The Fascinating World of Melody

The Fascinating World of Melody
Published On: 06-Dec-2023

Article by

Aqdas Hashmi

Many believe that music is love that is looking for words to express itself. Just as music is language that has no color, no number, and no religion. It can give a different color for everyone's spiritual satisfaction. Music is just music, but music that soothes the soul is the only music that has melody and harmony. There are some traits that are unique for humans, such as laughter. While there are some properties which are found in animals and they appear to be the same in every living thing like breathing etc. One of these properties is "Tone"(A musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength.) which has an effect on every living being that has the ability to hear. 


The Bedouins of ancient Arabia used to sing a special melody while traveling in the desert, which caused such emotional arousal in the camels that they would have continued to walk many miles at a time or travel without difficulty even in the dark nights. Similarly, a special kind of whistle is also played for watering the animals and feeding the chickens, which makes them inclined to drink and eat.The snake charmer is also called pungi in front of the snake, which makes the snake stand still. Shepherds sing a special tune for milking buffaloes, goats, cows and camels, by which the milk flows into their udders. Hunters for catching pheasants and quails sing something that makes them stand still. It is common practice in villages for mothers to lull their children to sleep by singing a special ragni called 'lori' in the local language, which lulls the children to sleep. The effects of music are everyday experiences that cannot be denied. It has a special impact on everyone. In this regard, there is an example of the well-known Sufi sage of the subcontinent, Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, who was affected by a poem during the Mehfil e Sama in such a way that he was in an intuitive state. He died after staying in that intuitive state for three days. 


It is mentioned in Jewish history about Prophet Dawood A.S, that when he recited the Psalms, animals and birds would also gather. In India this art is called "Sangeet". According to them, it is a branch of rhetoric. Music is also called "Ghandhru Veda". Apart from these four Vedas i.e. Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajar Veda and Athar Veda, this is the fifth Ghandhru Veda. It is also called "Gaaen Vidya" meaning the art of singing. It is often considered a part of the Sama Veda. A saying is very popular among Hindus that "He who does not know the knowledge of rhetoric, music and words is an animal”.


Since ancient times, songs and instruments have been used in places of worship and during prayers and glorification of the deity. So, keeping this principle in mind, since the beginning, music experts have arranged the ragas in such a way that each raga has a certain quality and feeling associated with it. Christians and Sikhs alike use these ragas and musical instruments during worship in their places of worship. Hindus also use these ragas in their specific area while singing aarti and bhajans. Muslims recite the Holy Quran and sing in specific styles during recitation of Naat. The purpose of all of them is to be humble, compassionate, God's intercession, to repent of sins and present oneself in the presence of God and seek his grace and turn to God from the depths of the heart.

Allama Sheristani writes that Hakeem Fisa Ghorus (Pythagoras) was the son of Hakeem Nesaar who passed away in the 6th century BC. His disciple Kalanus e Hindi became very famous. His philosophy found practice in India and Egypt. He believed that the whole universe is made up of various spiritual chords. That is why the soul is affected by chords. He was of the opinion that as many feelings as there are in the physical world, such as color, pleasure and joy, bitterness and sweetness, etc., all these feelings and conditions are treasure in the world of spirits which in this world of bodies are found in the form of feelings and emotions in a human body. According to the scholars, he is the first person who arranged songs and melodies based on the principles of the movements of the stars and planets and invented the science of music and arranged the strings of the sitar based on the same astronomical melodies and established the principles of melodies and after that he taught it regularly to his students. 

Kalanus e Hindi can be credited as one of the earliest pioneers in the arrangement of songs and melodies. Following in his footsteps, Hakeem Niqo Makhos, renowned for his work "Kitab al-Naghm," made significant contributions to this art form. Later, Hakeem Aqleedas, also known as Euclid, authored "Talif Al-Lahoon," further enriching the musical landscape. Ptolemy and Aristotle, in their own ways, added to the discourse. Not to be forgotten is Abu Nasr al-Farabi, celebrated for "Al-Musayqi, Kitab al-Iqaat." The legacy continued with Abu Ali Ibn Sina's "Daneshnama dar ilm-i Musiqi." Yaqub Ibn Ishaq Al-Kundi's "Rasalah e Musiqi" also left its mark, as did Naseeruddin Tusi's "Fun-e-Musiqi," a valuable addition to the library of Paris, among others. These luminaries collectively shaped the foundations of musical knowledge and theory. 

It is mentioned in the Shastras that after hearing the sounds of the rotation of the sky, Mahadev established the seven tones (Swars) which are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, then these tones (Swars) were adjusted to the twelve constellations to form twelve tones (Swars) and then each tone (Swar) is given a different name. The combination of all these tones is called Sargam.



بے تال ہے کیسی یہ سرگم بے لہرا پنجم ہے مدھم
جو راگ ہے دیپک اس من میں اس راگ کو کیسے گا جائیں


(How do you play this tune without rhythm, without undulation, in a slow tempo? The melody in my heart is like a deep raga, how can I bring it to life?)

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