Monday, 23 June 2014

Performing Arts: Music, Dance and Drama

India is a land of rich culture and heritage. Since the beginning of our civilization, music,
dance and drama have been an integral aspect of our culture. Initially, these art forms were used as medium of propagation for religion and social reforms in which music and dance were incorporated to gain popularity. From the Vedic era to the medieval period, the performing arts remained an important source of educating the masses. 

Performing arts may include primary forms, such as dance, music, opera, theatre and musical theatre, and secondary forms  Magic, mime, , recitation and public speaking. Artists who participate in performing arts in front of an audience are called performers, including actors, comedians, dancers, magicians, musicians, and singers. Performers often adapt their appearance, such as with costumes and stage makeup, etc.
The performing arts refer to the forms of art where an artist uses his own face, body and presence. The major types of performing arts include music, opera, dance, drama, and spoken words.
Opera is a form of performing arts wherein musicians and singers perform a dramatic work that combines text, which is called the libretto and musical score. This form of art is a popular part of the Western classical music tradition. The art incorporates a lot of elements of spoken theatre, including scenery, acting and costumes. Sometimes it also includes dance. The performance in an Opera is usually done in an opera house. It is also accompanied by either a musical ensemble or an orchestra. Opera originated in Italy by the 16th century and it soon spread to the rest of Europe as it gains popularity. Various musicians in Europe developed a lot of ways in flourishing this form of art and made it even more popular.

Dance is a form of performing arts that refers to the art of moving the body rhythmically and usually in accordance to music. It is used as a form of social interaction and expression, or it is commonly presented in a performance or spiritual setting. It is also seen as a form of nonverbal communication, a type of communication where words are not used. Definitions of what dance is really all about usually varies in each culture, society or person.
It  involves the usage of the human body kinetics and flexibility and  also physics.

What is art? “Art is an expression of all characteristics of the human mind aesthetically”.
These characteristics, i.e. the varied human emotions, are known as ‘RAS’.
In Hindi, ‘ras’literally means a sugary juice. It signifies the ultimate satisfaction of ‘aanand’. Human emotionscan be categorized into nine sub-headings or ‘navras’. They are:
1. Hasya — laughter
2. Bhayanak — evil Shringar — aesthetics
3. Rudra — chivalrous
4. Karun — pathos
5. Vir — courage
6. Adbhut — astonishing
7. Vibhatsa — terrifying glory
8. Shaanti — peace
9. Shringaar — decorating one’s self
Art reflects human emotions and human beings spontaneously express their frame of mind through various art forms. Thus the intellectual mind merges with the artistic streak, giving birth to art. The expression is reflected in various styles like singing, dancing, drawing,Sketching, painting, sculpture are visual arts.

Singing, dancing, acting are attributes of performing arts. Music has been the most popular art form of India. They are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ne The earliest tradition of Indian music may be traced to Sama Veda which contained the slokas that were put to music. 

The earliest text  Bharata’s Natyashashtra (compiled between second century BC and second century AD) is dealing exclusively the Performing arts.. A  variety of string and wind instruments were invented over the period of time. In ancient texts references have been made to flutes, drums, veena, and cymbals. The Gupta monarch Samudra Gupta was himself an accompolished musician. In some of his coins, he is shown playing on the Veena. Music was also associated with the worship of Gods and Goddess in the temples. In the twelfth century, Jayadeva of Orissa produced the most brilliant raga kavya, the Gita Govinda, each song of which was set in a raga and was composed on the theme of love of Radha and Krishna.

Tamil music has a number of terms and concepts parallel to what is found in Sanskrit texts. The Saivite Nayanars and Vaishnavite Alvars too set their psalms (poems) to music. Similarly in the medieval period the Sufi and Bhakti saints encouraged music. The Mughal rulers were great patrons of music. According to Lanepoole- “Babar himself was fond of music. He is supposed to have developed some very popular musical style forms like Qawalis, Khayal, etc. Humayun was said to have illustrated Indian texts on
music. Akbar composed songs and encouraged musicians. Swami Haridas and his disciples composed many songs in different tunes. Pundarika Vittal was a great scholar of music who wrote the famous Ragamala. Hindustani Music was also enriched by devotional songs sung by Mira Bai, Tulsidas and Surdas.