“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” – Plato
The Fête de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, was first celebrated on the streets of Paris on this day in 1982, to celebrate music and musicianship in general. But does music really need a day to be celebrated?
For those who love music, every day is a celebration, a discovery, a reflection, or a resort of solace. It has an impact on the psyche no other stimulation has – of evoking emotions, bringing back memories, of making connections – to others around, and at a higher level. Music of every region of the world is a language in its own, and everyone has their own purpose with it: the music produced by a DJ with his turntable at a discothèque in Montreal, a boy in a Scottish village playing the tin-flute or a Sikh musician performing on the dilruba (bow-and-string lute, similar to esraj) at a gurudwara in Jalandhar may be worlds apart, but to the same listener, they need no interpreter. They are saying entirely different things in entirely different ways, but the message reaches through, in its own beautiful way.
In a way, music is the closest earthly phenomenon to what the imagination paints as sorcery. Whether it's Iron Maiden performing in front of a packed stadium at Rock in Rio (Brazil), Ustad Rashid Khan at the Bengal Classical Music Festival in Dhaka, or Yanni live at the Acropolis (Greece), the transpiring sense of trance that music can invoke in listeners cannot be achieved by anything else. When it hits you, the rest of the whole world ceases to exist, time feels stagnant, and it's just you and the music, and wherever it takes your mind.
And lastly, every piece of music that has ever been produced and performed has a bit of the artiste's soul in it. Music is written and designed and composed differently across genres, but that one factor remains common. That is why while on one end there is the intricate technicality in modern-day music with time-signatures, electronic components, software and high-end production devices, the likes of bhatiali and bhawaiyya (and all forms of folk music across the globe, for that matter) still have undying appeal with their acoustic hand-made instruments made from tree trunks and animal skin. Music is a matter of skill, make no mistake about it, but without the soul the skill is but a bare shell that holds nothing inside. Sounds can be created automatically in a thousand ways, but music is created only by the artiste, putting a little bit of his soul in the notes, the lyrics and everything in between.
Every moment of every day, at some corner of the world, someone is creating some music. And it has been such for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. In a lifetime, we can only so much as scratch the mere surface of maybe a few of the thousands of genres and styles that music comes in, and that is probably where the biggest marvel of music lies; the quest for it is endless, in stature and in the experience itself.