OUR BODY- Our Instrument

Discourses on Music -2

Prateeksha Sharma


The author practicing on the Veena

The supreme artist is the logos, the creator; the supreme musicians in the universe are the macrocosm and the microcosm, the without and the within, the cosmic and the human. The macrocosm creates the microcosm and then gets reflected in the microcosm- the supreme in the individual, the god in the man, the parent in the child, the orchestra in the music.

 Our body is the sole device to carry on all activity in the world, our vehicle to make all our journeys and our instrument to create all our music. Without the body we are nothing but consciousness. The body itself is a complex organism- an irreplacable, ever changing set of organs, systems, fluids and impulses- forever a challenge, an enigma to scientists, doctors, researchers, psychologists and various other scholars. We usually know our body in the outer appearances that meet the eye. We do not always know it for its potential in the capacity of a carpenter, an engineer, a gardener or an athelete unless we are trained in these tasks. Similarly, we are largely unaware of our body as a musician: we are inherently born as musicians. Rhythm is the aural environment in which we have journeyed from the amniotic (aquatic) environment of our mother’s womb to the aerial atmosphere we live in for the rest of our lives. And that rhythm is just a small vibration of the larger vibration that fills up the entire cosmos.

If we were to recapitulate the embryonic development of the baby, we will recall that the embryo grows in a medley of sounds. In his autobiography, The Conscious Ear,  French physician, Alfred Tomatis, M.D.- also christened as the “Einstein of Sound”, and someone who has established the healing and creative powers of sound and music in general- explains,“The universe of sound in which the embryo is submerged is remarkably rich in sound qualities of every kind…internal rumblings, the movement of chyle at the time of digestion, and cardiac rhythms at a sort of gallop. It perceives rhythmic breathing like a distant ebb and flow. And then its mother’s voice asserts itself in this context.”[i] This is a proof of how early in life itself rhythm is introduced to the human, long before melody assumes any significance.

Later on of course as the child[1] grows the rhythm continues in its body, in the same processes and flows. And when an external source provides a resonance how quickly rhythm produces motion- the movements of dance.


[1]Indian mythology abounds with tales about children who became learned in various ways of the world from the mother’s womb itself. In the Mahabharata, an epic of India the story of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, is well known. Abhimanyu is said to have learnt the art of war while right inside his mother’s womb. He learnt to enter the chakravyuh- a battle formation in which the warrior enters into a circle made by the enemy side. But he could not learn to get out of the circle as his mother went off to sleep while his father was telling the secret


[i] Campbell, Don (2001) The Mozart Effect, New York:HarperCollinsPublishers Inc.


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