“I had thought about the correlations of music and theatre while modeling COMET. But for the first time I had the opportunity to meet with a theatre personality in 1993. It was Na. Muthuswamy, the founder-director of Koottu-p-Pattarai, a folk theatre in Chennai. He came to one of my presentations on ‘Sound and Meaning in Music’.

 For this I sang an example of a song of Bharatiyar, Odivilaiyadu Paappa, to which, I had set tune to. The starting melody occurred to me when I was riding a horse in Vermont while returning from a diary farm. In the farm I was amazed to see hundreds of cows getting milked and the milk pouring in big glass jars. Suddenly I remembered my childhood experience of milking a cow. This chain of thoughts made me remember the didactic poem of Bharatiyar, Odivilaiyaadu Paapaa. The tune came to me from somewhere. I developed it. On reflection, the final version brought me insights into the relationship of text-tone-tune. This example helped me illustrate my point in the presentation on ‘Sound and Meaning in Music’.

 Na. Muthuswamy came to me applauding me for my presentation but with a request that I should help him in his theatre training for his students. He put the question to me and suggested a solution too. The question was that “why the actors could do very well back stage but could not bring back the same quality in the performance on stage?”. He thought music could help him in that. I readily agreed to help him and a relationship began. I was glad I agreed. It brought to me insights into the workings of the theatre artistes, back stage. Koottup-p-pattarai and Brhaddhvani worked on a few projects.

 The COMET exercises help theatre artistes understand how to refine monologues or dialogues and retain the ‘quality of music’ in their speech and actions while presenting on the stage.

 In another occasion, I had a great opportunity to interact with a sculptor, Dr. Madhubhai Patel, from Bombay. It was revealing to hear him speak about music and sculpture. Here is his quote: “Music is flowing sculpture and sculpture is frozen music.” This sculptor taught the music faculty of Brhaddhvani how to dance. There can’t be any better example of the connectedness of music with Other Arts.”- Karaikudi S. Subramanian