What brings tears to the eyes of listeners in music?
It is not just the pathos in the voice of a musician that brings tears to the eyes of the listeners. It is the involvement of the artist in the very act of singing that draws tears.
Sudip Mukerji, a connoisseur friend of mine, posted an anecdote on Ghagge Khudabaksh which reads as follows:
“When Tears Became a Taboo — It is said that Ghagge Khudabaksh (1790-1880), of Agra, creator of the harmonious blend of the Drupad and Khayal Gayaki, noted for his melodious voice, had such pathos in his voice that it would bring tears to the eyes of the listeners. Therefore, he was never invited to perform at festivities like marriages because tears are a taboo at such occasions. Is voice quality all that matters in classical music?”
I wrote back to him as follows:
“It is not just the pathos in the voice of a musician that brings tears to the eyes of the listeners. It is the involvement of the artist in the very act of singing that draws tears. With what surrender he sings, with what dedication he reveals the Prakriti of the raga, with what devotion he beckons the ragaswaras, with what selfless attitude he sings –these and many other aspects of singing make the music effective. There is no effort to make his singing sound great. When singing becomes an act of worship of “naad brahma”, it becomes effective because it reflects something of the Universal Music.”