January 08, 2010

The applause factor in Carnatic concerts

................................... by Sivapriya Krishnan


According to me a "chu chu" or an "ahaa", are something that comes from an extremely emotive frame of reference and a pure oneness with the artist on stage. This is so involuntary, when you can actually feel the creativity, beauty or the speciality of a phrase or a tala or any other musical dimension that the artist presents and totally empathise with his /her state of mind.

Yes, it may be disturbing , maybe it can be done more subtly. But then are we " mummified bundles" sitting and viewing the concert with a dead look on the face? Art is all about life, joy, mirth and happiness and we may all have seen that the artist who presents his art with passion and joy alone can produce sustainable art.

As for the applause ,this is becoming more of a contrived nuisance both from the audience and the attention seeking artist on stage. Piled up neraval phrases, super loaded swara prastharas, holding onto a note for a long time , are some of the things that the audience will instantly clap, as though programmed.

Sometimes it might be a very simple thing and the audience here is ready to put their hands together, leaving even the artist bemused. But when the applause comes for something really befitting , then it is welcome and the artist also gets immensely enthused by it.

An applause that comes between the anupallavi and charanam, is the most irritating, as though the audience can't wait for the artist to finish!! It also spoils the trend of thought and feel of the concert.

I have also observed that the audience not clapping for an unknown newcomer or youngster on stage, even if he/ she is playing an excellently classical or weighty stuff. Whereas for a popular face young or old or senior, the applause comes in roaring fits even if fare was average ! It is as though you will be out of league if you didn't clap.
What is so wrong in applauding a youngster and encouraging him/her if its really good?

Applauses become "goshti gaanam" with everybody clapping in congregation for songs, like Kurai ondrum illai, Vishamakara kanna, Maadumeikkum kaaNa, Brhamamokatte !!!

Standing ovation in the portals of the Music Academy, is becoming something of a modern fashion and trend. One is not sure of the intent. It could be that the audience could even be stretching their tight muscles, before taking the next step. !!!

If it were really truly extended, well and good, but again if it is done customarily like standing in attention for the National Anthem, then it becomes meaningless.

It would not be too late, before some award were to be instituted for the "biggest applauding rasika" or the " most applauded concert " of the season !!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ regarding tha applause. You can always make out whther eit was spontaneous or just a formality as they clap at the end of every piece.samething goes for standing ovation. Even an eminent musician is not getting standing ovation for all his concerts. On teh other hand if it is just a formality it should be avouided,.. Like the chu chu and aahaa it could be spontsnaeious and could not be je helped.