“Music washes away from the soul the direct of everyday life.”~Berthold Auerbach
Do you remember the viral song “Aurora (I was running far away…)”? Do you dream about meeting your perfect match when “Thousand Years” plays in the background? Are you often transported to a different world when you hear “Laal Ishq“? If the answer is yes, you should read this blog, my friend!
Music is an integral part of our lives. Music is our constant companion, whether traveling in the metro or taking a break. New genres are evolving, new instruments are in the making, and new arrangements are in discussion. However, do you know how different industries strategically use music? How does it affect our creativity? The answer to all of these questions lies ahead.
Evolution of music
The Silent Era
1890 to 1928 is the period commonly known as the Silent Era. The reason behind the same is that the movies made during this period didn’t have dialogues, but instead, the story was conveyed through body movements and facial expressions. However, towards the end of the era, the idea of using film scores came up to make movies more enjoyable. Since there were no known ways to do that, initially, theater groups used to provide the music in these films by phonography.
Later, around 1928, the idea of a music ensemble was born, which paved the way to what we now call bands. Sometimes a classical choir sang from the curtains while at others, a group of musicians produced the required sound – of a car crashing, bell ringing, train.
But then, how did music find its way into the movies?
The Golden Age
Post-1928, a lot of efforts were made to incorporate music into films. However, music found its way onto the silver screen only in 1929 when the first talking picture with a proper film score was produced. Initially, the music was drawn from the western classical music sheets, like the Sonata or Fur Elise. However, soon it gave way to the first original, written and composed by the father of film music, Max Steiner, in 1933 for King Kong. And, a brand new profession for music artists was born!
Following the trend, many eminent composers and singers like Enrich Korngold, Alfred Newman, and Bernard Hermann experimented with lyrics, vocals, and arrangements. This unique period in film scoring opened new pathways and professions. On the one hand, this period was exploding with creativity; on the other hand, many contemporary composers, vocalists, ensembles, musicians et al. came to be appreciated for their performances.
Even in India, music directors and composers like S.D. Burman, O.P. Nayyar, and Salil Chowdhury took inspiration from the West and created upbeat music with a fresh take. They were the ones to introduce harmonies, chromatic notes, and passing chords in their songs, which left a lasting impression on the people from the musical fraternity.
Since then, music has been evolving each day. There is a lot of experimentation going on with new genres and micro-genres. Music directors are trying different vocal textures, and composers are working around new rhythmic arrangements to create amazing music.
Experimental Music Genres
The term “Indie” isn’t a term that has been coined recently. Instead, it is one of those terms which traveled from the West to India and adopted a slightly different meaning.
In the West, “Indie” generally refers to the music produced by independent artists or artists partly associated with the mainline record labels. Such musicians used to either record and sell their albums directly or tied up with big labels for their distribution. Alternatively, the music giants picked up some of these exceptionally impressive records and added them to their rosters, which helped them boost their sales and drew the limelight.
However, in the Indian scenario, this term was popularized around 2005. It was the time when a lot of bands were formed. Even though eminent music groups popularized the concept of band music in the late 90s, this was a fresh take altogether. Whether it be college bands performing gigs or bands by reformists expressing their political agony, this period introduced a completely different genre of music, a different style of lyrics writing, and a not-so-common way of music arrangement.
It was also around the time when promoters sensed the inflow of many fresh opportunities and invested in such musicians. And hence, the term “Indie” started to be used for the class of musicians. This also became the reason for the gig culture gaining popularity. More and more independent musicians got spotlighted and, with proper funding, made it to the top.
Earlier, sheet music was the holy book of every musician. In the West and India, almost all the songs were developed exactly as per the western or Indian classical notations provided. However, a few musicians gradually started to go down the road less traveled. They were a group of musical rebels who fused Indian and western classical pieces, combined multiple genres, and penned lyrics that had a global influence. Thus, Fusion music found its way in India. Post this, many renowned musicians like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt. Tanmoy Bose, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Palash Sen, and many more created timeless fusion masterpieces.
Having Afro-American roots, this type of music was popularized around the 1970s. As the name suggests, the idea was to make music “funky.” It was more rhythm-driven than lyric-driven and was popular for being fun danceable music. This genre helped create a link between soul and other Afro-American music styles.
Funk music reached India 2 decades later, i.e., in the late 90s when rock bands won the hearts of the mob. Euphoria, Parikrama, Indus Creed, Krosswindz, Pentagram, and many such rock bands came to the limelight during this period. They were the baton bearers of rock music for the Indians and responsible for bringing funk music to India from the West. Many big platforms like MTV, Great Indian Rock festival, Rollin’ Stone, and Rock Street Journal took a special interest in popularizing such bands, and hence a new genre of music and musicians were formed.
Experimental Music Types
Music has long been a subject of experimentation, and even today, it is no different. It has resulted in new varieties of music, new micro-genres, and new rhythmic patterns. Below discussed are a few of the music types born out of such musical experimentation.
Drawing its inspiration from ’70s danceable music, EDM or Electronic Dance Music is one of the most famous music types globally. It has revolutionized the music scene both as a subculture and a genre. Until recently, when the term EDM was coined, this type of energy-charged music was commonly known as disco music. It is an umbrella term encompassing many music subgenres like house, dubstep, trance, synthpop, trap, etc., produced electronically and performed digitally. Today, several musicians and bands are exclusively known for performing EDM like The Chainsmokers, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and David Guetta.
II. Ambient Music
Earlier, music was exclusively used as dance numbers or as engaging solos. But with time, the use of music has diversified. Whether it be a horror scene or a classy dinner gala, the intelligent use of music, specifically created for the scene, has proven to make it more effective, emotive as well as relatable. It is even being used across different web series, advertisements, and lyrical videos to draw attention and drive traffic.
Not only this, but ambient music is also being used for therapeutic purposes and music-driven meditations. It is known to reduce stress, help fight depression and aid in the body’s healing processes.
This genre isn’t recent but has been trending internationally, especially with Japanese anime and subbed-dubbed movies gaining popularity in recent times. With its roots as EDM, ballads, or rock, this kind of music is created when hyper-pressed vocals meet energizing instrumental tracks. Even though this type of music existed in parts previously, there has been a sea change with the development of music and editing software. Having a mechanical and highly polished feel, their composition and flow have adapted a much fresher perspective to suit the young modern audiences.
IV. Nu Disco
Nu Disco is the result of 80s sci-fi soundtracks combined with modern electronic production techniques. It is often quoted as an attempt to hearken back to the predecessors of the musical fraternity while incorporating cutting-edge production techniques and electronic music styles. This genre is much more flexible and fun to play with. However, it is a far more dramatic shift from the ’70s style of music. Incorporating heavily processed vocals, full electronic drums, and the pop feel, this type of music provides an excellent opportunity for music producers to experiment and explore.
Uses of Music
Music has long been used in movies but has found new routes and adopted fresher perspectives in recent times. Whether to make engageable content or to leave a lasting impression, the use of music has been diversified across all industries.
Jingles have been a part of the advertisement industry. It has been a blessing in disguise for most musicians and has given them the break that transformed their lives. Apart from jingles, the use of musical pieces has witnessed a gradual increase. Nowadays, more brand-focused music is being created.
Even today, people remember the instrumental theme used in the Airtel advertisement or the vintage Amul ad song, thus proving the impact of music and its brand-value association.
The OTT industry has witnessed an exponential rise in its user base, even more so during the global pandemic. Engaging content and interesting plotlines have kept people glued to various OTT platforms all this while. However, with the use of originals and strategic placement of music, viewership has increased, and user retention numbers have improved. Whether it is 13 Reasons Why or Friends, whether it is Little Things or Kota Factory, whether it is Emily in Paris or Schitt’s Creek, music has helped strike the right chord, leaving a lasting impression on the audiences.
Apart from this, music has also been used as a medium to represent various communities like the LGBTQ+. It has helped bring equity in the entertainment industry, voicing their interests and shedding light on unjust practices.
III. Short video platforms
Gone are the days when being a creator was a herculean task. The onset of the digital era has now made things much easier. Accessibility to music has increased enormously, especially with short video platforms like Rizzle, MOJ, ShareChat, etc., coming up. Today, these apps host a happy community of creators owing to their highly energetic, appealing, and danceable music. For example, in the case of Rizzle, the diversification of the formats in which the music can be used – Titan, Filmi, Templates, Remix, has improved the content quality, leading to greater engagement and surge in their user base.
Apart from this, such short video apps also promote the culture of originals, opening up several avenues for musicians to explore. This had helped the independent musicians to thrive, especially when their sources of income were significantly impacted during the pandemic.
Music plays a vital role in our daily lives. It is our constant companion while we go through the ups and downs of life. Also, it has opened new avenues to explore, led to new ways of marketing, and guided breakthrough research, especially in medicine. It has also helped creator communities grow, reach a wider audience, and boost their engagement.
So, keep listening to different kinds of music, experimenting with new genres, creating new amazing music-oriented content on various short video platforms like Rizzle to help your music reach wider audiences.