Music for the soul, on final day of Sawai Gandharva fest

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The final day of the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival had a strange request from Santoor maestro Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma. "Please do not clap during the performance."

He explained why, and the surprise of the audience soon gave way to anticipation. He wanted to treat them to the 'Antardhwani', a raga he recently composed and which debuted on the Sawai Gandharva stage itself.

He gave a charming 25-minute performance, preceded by tips music lovers will never forget.

He briefed the audience on the 'Antardhwani' (inner voice) and said it needed complete listening, with rapt attention, to be fully appreciated.

"I request you all to listen to my raga carefully and not clap and interrupt it. If you like the music, let it sink into you. Don't waste that moment by clapping. Absorb that moment and feel the music inside you," he said.

"The aalaap is the most important part of my composition. It is the musical prelude to my composition. The aalaap is the soul of the composition, it is this prelude that gives life to the whole piece," he told the listeners.

He asked them to whisper under their breath 'wah wah' or any other form of compliment if they like but maintain the mood of silence to allow the music to sink in.

Just then, an excited member of the audience was heard saying 'wah wah', and the master of Santoor joked that this be treated as practice for the music experience ahead.

"Music must be treated more than just entertainment. It is a form of art. Even though it is not tangible, a true music lover must feel the music instead of merely hearing it. One must absorb it and store it in the soul," he said to the audience.

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