The Hanging Line

MUSIC > The Hanging Line, March 2017

March 2017
Composed by: Rahil Riad Mahmood
Guest Performers: Raja Chaudhary (Guitar), Prabir Bhattacharya (Sitar), Peubroto (Tabla)

I composed this instrumental piece for The Song Mela, one of the music functions at my school, in 2016. Although it’s a rather complex piece with a lot of variation in genre, it started off with an improvisation on a very simple melody – one which would later play a very dominating role in the piece.

Since I was keen on playing with different genres, I designed ‘The Hanging Line’ with a lot of instruments in mind. Giving each instrument a space in the song certainly wasn’t a big challenge; however, working with the men behind these instruments certainly was. Initially, I was very excited when I was told that I would be working with professionals. It sounded like a great opportunity for me. But during the first few practice sessions, I found it rather odd to be instructing these professionals about what to do. They are renowned artists who perform all over the country and collaborate with other professional musicians. But now, a tenth-grade student was telling them to “stop playing” because they were “completely off”. These musicians are used to playing thirty-minute solos at concerts with the spotlight on them. It was therefore very hard to tell them to “play a four-by-four for four bars and then repeat this only at the very end of the piece for two bars”. But I guess I had to, because otherwise the piece would have resembled a compilation of long solos. It took me a while to accept the fact that it wasn’t disrespectful to be doing what I was doing.

There are some very interesting transitions, in terms of style and speed, in ‘The Hanging Line’. We took a while to perfect them. For us musicians, mastering the initial tempo for this song was a significant challenge. In spite of having played this piece several times, I still struggle with getting the tempo right.

Performed on March 25th 2017

MUSIC > The Hanging Line, March 2017