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The Sound of Music Summary in English

The Sound of Music Summary Part 1 by Deborah Cowley About the Author

Deborah Cowley was born in India, grew up in Toronto, Canada graduated in English from the University of Western Ontario and moved to Ottawa for a job with the Unitarian Service Committee. She then spent two years with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Beirut, Lebanon before moving back to Ottawa to join the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Her broadcasting career began when she was ported to Washington with her husband. She worked as a freelance reporter for CBC radio. When she and her husband were posted to Cairo, Egypt, she was commissioned to write the first official guidebook of Cairo and is currently in its 17th edition. Subsequent postings to London and Brussels gave Deborah the opportunity to write articles for the British and International editions of Reader’s Digest.

The Sound of Music Summary Part 1 in English

In the biographical feature Evelyn Glennie Listens to Sound without Hearing It Deborah Cowley gives an account of percussionist Evelyn Glennie, a Scottish musician, who has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12. Instead of yielding to the handicap, Evelyn pursued her dream developed her ability to hear through the rest of her body. She eventually made her way to the Royal Academy of Music in London. Evelyn Glennie, who can play more than a thousand instruments to perfection, a most sought after musician internationally.

Evelyn’s mother came to know about her daughter’s deafness when at the age of eight, the latter was to give her performance on the piano in school but could not hear her name being called. For quite a while Evelyn managed to conceal her growing deafness from friends and teachers. But by the time she was eleven her marks had deteriorated. When her deafness was confirmed at the age of eleven, the headmistress of her school suggested that she should be sent to the school for deaf children. But Evelyn was not the kind of girl who could be discouraged. Once, when she was dissuaded by the teachers from playing upon a xylophone, Ron Forbes, a great percussionist, came to her rescue. He saw great potential in her and guided her how to sense music through different parts of her body without listening through ears. This proved to be the turning point. She leamt to open her body and mind to the sounds and vibrations. After that she never looked back. She had mastered the art of interpreting different vibrations of sound on her body.

Evelyn did not look back from that point onwards. She toured the United Kingdom with a youth orchestra and by the time she was sixteen, she had decided to make music her life. She joined the prestigious Royal Academy of Music and scored the highest marks in the history of the Academy when she gave an audition for it. Afterwards, she moved from orchestra to solo performances. At the end of her three-year course at the Academy, Evelyn had bagged most of the top awards.

With her unfaltering determination, Evelyn became the world’s most sought-after multipercussionist with a mastery of some thousand instruments, and hectic international schedule.

Despite her lack of hearing, Evelyn not only speaks flawlessly, but has also managed to learn French and basic Japanese. According to Evelyn, she can feel music pouring in through every part of her body – her skin, her cheek bones, even her hair. She can feel the vibrations of instruments penetrate into her body through her bare feet. In 1991, she received the prestigious ‘Soloist of the Year Award’ presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society.

A person with humane attitude, Evelyn gives free concerts in prisons and hospitals. With her efforts, she secured a significant place for percussion instruments in orchestra. Infact, Evelyn Glennie is a great inspiration for all those who suffer from physical disabilities. She makes them believe that if she could do it, so can they.

The Sound of Music Summary Part 2 in English

The Sound of Music Part II – The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan throws light on the origin of shehnai and the life of Bismillah Khan, the shehnai maestro, recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratan awards for his invaluable contribution to the musical world of shehnai. Hailing from a family of musicians, Bismillah Khan secured for the shehnai a place among the classical musical instruments. His improvisation of many new raagas and his originality won him accolades at the international level as well.

Pungi, a reeded musical instrument, was banned by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb because he found its sound to be jarring and shrill. However, it was revived when a barber, who belonged to a family of professional musicians, modified and perfected it. He took a hollow stem which was wider than the pungi, made seven holes in it and produced music that was soft and melodious. The barber (nai) played it in the royal chambers (in the court of Shah) and the instrument was named shehnai. Its sound was so appreciated that it was made a part of naubat – the traditional ensemble of nine instruments found at royal courts. From that time onwards, the music of shehnai came to be associated with auspicious occasions. It was played in temples and during weddings, particularly in northern India till Ustad Bismillah Khan brought instrument onto the classical stage.

Born in 1916 in Dumroan, Bihar, Bismillah Khan belonged to a well-known family of musicians. His grandfather, Rasool Bux Khan was a shehnai player in the court of the king of Bhojpur. His father, Paigambar Bux, and his paternal and maternal uncles were also great shehnai players. Bismillah khan took to music early in life when he was 3 years old in the company of his maternal uncle. At the age of five, he used to regularly go to the nearby Bihariji temple to sing the Bhojpuri chaita at the end of which he would be awarded a big laddu by the Maharaja.

Bismillah Khan got his training in Benaras from his maternal uncle, Ali Bux, who played shehnai in the Vishnu temple. His talent came to be recognised when Bismillah Khan was fourteen, in the Allahabad Music Conference. Later, when All India Radio was established in

Lucknow in 1938, he often played shehnai on the radio. In Benaras, the Ganga provided him much inspiration and in harmony with the flowing waters of the Ganga, Bismillah Khan discovered new raagas for shehnai. He developed such a devotion for the Ganga and for Dumraon that he declined the opportunity to settle down in America when it was offered to him.

Bismillah Khan’s shehnai ushered in a new era when he played the shehnai prior to the speech of Pandit Jawahar Lai Nehru declaring the independence of India in 1947.

Unlike other musicians, the glamour of the film industry failed to captivate Bismillah Khan. Although he contributed to the music of two films, Vijay Bhatt’s Gunj Uthi Shehnai and Vikram Srinivas’s Kannada venture, Sanadhi Apanna, he did not pursue this option further as he couldn’t come to terms with the artificiality and glamour of the film world. He was rewarded with national awards – the Padmashri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. In 2001, he received the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna. He was the first Indian invited to perform in Lincoln Central Hall, USA. He also took part in the World Exposition in Montreal, in the Cannes Art Festival and in the Osaka Trade Fair. So well known did he become internationally that an auditorium in Teheran was named after him —Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.

Ustad Bismillah Khan’s life embodies the rich, cultural heritage of India as a devout Muslim like him played the shehnai every morning at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.