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Song of the Rainbow : A Work on Depiction of Music through the Medium of Paintings in the Indian Tradition

Richa Jain (Author)
Synopsis The concept of visualisation of music through painting has deep roots in traditional Indian miniature painting. Popularly referred to as Ragamala paintings, they depict Raga-Raginis in the form of deities or Nayaka and Nayikas. Musical modes of Hindustani classical music were classified according to gender in medieval India and were called Ragas and Raginis. The depiction of Ragas and Raginis through paintings received impetus from prayer formulas or Dhyanas given in ancient Sanskrit, Hindi or dialect verses. These were given on top of the paintings. Given the name Ragamala, which literally means "a garland of Ragas", they constitute a confluence of music, painting and poetry. The author has given her own interpretation of such paintings. She has depicted select Ragas in a pictorial form according to descriptions given in ancient musical canons. In addition to composing the entire iconography using her imagery while adhering to their standard form, she has incorporated certain musical phrases characteristic the given Ragas. These paintings serve as an example for the principle of assimilation of fine arts. The primary element of these paintings is virtual space in which music acts as the secondary element. Instead of giving the Sanskrit verses on top of the paintings, the author has given them separately owing to space constraints. Since the verses are a description of the iconography shown in the painting, they have also been given in the text describing the paintings. Greater emphasis has been given on the assimilation of the musical phrases within the framework of the paintings. Care has been taken to strictly follow the standard iconographies. Thus, they are of great value for the study of fine arts.
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About the author

Richa Jain

Dr. Richa Jain is Ph.D. from Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi, Delhi. The topic of her thesis was Depiction of Music through the Medium of Paintings in the Indian Tradition, which was submitted in Oct. 1999, under the guidance of Prof. Krishna Bisht (former Dean of Faculty of Music and Fine Arts). Since childhood, her interests have been music and painting, but her formal training has been in music. Coming from an academic background (her father is a retired Professor from University of Delhi), it was a natural decision to take up music as her subject in college. Ever since, there has been no looking back.

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Bibliographic information

Title Song of the Rainbow : A Work on Depiction of Music through the Medium of Paintings in the Indian Tradition
Author Richa Jain
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173914966
length xvi+180p., Tables; Plates; Graphs; References; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.