From an article written by Anil Dharkar ..............
In past interviews, (Zubin) Mehta has gone into the question of why Western classical music hasn’t struck roots in
In the western tradition, a large group of individuals come together to form a cohesive whole….Here individual brilliance….submerges itself in collective excellence……every piece of music is written down, with the composer defining the size of the orchestra, the tempo of movements, even sometimes the emphasis within a section of the piece…….each (brilliant) musician playing a pre-assigned part of an overall design. Most of all, both conductor and orchestra are following a written-down musical score, which for all the flurry of rehearsals and the passion of the conductor from his podium, defines in some strictness what they are going to do
Contrast this to the Indian tradition. When Beethoven wrote a symphony, it wasn’t for a particular time of day: a raga, on the other hand, is for morning and evening…..it echoes the mood and environment. The Indian tradition – Hindustani or Carnatic – lays complete emphasis on individuality. There is no concept of ensemble, of different instruments playing together: instead there’s the soloist alone, with a cast of supporting players. Then there is the huge importance given to improvisation, central to the Indian tradition, but virtually unkown in the western tradition. ……there is no concept of a written score for Indian music (how do you write down an improvisation?)…….the idea of harmony, so essential to western music, is completely unknown in Indian music.