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Trends for the 1990s

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The Economic Times, January 14, 1990

While the last two decades were largely dominated by the instrumentalists, the 1990s will see the return of the vocalists to the Hindustani classical music scene. Young and gifted artistes such as Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, Milind Chattal and Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar will make their presence felt.

But the coming decade could well witness redical changes to both performing patterns of musicians and audience preferences.

The easy availability of the best in home-listing equipment – and constraints of time – have already begun to erode the repertoire of the artiste at a live concert. Concerts are now of shorter duration, signalling the end of age-old mehfil tradition of music through the night. Consequently, wheter it is the tal, the thumri or any other from of Indian classical music, the duration of its presentation will also shrink. Attempts to do something different ‘will continue with renewed vigour – whether directed towards achieving a kind of fusion’ of traditional music and other performing and plastic arts, or toward a synthesis of the musical systems of the East and the West.

Inevitably, many of today’s reigning masters of Hindustani and Carnatic music will not be on the scene tomorrow. And this may prove disastrous in certain areas of music where there is almost no one around to pick up the mantle. Already, an alarming number of instruments, like the Veena, the Pakhavaj, and the Sarangi, to name a few, are tottering on the brink of extinction. This is also true of the singing genres like dhrupad and dhaman. Gharanas too may lose their relevance, and may even be totally wiped out of the bio-data of the future masters, whose music will be basically acelectic and character.

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