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Article: Samvadini Samrat Pt. Manohar Chimote

By Capt. Sanjay Gahlot
  Born on 27 Th. March 1929 at Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, in a family of musical learnings. Pt.Chimote had an earlier tutelage under the renowned maestro Pt.Bhishmadev Vedi, one of the most versatile artists of Hindustani Classical music, who tutored him in the art of playing harmonium. Innovative genius that he is, Panditji with his rare propensity to explore the rapturous melodies in various Ragas of Indian classical music sought to invest in the Playing of harmonium, which was much maligned and banished from the national network of All India Radio (AIR). He brought Harmonium to the level of solo concert instrument and changed the traditional harmonium into Samvadini (his innovation - and he renamed it!) from being a mere secondary accompanying one, speaks volumes of his musical perspicacity. Rhythmic intellect and adaptive acumen what has been achieved are nothing short of miracle.

As a solo instrument, Harmonium is a highly prejudiced and underestimated. In fact, it has more critics than friends. It is argued that harmonium is a Western instrument; it's tuning and keyboard are incapable of producing micro tones which make the Indian music so lively and everlasting.

Pt. Chimote's reply to these charges is his fifty years of unbroken devotion and endeavour to prove that it is the artist and not the instrument that matters; that the instrument after all is what the artist makes it to be.

Pt. Chimote has made certain modifications in the body of the harmonium. Some of them are:

  • Redesigning of key-board
  • Changing the tempered scale tuning system of western music to Gandhar tuning of Indian music.
  • Setting the strings (Swar-Mandal) near the sound box to sustain the tone (aasa) to add the resonance effect.
  • To balance the air pressure to enable the focusing at any particular note wherever required. (On the same lines as in vocal music) Further, he entirely changed the style and technique of playing the instrument by introducing:
  • Adaptation of sitar anga gat presentation, jod-zala, and dhrupad styles.
  • Introducing continuity in two distinct notes.
  • Variating tonal quality with special finger pressure techniques.

  • Panditji's Achievements

    He recited in many concerts in India. He has given many a programs and various classical singers and newspapers have given fine reporting about his programs.

    At Calcutta I.T.C. Academy his concert is recorded where he played evening melodies and was accompanied on tabla by Shri Anand Gopal Bandopadhyay.

    In the Annual Conference at Mumbai Sureshbabu - Hirabai Smriti Samaroh" in 1994 held by Dr. Prabhatai Atre "samvadini solo of Pt.Manohar Chimote" was one of the record events where Pt. Anendo Chaterji accompanied him on tabla.

    In 1975 he was recorded and interviewed by Dr. Ahok Rande for Mumbai Television (Dur-Darshan) in a program "Pratibha Ani Pratima" and again in 1995 he was recorded and interviewed by Dur-Darshan in a special program "Aaswad" regarding his specially designed Samvadini and unique style of presenting it.

    In 1982 Pandit Chimote Felicitation Committee was formed to honour Pandit Manohar Chimote. Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and the great dance artist pandita Sitaradevi were the great speakers to appreciate the works of Pt. Chimote for his Samvadini style.

    Many music circles also arrange his lectures and demonstrations.

    In 1995 Spic Mike and Gandharv Sangeet Mahavidyalay jointly arranged his recital at Pune and there Pt.Chimote had been awarded with "Adarsh Sangeet Shikshak Puraskar-1995" of Gandharv Sangeet Mahavidyalay.

    Inspired by Panditji's idea and motivation some of his well wishers and deciples formed the "Samvadini Foundation", a registered public charitable trusts to popularise Samvadini and " Swarashree Arts" to popularise Indian Classical Music.

    Editor's Note: Capt. Sanjay Gahlot is Pt. Manohar Chimote's pupil.



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