Alluding to a painter, who uses his paintbrush to create masterpieces, product designer Bhargav Mistry says he uses sound to design and create structures and composition.
Mistry, who was in the city to conduct a workshop on craft and music instrument design at the ADI’s 12th Pune Design Festival, spoke about discovering his true passion in the deep, haunting sounds of the Indian classical instrument, sarod.
Talking about moving between design education and picking up a music instrument like the sarod, Mistry says, “I have always been attuned to all my senses, be it visual, sound, touch or even smell. I think the visual sense is the most powerful one, followed by sound.”
“Sound is something we constantly hear — the buzzing of bees, the humming of the air conditions and even the wind. Every sound has an aesthetic to its design, rather its structure. Since I heard a lot of music being played, I was naturally drawn to it. My paintbrush is the sarod,” he adds.
When asked how his passion for sarod began, the product designer replies that he first heard it played on the radio, when he was in college. “I still remember the distinct sound, deep and haunting melancholy of an instrument that was unknown to me back then,” he says.
Since then Mistry has trained under Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the sarod maestro. “In 1991, when I was in Delhi, I called Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and he invited me over to his residence. I went to the music room and picked up the sarod and played just a bunch of random notes that I knew. It was then that the maestro asked me to stay back, so he could polish my inborn talent. That is how my journey of music in sarod began,” he adds.
Is there a parallel between design and music? Mistry says, “Design is creating a form and most importantly a form whose function is to look good and be usable. Just like music.”
When you link the two, there is definitely some kind of magic at the intersection. “Music has aesthetic, which has the ability to affect the mood. The silence between sounds and the length of sound adds to the beauty that it creates,” explains Mistry.
In times of digitisation, creating music has become extremely convenient, but he believes that the soul of music comes across, only if it comes directly from the musician and if there is a connect between the instrument and the artist. “In today’s time, there are so many channels to create music; music is randomly recorded because of which the meaning of the composition is lost,” he adds.
Lastly, he says that music is meditative. “There are different notes and compositions which need to be followed carefully. Each of these notes need to be treated with dignity and respect because they all have a character of their own. Finding a way to focus, and to contemplate, you are bound to look within yourself because of which you can unlock the path of peace and self control,” he believes.
He says that this self control is needed to reach perfection because when you play music for a live audience, there is no way you can get an eraser out to rub out your mistakes. “Whatever you play, will always remain in the minds of the audience.”