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Flute Symposium - Demonstration, Discussion on Evolution of Flute

“The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers” – Roy Ayers

This quote envelopes the very essence of the recently held ‘Flute Symposium’

The objective of the Flute Symposium, a brainchild of Vivek Sonar, was a discussion and demonstration of the evolution of the ‘Bansuri’, between maestros. Their collective experience as practitioners of the Flute brought out various points of view, thus enriching the viewers, mostly, knowledge seekers.

The discussions covered during this symposium touched upon various aspects.

The different styles of playing the Flute: The term ‘Style’ may be used when there are followers, and when something has withstood the winds of time. Although predominantly a folk instrument, it is believed that artistes may have experimented playing classical music too on the Flute. In the late 19th century the Carnatic flute started making its foray into the realms of classical music. Some documentation reveals that Vidwan Sharad Shastri of the Carnatic style was responsible for introducing the flute as a solo instrument.

Post 1935, in the space of Hindustani Classical Music, Pt. Pannalal Ghosh ji gave the Flute a new form. The small and sleek instrument now became a larger version of itself, by adding base to it. He gave it a scale and made it an instrument that could now find a place in classical music. The sounds emanating from it were pleasant and the ‘gayaki ang’ (vocal style) could be adapted to it.

The ‘Bansuri’ continues to evolve. While Pannababu initiated this movement, the Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia style continues to be one of the most followed one. His in-depth study of the ‘Bansuri’ has led him to explore it to its maximum potential, thus inspiring other practitioners also to go beyond the ‘known’.

The Flute Symposium discussed all these wonderful trivia. Going forward, a demonstration of the fingering style, different playing techniques like ‘meend’, ‘murkhi’, ‘gamakam’, ‘birka’ and other techniques from both, Carnatic and Hindustani styles, were also discussed.

This symposium also brought out the beautiful symbiotic nature of music. It is said that both, Carnatic and Hindustani musicians have adopted a few nuances of playing from one another, thus enriching their own style. The discussions also touched upon the role of the Flute in not only classical music, but also light classical, fusion and film music.

While most people dream, it is commendable that Vivek Sonar ji had the vision to make this Flute Symposium a reality. With an online viewership of over 15,000 eyeballs within 24 hours, he hopes this platform would provide enough material for learners, knowledge seekers, critics and also research scholars.

The discussions were led by the legend Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji, while Pt. Nityanand Haldipur ji, Vidwan Thiagarajan Ramani ji, Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Vidwan Shashank Subramanyam shared their views and experiences. The webinar was hosted by Vivek Sonar.

As we move ahead on this journey, we’d like to leave you with some interesting trivia:
Pt Pannalal Ghosh ji had his first public performance in 1942, while Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji had his in 1953.

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