In the series on old age and the various pastimes suited to it, this third one deals with the use of music to make one’s senior years enjoyable. This article deals with the potential of music to enable the elderly to live the golden years more satisfactorily.
The range of music spans a wide spectrum from the beats of some of the primitive cultures to the highly systematic and sophisticated music of the classical type. All melodious music has a calming effect on the listener. In the elderly years, when worries and anxieties could assail one, it would be a blessing if one had cultivated a taste for music and can listen to some melodious numbers. In Carnatic music, where there are a huge number of tunes-called Ragas in Sanskrit–to which each composition is set, has some specific ragas for mitigating the bad effects of many worried states of mind. This classical music with its antique origin and unabated popularity and support throughout the world can be called eternal music. Western classical music may have such features.
An eminent expert in information technology has classified the modern entertainments provided by our rapidly developing information and communication sciences into forward and backward ones. Watching a movie or an entertainment serial on the television can be called a backward entertainment, as there is little interaction by the viewer. Playing a game on the computer is a forward entertainment as there is intellectual interaction on the part of the player. In that classification, the writer would classify listening to music a forward entertainment, as deep enjoyment of well composed and rendered music does entail active, mental interaction by the listener. That way music provides entertainment and high-level exercise for the brain.
Most people have a taste for music. Music and the ability for its appreciation lie latent in everyone. Most people arouse it to some extent. The tastes for music vary over a wide spectrum. As already mentioned, a wide variety of music caters to these tastes. One can think of instrumental music and vocal music. The variety of instrumental music ranges from the beats of the primitive cultures to the complex symphonies composed by masters. Vocal music spans a range from folk songs to highly sophisticated, systematic compositions sung by well trained maestros.
Those who have the convenience to enjoy the membership of active music societies and associations can listen to good music of their choice at the periodic concerts organized by such associations. Even those who cannot avail of such facilities, the modern, technological developments which are fast evolving have made available excellent music systems and gadgets to suite the tastes and pockets of a vide variety of music buffs and aficionados.
Music may be considered a part of spirituality. Its study, its practice and its enjoyment elevate one spiritually. Such spiritual uplifting is an essential ingredient of a contended, happy old age. Let us conclude this short essay with quote from the Persian astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, Omar Khayyam (1048-1131):
“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
And Wilderness is Paradise enow”
The above quatrain from the rubaiyat is the English translation by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883). This verse is universally familiar along with popular illustrations. However, the writer interprets the word, ‘Thou’ made bold and put in italics by him, as the universal force which is the basis of the universe amenable to our senses. The verse is a description of the potency of music itself.