Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Einsteinian Relativistic glance at Indian classical music.

( Although this is a post related to music, I will be making frequent comparisons to possibly the most abstract concepts of all times- General theory of relativity. I do not know understand it properly. This is just an attempt to compare two totally different phenomenon possibly having common theories)

Consider an imaginary fabric, stretched tightly around the middle (waist high) throughout a rectangular room. The fabric can be considered flexible enough to absorb the weight of any object that is kept on it. Now consider an object is kept on this stretched elastic fabric. Since its suspended mid air, the object, thanks to gravity will try to go down to the ground. However, since the fabric which is elastic absorbs the energy of the object sinks, yet supporting and carrying the object. We can conclude that heavier the object, the deeper into the fabric it sinks. Similar concepts have been used by His Authority in Physics Sir Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity where he says that gravity is nothing but curvature of the space-time fabric. Without plunging too much into Relativity, I will try to explain my take on its application to Indian classical music.

According to General theory of relativity, space time can be thought of as an elastic fabric. If we place massive objects on the fabric, the space time curves. A ray of light entering the region of curvature is bent by a few degrees, depending on the curvature of space time. Greater the curvature, the more it is going to deviate. If the object on the fabric has super massive weights such as black holes, not even light entering the event horizon will be able to escape it. [Singularity]. What is more important that we need to consider is that the path is slightly, significantly, or completely altered.
When we listen to music, we take a certain mood to it, interact with it, and after this interaction we change our mood, for better or worse. If we close our eyes, and listen, every single note of a particular raga has an impact on us. We can possibly assign hypothetical weights to each note(some relative pitch related calculation?). We then assign binary digits for presence or absence of a note in a particular raga. If a particular note is present we assign 1, else zero. We can statistically determine the frequency with which each note occurs. Obtaining a product of the frequency of note, the weight associated with that note and the binary decision variable, and adding it over for 22 shrutis, we get the weighted sum of the raag. This will possibly give the overall weight[Impact factor] of a raga. I dont know, but somehow, ragas such as Todi, Darbari, Shree, Malkauns etc always have a more profound impact(having a tone of seriousness to them?) than other lighter ragas such as Bhup, Haunsadhwani etc. [ thus, the gravity of the raga will be defined by the mood it generates(?).] 

We can now imagine our minds as being an infinite elastic fabric[mind as it is, is completely flexible and elastic- proven by the no. of thoughts that usually we get in a few seconds], and our present mood as a path followed [different moods will have different paths I suppose- how we act and stuff?]. If we are not exhibiting any emotions at a particular moment- then fantastic! we can just consider it to be a stray ray of light having no particular direction.

Now, we already have defined our ragas as optimized sum of the weight of its constituent notes. when these ragas interact with our minds- they stretch the fabric of our imagination- yes they strech our minds, and have an impact on it. This impact can be thought of as similar to the curvature created by massive objects in space time. A lighter raga, such as say jaijaiwanti, bhup,will possibly stretch our imagination to a lesser degree. It just shows a glimpse of a happy thought, we smile, alter our mood a little according to the deviation and proceed on our mood path with a slight deviation. Other ragas, such as say Puriya, Marwa, Malkauns, Jog etc stretch our imagination further. We significantly shift from our original mood paths when we listen to these. Yes, these are possibly ragas, which challenge us intellectually, and thus have more weight attached to them.The mood path may curve back in some cases. If we are approaching the raga in a correct frame of mind, we are close enough to a concept I call Force Horizon of the raga. In this context our mood gets "captured" and starts revolving around the mood of that raga[similar to how a planet will circle the sun].

Then there are some ragas, which suck you into them like a black hole. Todi, Darbari and Bhairavi are prime examples. Once you are in trance, then the impact of these are so great, that you do not want to or cannot come out of that trance. It slowly, but surely sucks you towards what can only be described as a fleeting realization of god. Ive had a particular experience with Todi, that it leaves such a deep impact, that everything else seems trivial. These can be thought of as musical singularities. as in physical world, we cannot tell for sure whether singularities exist or not, and if they do, what do they physically mean. maybe in a musical sense, we can say that obtaining a singularity is attaining that state of mind, through music, which is actually completely void of any mood and possibly of extreme quiet and serenity.

[Just as the mass of the object determines the deviation of the path of light, the impact mass of a raga can determine the path(mood) with which we approach it, and the path we reach on our interaction with it.]

These theories, as of now, have no basis. I just realized that Music and Relativity can be though of as parallels. Once I get some time to think, I will, possibly with the help of few "experts" try to draw up more methodical comparisons, and if possible, present proof for the raag-mass-mind-curvature theory. Whatever it comes out, the gravity of the raga, does indeed have a deep impact on our minds. This is just a humble attempt to point out the fact, that there are indeed similarities between two totally unrelated subjects- physics and metaphysics. Universe and Music.

1 comment:

  1. This was quite an impressive one. I have no idea about whether both concepts are related or not but yes, some music can really influence your mood. Who knows, relativity can truly turn-out to be the enormously exhaustive theory of everything some day...and account for this too. :)