Friday, July 15, 2011

Listening to Hindustani Music

Listening to Hindustani Music

This is an excellent introduction to the subject of Indian music. One of my favourite books, picked up from the pavement (from bookseller Balasundaram who died in 2005, who gave me so many of the books in my collection and featured in this blog). Published by ‘Priya Adarkar, Orient Longman Ltd., Kamani Marg, Ballard Estate, Bombay 400038 in 1976, and by Sangam Books, a division of Orient Longman Ltd as a Sangam Original).

It has short but detailed chapters on topics such as Indian and Western music, Hindustani and Karnatak Music, Ragamalika paintings, Aesthetics, emotion and Rasa, Music criticism in India, Ravi Shankar and the West, and critical appraisals of musicians such as Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pannalal Ghosh and Kumar Gandharva.

The author (b. 1936) taught English literature at the University of Rajasthan, and clearly understands Western music as well as Indian, which is why this book is such a delight to read. I don’t know if there have been any reprints. I think it deserves to be read today and in future.

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