Monday, 26 September 2011

Western Classical Music in India

In the height of the British Empire, India was under British control, and many aspects of British culture seeped into Indian culture. Western music, however, did not make it, simply because British occupation did not foster an environment in which information on Western classical music could be spread across India's overwhelming population.

The most notable popular musical styles in India are Bollywood and vibrato-laden vocals. Western musical artists have tried to breach the barriers of Indian culture before, most notably and recently Lady Gaga, yet nothing seems to hook the audience. In a new attempt to start with the classics, Khushroo Suntook founded the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) in 2006.

"It's not that people are resistant to this music, they just don't know about it,” said Leanne Pereira, a Cellist with the SOI. For those who do know about the music, a lack of practice and rehearsal venues limits musical development. On another note, many Indians who know about classical music show a "huge lack of emotion" towards the genre. 

With only 16 of the 100 players in the SOI being Indian, Western classical music has a long way to go. It is an interesting culture clash that China has around 200 symphony orchestras, yet the SOI stands alone. Will India see an explosion of Western musical progression, or will traditional genre's stay strong? Time will tell!


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