7. I find it difficult to tear myself away from the square. Flute music always does this to me: it is at once the most universal and most particular of sounds. There is no culture that does not have its flute—the reed neh, the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi, the deep bansuri of Hindustani classical music, the clear or breathy flutes of South America, the high-pitched Chinese flutes. Each has its specific fingering and compass. It weaves its own associations. Yet to hear any flute is, it seems to me, to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind, to be moved by music closest in its phrases and sentences to the human voice. Its motive force too is living breath: it too needs to pause and breathe before it can go on.
Seth finds it difficult to pull himself away from the music. He explains how flute music had always had such an effect on him. He also calls it is both the most universal and most particular of sounds.
Flutes have been in use since the ancient times. Archeological studies tells us that they are the earliest known musical instruments in the world. Moreover, they are found and practised all over the world. Seth cites a few types of flutes that are used around the continents.
The reed neh (also spelled as 'ney'), the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi, the deep bansuri of Hindustani classical music, the clear or breathy flutes of South America, the high-pitched Chinese flutes demonstrates how flute transcends space and culture. Though they are universal, they are also equally distinct. Hence, Seth calls it "the most universal and most particular of sounds". Moreover, each type of flute is distinct for its placement of the holes, fingering, and the musical range.
The music of a flute brings an entire culture along. It is rich in history and tradition. Through the line 'flute weaves its own associations', Seth explains how the music from a flute brings the culture, tradition, and history that it is associated with. On the other hand, as Seth explains, music of a flute draws one into the universality of humanity. Despite the differences in culture, language, race, sex, gender, or age, human beings are universal. The basic needs of a human, such as food, water, and oxygen, remains the same. Similarly, flutes are given life through the breath of its player. They are also closest to the human voice, both physically and figuratively. Flutes and voice have a mutual friend: mouth. In that way, they are physically closer to the voice of a human. With other musical instruments, the player can accompany their music with their vocals, but for a flautist, flutes are their vocals. Moreover, flutes are closest to the human voice in its "phrases and sentences" (in music theory, a "phrase" and "sentence" are units of musical metres.)
Seth concludes the paragraph by reminding us that both a flute and human voice draw their power from breath. And like ones voice, it too must halt and breathe before continuing.
Meanings of difficult words:
Meanings of difficult words:
|Tear away||Leave despite a strong desire to stay|
|Universal||Relating to or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases|
|Fingering||Relating to or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases|
|Drawn into||To involve somebody or make somebody take part in something|
|(In music) the interval between the lowest and highest note; range|
|Commonality||The fact of sharing interests, experiences, or other characteristics with someone or something|
|Flautist||A flute player|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. Kathmandu- Vikram Seth (pp.127 - 131). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.