Notes from bro. Razin Mestica…
Last week, I and MUNSYID Malaysia Exco team had the opportunity to meet with the Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid who is also the Chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (IKIM) and the top management of IKIM Radio. We talked about the recent post -AN19 nasyid. One of the issues raised by YABhg Tun Ahmad Sarji was his concern about missing the “Tranquility” aspect of today’s nasyid songs based on his observations at AN19 during the day.
For Tun, it was related to the arrangement of the melody itself and the arrangement and “noise” of music or “loudness” that submerged the sound of the intruder. This is where the issue of “clarity” in the voice arises and prevents the message being attempted through the lyrics of the song’s lyrics to reach the ears of the listeners. Given that his assessment was made during live events, it is certainly a matter of considerable controversy as it is also influenced by other factors such as equipment setup of nad settings, audio mixing, acoustic venue and so on. But that’s not what I want to highlight through this article. I want to focus on the two keywords that are the subject of discussion: “Tranquility” and “Clarity”.
What is “Tranquility”?
Tranquility in Malay refers to the serenity or peace. In this context, what is being conveyed is that the nasyid songs should be able to provide peace and calm to the listener. I believe this formula is taken from the passage of surah Ar Ra’d verse 28 which means “.. Only in remembrance of Allah will the soul be at rest ..”. Since nasyid is one of the entertainment instruments that is the instrument that wants to bring its listeners to the remembrance of God Allah while entertaining, it is also necessary to give their listeners calm and peace including learning. But for me, this issue of tranquility only arises when we fail to address a more important aspect of the production or performance of a song or called “clarity“.
For a sound engineer, every audio track recorded or used in a performance should produce clear sound even at low and loud “volume”. In other words, every sound whether from a musical instrument, sound or special effect should be clearly heard in the ear of the listener. But it should also have its own list of “awlawiyat” priorities: which sounds need to be loud, which ones are lower, which sounds to the right and which ones to the left and so on. or audio mixing.
As a composer and publisher of nasyid songs, I would basically put the vocals track should be more or less “loud” than the music track. The reason is simple, in the nasyid the most important thing to hear and convey to the listener is the lyrics or the characters. That’s where the core or message that you want to convey. If these lyrics are not clearly heard by “immersed in” music for example, then the basic purpose of the nasyid itself is to convey a good message through song is totally lost it objective.
Is music not important?
To me it’s important too. Only in the context of nasyid, does it serve as a “supporting role” in elevating the melody of the melody and supporting the message delivered. As a simple example, when a song that tells about the greatness of a warlord like Salahuddin Al Ayyubi sings by Mestica for example, the music arrangement should also sound “brave and powerful”. However, it still does not go beyond the first principle where music cannot drown out the vocals or sound. At the same time the overall soundtrack of the entire audio track either in the studio or on the show should be presented at the proper decibel and frequency to the audience so that It’s good to hear, it’s not clutter and creating disturbance. Here is one aspect that is considered in determining the “tranquility” of a song being performed.
7. Going back to the issue of “tranquility”, does it mean that when a nasyid song needs to be “peaceful and calm” it means that all nasyid songs are only in a genre like ballad that is melodic and far-upbeat, vibrant and so on? I have different views on this issue. In the history of the development of nasyid, many of the songs produced are lively and evocative of the music that is quite loud. In Malaysia itself, Al Farabi Band songs for example have a strong divine message despite the rock music. So did Mestica who had appeared on Badr 313 with gothic rock. Overseas nasyid artists like Soldiers of Allah or Native Deen bring hiphop music genres to their work. So for me “tranquility” is not confined to the genre and arrangement of music alone. It also includes melodies as well as technical issues such as sound systems, audio engineering and the like. And all these elements must be harmonized or combined to achieve the objective of the nasyid itself which is to convey good message to the audience then the “tranquility” we seek will be found.