While my guitar Gently Weeps

I’ve been trippin on this song for last four days. By far I have heard over 5 versions of this song right from the original Beatles to the middle aged George Harrison accompanied by Eric Clapton and Elton John and right down to the Tom Petty Tribute featuring Prince…… and I start wondering what makes a song a great song and a musician a legendary musician………

“Big sold out artists mean nothing. Only the music is important.” I might sound like a disenchanted indie rock enthusiast but I mean it for the music in its entirety and the industry that deals with it. Every music lover I see is on different level of involvement with it and it’s unfair to expect them to be on the same page but as for the musician it is important to understand the position he or she holds and feels comfortable in the realm of music. It sorts out the aspiration and the profile of the musician and clarifies their role. Musicians of my time are suffering from a major crisis. They can’t make out the difference between ego and charisma. What could be more unfortunate than that? Every musician can have ego but few have the charisma. The times have changed and music has become more of a value addition to the other luxuries. There’s no exclusivity and very low recall. Forget about poor sales. It is the least of our problems as of now. Let us try to analyse this situation critically. As the cassette era came to an end and piracy became easy with the advent of internet and CDs, music industry resorted to other measures to make profit. Music companies tried to maximise profits by licensing music for different purposes like movie soundtracks and promotional content. The feel and the fill of the music were left to the whims of the production contract. Time became a constraint and quantity was what was expected. Over the period audience stopped caring about it. There were other factors too. Life became faster and music became associated to special recreation time. Alcohol, drugs and dance became priority but all in the good times. There was no depth left in the requirement of the music. Everybody started claiming that music was their favourite ‘pastime’. Musicians responded to the changing patterns and music became mindless. Lyrical value of the song was the worst hit. I feel that music today is been created just as mere template for re-mixing. The songs meant for mixing in clubs and lounges when released as singles sound plane and blank. Maybe music today is produced as a ‘loop’ or a ‘sample’ and is left to the independent DJ’s to re-mix and experiment with. In a way it’s good and maybe good for a large mass of musicians but then where does a musician stand in the hierarchy of the stage? Most musicians give music a bad name and then complain. It is now that I would like to discuss a bit on this classification of musicians. Amongst the musicians there are 4 basic types of people. First are the players. They are the ones who have learned to play an instrument and/or sing. They can be pretty good in covering songs of other musicians. Players can be of various expertise levels and may show early signs of belonging to the second category called Composers. Composers can not only play instruments and or sing but also create new music; originality is something that should define them. They have an ear for music and can fairly understand the importance of sound and its replication. This category may include sound engineers and production artists and session artists. Then there is the third category of musicians who are the Performers. Performers are the live players on a regular level. They have the distinction of interacting with the audience on a more personal level. They face the crowd. Performers must be good in playing their music. Some performers can be composers as well. The fourth and the final type of a musician is the Artist. Being an Artist is the ultimate goal of a musician. Artist is the one who should have the charisma. Good musical talent and originality is a requirement but an artist should be capable of being the driving energy behind a musical project. All Artists are performers but not all performers are artists. Now I leave it to the audience and to their infinite wisdom to decide who is an Artist in true sense.

Finding the proper role is the toughest part for any musician. Then there are a lot of confusions and half baked notions of what one wants to be and what one is. Out of all this I just want to state that it is not just market or the piracy or lack of scope in a genre but music has been affected by lifestyles, attitudes, intentions and awareness. I really don’t know what to say beyond this. My friend anyway waits eagerly for 2012 . Someday I would like to do a multipart retrospect on my favourite period of music and my favourite genre of music (The grand Rock n Roll) but as of now I am listening to ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ on my headphones while on board a train to a small town in the foothills of Himalayas to work in a community radio station for a month………..

See you folks


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