The Sound of Music

Chapter Summary

“The Sound of Music” story summaries the story of two music maestros and their music journey. Students will learn about the musical legends as the shehnai player. This story also signifies the great art of learning the music of Evelyn, who was not able to hear. She was taught music by feelings instead of listening to it by ear. Her teacher found potential within her and the probability of achieving something which was known as impossible at that time. This story also signifies the origin of shehnai, Bismillah Khan that made the use of a musical instrument called shehnai and made it well-known at the international level. He was selected for different awards in India and invited to play his magnificent shehnai at the Red Fort in 1974 wheel India become an independent country. Additionally, this story signifies the dedication of two legends to music.

About Evelyn

Royal Academy of Music

Evelyn went to the UK with a youth orchestra at the age of 16 years old. It was her first time visiting the Royal Academy of Music for an audition, and gradually she performed very well and got one of the highest scoring marks in the audition. She literally created a history in the academy and moved for a solo performance.

Evelyn’s deafness

At the age of eight, Evelyn's deafness got first noticed by her mother when she was called by her name to play the piano but she did not make any movement. At the age of 11, the deterioration of hearing got confirmed. The specialist confirmed about nerve damage of Evelyn which led to their hearing loss. The hearing aids were suggested by the specialists for Evelyn.

Her musical journey

The identification of their potential among Evelyn was done by Ron Forbes and he helped her to continue her music journey after the hearing loss. At the beginning of the musical journey, Evelyn was done by using different notes and setting two large drums for the tunning purpose. He stated to Evelyn ‘don’t listen through your ears; try to sense it some other way’. The growing deafness did not damage her career at all due to her love for music.

Places and Causes for which Evelyn Performs

Evelyn had a workaholic nature due to her passion for music. She attained different music concerts and won different awards. Besides the regular performance, she also attained free concerts at hospitals and prisons. Her priority was for young musicians. Children regarded her performance as a shining inspiration.

How does Evelyn hear the music?

Evelyn survived the deafness from her childhood; it was noticed by her mother for the first time at the age of eight years. Later, at eleven years of age, the loss of hearing got confirmed by the doctors. Consequently, she did not give up on her musical journey. A percussionist, named Ron Forbes identified the potential of Evelyn to music. He asked Evelyn to feel the music instead of listening. She realized that from the waist up she could feel the higher drum and from the waist down she could feel the lower one. Forbes made the repetition of exercising the music as she could sense the notes by using different parts of her body. She explained that from cheekbones, skin, and hair she could feel the music and process the journey rather than giving up. She was able to feel xylophone by her fingertips. With the vibration of instruments, she remained with her learning by moving her legs.

Aurangzeb and Pungi

Aurangzeb banned the playing of Pungi

Emperor Aurangzeb banned the playing of the Pungi in the royal residence as he found the music very unpleasant. It was recognised as the reeded noisemakers.

Difference between Shehnai and Pungi

Shehnai is a pipe with a genuine excavation that is more extended than a Pungi. The sound that comes from a Shehnai becomes more pleasant due to the presence of multiple holes. It has seven holes in the pipe of the Shehnai. The Shehnai’s sound was considered auspicious and due to this reason, it is still played in different Indian temples.

Bismillah Khan and Shehnai

The shehnai was played on different traditional occasions and in temples. This instrument is also found in the royal courts. Even in the present time, shehnai is played at Indian weddings and temples. From the ancient royal courts and temples, Bismillah Khan took shahnai and makes his magnificent performance on the classical stages. In India and even abroad he displayed his performance and make the shehnai one of the recognised instruments used for classical music and on the occasions like weddings. The present time, his music is played at weddings.

When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?

In 1983, at the grand opening of the All India Radio in Lucknow, Bismillah Khan get his big break. With this opening, he becomes the often-heard shehnai player on the radio. This incident was recognised at his big break.

Historic Event of Bismillah Khan Playing Shehnai on 15 August 1947

During the greatest Indian event of becoming an independent nation on 15 August 1947, Bismillah Khan was invited on the Red Fort to play shehnai. This event was conducted for the celebration of Indian independence from the British Raj on the Red Fort with the presence of different personalities including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Additionally, Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to welcome the country with his shehnai.

Bismillah Khan’s refusal to start a shehnai school in the U.S.

Bismillah Khan refused to begin a shehnai school in the USA as he never liked to leave India. He adored India so much and he did not like to settle anywhere except the nation . Due to their love for India, he never accepted the invention to live in a foreign country, he kept yearning to see Hindustan.

Bismillah Khan’s loves for India and Banaras

Bismillah Khan adores India and especially Banaras’ The Sound of Music 197 from the core of his heart. He declares that he will miss the holy Ganga and India whenever he went abroad for any music concert. While in Mumbai, he continued to think about only Banaras and the holy river. And when he is in Banaras, he recalls the unique Mattha of Dumraon.


Q1. When was the deafness of Evelyn's got noticed for the first time?

Ans. At the age of Evelyn's eight years, her mother noticed that she could not hear the announcement of her own name to play the piano. Later, at the age of eleven years, the hearing loss got confirmed.

Q2. Who encouraged Evelyn to continue her musical journey even after the hearing loss?

Ans. Ron Forbes identified the potential of Evelyn and her passion for music. He inspired Evelyn to continue her musical journey and address her to feel the music instead of listening.

Q3. When did Bismillah Khan become famous in India?

Ans. With the grand opening of All India Radio, Bismillah Khan made his performance. During this performance, the whole of India listened to him and he got his first break.