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A complete dissection of the song Aamar Bela Je Jaay. Serene alliance between melody and lyric.
A column, titled Aamar Bela Je Jaay - A critical analysis, written by Anjan Ganguly on 13.08.2017.
Published on 13th August, 2017.
Rabindranath considered this song as an important one as he placed it among the first few songs in his entire collection 'Geetabitan'. Parjaay: 'Puja' (Divine) and upa-parjaay: 'Gaan' (Songs). Penned in the year 1919 at the age of fifty nine.
This is a piece of elegance that has once again thematised Harmony with an additional inclusion of an Omnipotent Entity to grace the song. An exclusive coordination is a must for the various systems of the world to be functioning. Or else sustenance would not have been possible. Right from the rise and setting of the sun, birth and death within the living world, love, affection, jealousy, hatred, the smile, the tears, every earthly feature, whether humane or natural, seems like bound by a cohesive force. As if everything is being controlled by an invisible hand. A musical orchestra is only a feature comparable to this enormous synchronization.
The conductor of this grand orchestra is the omnipotent entity, who holds the flute in his hand. The sound of flute spreads across the entire creation and it plays the lead part, while others are merely followers. The poet, being a very ordinary member, expresses his inept ability to follow the tune and his contemplation for the daylong endeavor in doing so. At the end he finds that the whole day has been simply frittered away in pursuit of the tune.
Rest of the members in the orchestra are provided with modest instruments having limited scope for vibrant and lively production. In fact, instruments like an 'Ektaara', having only a single string without any provision for changing its pitch, has been used by the poet as a symbol. The feeble string of the droning instrument is the life-line of an individual - trifling in significance in comparison with the entirety of the grand orchestra under way. Its effect is restricted within a very short range and short-lived as well. Moreover, it is susceptible to snapping and in that case the journey of an individual, a member is terminated. Defeat in this game of exceptional coordination is inevitable.
The guiding baritone flute-sound traverses a long distance and it is penetrating. It is obvious, irrefutable and on the other hand it's gliding consonance causing ample delight. Rabindranath uses this symbol to point at a command that is easy to understand yet profound. Despite this synergism is the universal motivation the poet is skeptic if an unanimous participation is at all possible. Discordant attitude that is reflected by a section of the entire population is, in fact, the cause of considerable amount of deterrence in the world. In any case he expresses his firm opinion that it is this harmony which constitutes the cardinal ocean.
The statement is opened at dhaivat and quickly reaches to upper shadaja creating a kind of tension from the beginning of the song. Movements of a Baul song follows which reveals that the entire song is confined within the upper half of the middle octave.
I think one more probable reason for such a high pitch for the song must be its subject. An indication for the arduous task to follow the sublime music was much needed. Noticeable is the tune selected for the phrase 'Ektaaratir ekti taare gaaner bedon boite naare', where a purely complaining mood is found. The only string of the ektaara has been highlighted by the composite ga-ma-pa in the higher octave.
The pain is readily felt for the expression 'bedon', as it touches Komal gandhar. The note of acceptance reveals when he declares the inevitable defeat.
Sanchari section starts with a completely different note where elaboration is made for the limitations of the resources. Yes, the string of the small instrument is capable of producing sounds that do not travel distances; hence its expressions too are shallow. Due importance is given to the word 'kaachher' and the notes ni - Dha ni -Sa sends to undergo a kind of infusion instead of hammering the notes one after another. In order to indicate that the context is yet to be finished the end of the phrase 'kaachher sure' is elevated by a little amount. Thus intonation is very common even while talking - we elevate the pitch at the end of a sentence to mean there is a little more. In the next line of the sanchari continues with the context saying - on the contrary the flute that is being played from the distance is penetrating and reaches to each individual. How effectively the two expressions having conflicting essence are connected with simply a small elevation of the pitch at the end of the first sentence.
The next section, I do not know whether it would be right to name it 'Abhog', is in fact, a continuation of the previous section. Questions are asked here in succession. It is not like placing queries to someone else but himself. The questions are interrelated, hence punctuative complications are avoided. The tune too is kept as smooth as possible without any repetitions whatsoever. At the end the poet's efficacy of putting the same phrase in question that was being used as a clear declaration is spell-bounding. The phrase 'Tomar sure sure sur melate' is used to mark the end of the verse.
The tune of the song is simple with catchy rhythm. Hence, popularity is an immediate result. Although, it has some disadvantages too. Singers, not conversant with the tradition of Rabindra Sangeet are often adventurous and tempted to follow exceptionally fast tempo and try to impose pounding effect on the words. People like impulsive applications of the words but it certainly compromises the delicacy of the lyric in a severe manner. Once the audience is attracted towards the rhythm they fail to concentrate on the subject that is being spoken of. While Rabindra Sangeet being observed as a classic example of a blend of words and tune, it does not deserve such a harsh treatment. It is very much normal that common audience may find out difficult to extract the essence from songs that are profound in meaning. They are generally recreated with so-called popular music which is rich in rhythm, having lots of challenging vocal maneuvers and shallow in philosophic values.
Songs of Rabindranath must never be treated as commodities having recreational values. That is what the old philosopher had expressed a number of times. It is a categorical direction for the singers, which, I think, they must abide responsibly.
In Hindu mythology music is described as the cream of noesis and musicians are the best human beings. I do not think it inconsistent to ask this noble society to act with restraint, to deliver and believe what they have been taught by their teachers and to try a bit so that common people can savor the taste of the classical extract.
Musical programme organized by Geetabitan.com on the occasion of 25she Boishakh.