New Bollywood music

by 21cstories

How do we make sense of the new style of Bollywood songs and music?

The old music followed a standard format:

  • Mukhra (the main ‘idea’ of the melody)
  • Antara
  • Mukhra (just one line or more)
  • Antara (and so on)

Western rock/pop follows roughly this format (this is my own personal way of looking at it):

  1. Introduction (notes and opening verse)
  2. Base melody (the main ‘idea’, formally called ‘chorus’)
  3. Continuation…

The new Bollywood music follows and modifies the western model above:

  • Introduction (soft, melodious, high notes)
  • Filler music / a softened base melody / some kind of vocals
  • Continuation (sometimes with the base melody as the first line)

The base melody (main idea) of the Western format was a ‘problem’ – it did not gel well with Indian ears – coming too fast after the intro, and too strong. So something had to be done with it. The solution was found in various ways – softening it, using filler music in its place, making it the beginning of the ‘antara’ or omitting it altogether.

In short, the new music does not really have a head or tail. The ‘main idea’ or melody, which earlier used to be the top starting line of Indian music, and by which we could recall or recognize any song instantly, is weak and occurs at some other place. The result is sometimes a song with no main melody or idea. It sounds confusing and a hodge podge.

The good thing – lyricists now have a free flowing poetical format.

The tragedy – Song no 13 in the jukebox below actually has its main melody sung as – Yohohohoho!

If the old songs were like a simple ‘dal-roti’, the new songs are ‘bhel puri’ music. A bhel puri of emotions.