There is one Bollywood song to define each and every moment of our lives. But that does not mean that there is one Bollywood singer in each and every one of us.
Yes, it is true that filmy songs have an incredible fan following among Indians. Singing Bollywood songs is the ultimate goal for most vocal music aspirants. However, Bollywood songs are not as easy to sing as they are for listening to. But why?
Exploring the expanse and evolution of Bollywood songs will reveal how it has become the melting pot of numerous music genres from all over the world.
Bollywood songs have been inspired by Indian Ragas, several regional and folk songs, psychedelic rock, Swahili songs from Tanzania, and other tribal music from across the world. Each of these music genres manifests its best elements when they are used in Bollywood songs.
Every starry-eyed vocal music aspirant who has the goal of becoming a Bollywood singer, in front of their eyes has numerous questions about how to embark on their musical journey.
In this article, we will try to chart the learning route map for the students who aim to become Bollywood singers.
Today, we have one of the most favored teachers at ipassio - Ayesha Mukherjee. She shares with us some of the best-kept secrets to becoming a pro in Bollywood music.
Is it easy to sing Bollywood songs? What does it take to emote through your voice? And many more. Ayesha answers them all meticulously in a candid conversation with Utpala.
A Few Words About Ayesha Mukherjee
As a student, Ayesha has traveled across the length and breadth of the city to receive with the best Gurus - including - Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, Pandit Ritesh Mishra, and Shri Deborshee Bhattacharya.
Needless to say, she has realized what it takes to search for a good mentor. Hence, while she honed her voice to render Hindustani classical and semi-classical music with aplomb, she also grew up to become an incredible teacher.
Ayesha’s approach to teaching music is very scientific. She lays optimum emphasis on voice training no matter whether the student is pursuing classical music or Bollywood music.
- Can everybody sing Bollywood songs?
- Vocal Training Tips
- Rendering the Emotions in a Bollywood Song
- Paltas vs Alankaars
Can Everybody Sing Bollywood Songs?
Hindi film songs have become a part of our lives. The songs are so close to our hearts that we tend to sing them to ourselves or just hum a tune unmindfully.
At times it feels like everybody can sing Bollywood songs like a pro. Is that true? How easy is it to become proficient in singing Bollywood songs?
Ayesha Mukherjee - a seasoned practitioner of vocal music and experienced teacher - says - “It is not true that we can sing Bollywood songs as easily as we think we can. That is because - firstly, music, in general, requires knowledge or a certain kind of training for anybody to sing or play anything.
It is very important to learn the basics of music and do a little bit of voice training to get the correct amount of flexibility in your voice, to understand the pitching better, to understand your quality better, and what kind of song suits you, etc. So, basic training is very important which is called voice culture or voice training.”
As a dedicated learner and pursuer of Bollywood music, Ayesha believes that there is no alternative to getting the fundamentals of music right through proper training and practice.
Only then will a new learner be able to sing a Bollywood song with ease and comfort. They should also understand what they are singing.
Ayesha harps on voice training here. She opines - “No matter which genre of music you learn - be it Bollywood Music, classical music, or any other form of music, the voice culture is an integral part. It helps you to understand your voice quality and what type of song suits your voice.
Anywhere you go to learn music, they will always start with the voice culture part instead of starting right away with the song. It is important that you understand your voice muscles, notes, and pitching. Only then you can actually start singing Bollywood songs correctly.”
Rendering the Emotions in a Bollywood Song
While getting the voice tuned is a significant part, it is also equally important to learn to emote in an effective manner.
So what goes into rendering the emotions while singing? Do you really need to feel sad while singing a sad song? Well yes, of course. But don’t feel it so much that your voice croaks.
Voice Dynamics and Modulation
The key is to keep your emotions measured and express in just the right proportion using your vocal prowess.
This point is beautifully explained by Ayesha - “Expression is indeed a very big part of Bollywood music. There are several techniques to get the expression out of your voice.
For a beginner, the first thing that we teach them is the techniques to express a certain emotion. How to use voice dynamics and modulations to express emotions? This is a very technical part that can be taught.”
Realization of the Lyrics
“The other important factor that helps in emoting is the realization of the lyrics,” Ayesha continues, “This is to an extent - to each his own. When you read the lyrics repeatedly you realize it after a point of time. When you are able to bring this realization to your voice while singing, the expression gets better and better. And the deeper you delve into the lyrics, and with practice, the expression might change.”
Indeed, expressing emotions is a very subjective part of understanding the lyrics and expressing the lyrics. It comes with practice and life experiences. This cannot be taught completely.
The Regime for Voice Culture
Elaborating on the regime for voice culture, Ayesha says, “For the voice culture, there are several methods of teaching. There is perfection in pitching, and understanding the notes. One example of that is understanding the zigzag notes - for example - singing Sa, and then Pa, and then Re Ni Ga Ma.
The better you understand the zigzag notes, the better you understand how these combinations of notes are used in that song. When you understand the notes, you understand what’s behind a song.”
This apart, she also emphasizes practicing the Paltas. It is a very generic training process. Then there is the process of voice modulation. There are six types of voice throwing that you can do. Then there are Alankaars which are used in Bollywood music. You can individually build on these aspects of Alankaars, Paltas, notes, scales, and much more.
Paltas vs Alankaars
As one question leads to another, we leave no opportunity to ask her about the nitty-gritty of voice culture. And she candidly explains everything in very simple terms.
Ayesha opines that Paltas and Alankaars are absolutely different. Basically, Paltas are the notes or Swaras, whereas Alankaars refer to ornamentation.
Paltas and Alankaars can be of the same pattern but how they are sung is completely different. Alankaar is on a touch-note basis.
It’s just done differently. Harkats and murkis are a part of Alankaar.
The glam factor of Bollywood songs has become the key driving force behind the high enrolment rates in music classes. However, it requires the right approach and proper guidance to achieve it. It also requires rigorous practice and persistence.
Everything about Bollywood is nothing less than Magic! And Bollywood songs are no exception. The listener always expects that magic to be recreated irrespective of who sings it. So there is only one way to sing Bollywood songs - the Right Way! And for that, you need to train yourself the right way and with the right mentor.
Enthusiastic learners who want to learn Bollywood songs can explore Bollywood Singing Classes.