singer. They are telling you the philosophy together. Which is in the next line that follows immediately...

'The world is a mirage' - the flute not only agrees but also comments. The revelation has been made. The notes going lower is the flute's humility of the revelation, it's acceptance.

Finally, go to 4:07.

Here, the flute is playful when the singer says: 'Nothing is yours nothing is mine' - the flute guffaws, or teases, or conveys to you that this was the secret of life all along.

The composer of both the songs is S D Burman. He uses the flute excellently. To see how he has used a different sound of the flute, here is one final song. (the flute sound here should remind you of the whistle of the ship).


(Song translation courtesy)

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