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Musical Heritage of India

Lalita Ramakrishna (Author)

Nataraj is not only the lord of dance and rhythm but symbolises classical music as well. His body is made of melody (Nada Tanu) and he shares this propensity with Saraswati, his sister.

India’s heritage of music is yet to be discovered and fully appreciated. Planted in the rich soil of mythology, philosophy and folk idiom, classical music has sprouted foliage and flowers of exquisite beauty.

This book is a pleasing work that will satisfy the general reader as well as the serious student. A knowledge of raga, tala and musical form is necessary to fully enjoy a concert. In addition, we need to know the basic differences between the two sister systems – the Hindustani and the Karnatak. Both these highly complex art forms originate from the same ancient tradition.

The first section explains these pre-historic beginnings. The idea of raga, the method of calculating time in rhythm, the profusion of musical instruments form this ancient musical heritage. The old Prabandhas are the precursors of the modern Khayal, Tarana or Kriti.

The second section chronicles the evolution of Hindustani music from Tansen to the present day. The ragas and the ‘Thaats’ (basic scales) on which they are based has been clarified. Chapters on the important musical instruments along with the ustads, on the Tala and Theka structures and renowned percussion experts, on musical forms and their gharanas – give the different aspects. Ragamala paintings are an important part of music history and theory.

The third section is on Karnatak music. It deals with the historical progress of this genre. The major vidwans from the 14 c A.D. till today are chronicled. The highly scientific Mela (scale) system that encompasses the ragas, the mathematical accuracy of talal rhythms, the importance or words and lyric in the Kriti and Pallavi forms, the various important musical instruments, - are all given in succinct form. At relevant points, the contrast and the similarities between the two systems are shown. A brief look at the modern trends and fusion music completes the book.

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About the author

Lalita Ramakrishna

Lalita Ramakrishna has a deep love for India philosophy and culture and specially for its classical tradition of music. After doing M. Phil in English Literature (C.I.E.F.L.), she acquired a doctorate in Karnataka music (Delhi University). She hopes this book will excite the curiosity of readers and lead them on to a further quest of India cultural heritage. It will expand their horizons, laterally, to cover the Northern as well as the Southern systems of Music. It will also dive into the depths of the past and conduct the reader all the way up to the contemporary scene. Lalita Ramakrishna has explored the classical music scene and located the essential unity between the Hindustan and Karnatak systems. She has explained the nature of the elusive elements of Raga, Laya and Sruti in a clear manner. Other publications by the author are: The Varnam; Time and the Self in Samuel Beckett; Puzzle your way through Indian Mythology.

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Bibliographic information

Title Musical Heritage of India
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2012
Edition 2nd ed.
Language: English
isbn 8182902592, 9788182902596
length 291p., Illustrations; 68p. of Plates; Glossary; 28cm.