All rich, durable and varied cultural traditions thrive because of their presence in multiple contexts. Hindustani music is no exception. Arts, culture and life have shaped the multi- faceted personality of Indian music. Through this mechanism the performing and scholastic streams of Hindustani music have evolved to crystallize the totality of inherited and practiced musical knowledge.
The resulting musico-cultural profile is both rich and complex! Therefore the author thought it useful to combine two approaches of presenting source material, namely, the thesaurus and dictionary approaches. While the thesaurus approach seeks to provide larger contexts, the dictionary format supplies factual information and meanings. Together, the approaches make it easier to appreciate the larger map of Indian music.
Through three hundred entries grouped in three main sections and six subsections, the author deals with etymological, historical, musicological and cultural aspects of Hindustani music. The wide information base and the in-depth entries make the work valuable for keen general readers, researchers and practitioners interested in knowing more about their own art.
Sangeetacharya Ashok Da. Ranade is a vocalist (Hindustani classical), musicologist, voice-culturist and ethnomusicologist. He has composed music for plays, documentaries and films. His writings in Marathi and English on music and theatre are widely appreciated and read throughout India and the world. Broad cultural vision, rigorous analysis, clarity and thought-provoking presentation are his strengths. He seeks to explore everything that is touched by music.
Dr. Ranade's publications include: Sangeetache Saundaryashatra (1971),
Loksangeetshastra (1975), Stravinskyche Sangeetik Saundaryashastra (1975), On Music and Musicians of Hindoostan (1984), Marathi Stage Music (1986), Maharashtra : Art Music (1989), Keywords and Concepts:
Hindustani Classical Music (1990), Music and Drama in India (1991), Indology and Ethnomusicology: Contours of the Indo-British Relationship (1992), Bhashanrang-Vyaspeeth te Rangpeeth (1995), Hindustani Music (1998), Essays in Indian Ethnomusicology (1998) Vyaspeeth te Rangpeeth (1995), Hindustani Music (1998), and Essays in Indian Ethnomuiscology (1998).
He also has audio-albums to his credit: Baithakichi Lavani (1989), Devgani (1991), a multi-media album on Gangubai Hangal (1988) and Devi Ahilyabai (2005) - a sound track
I learnt Hindustani vocal music in the well-known guru- shishya tradition. Hence I never asked questions but ab- sorbed innumerable insights which gradually fell into a well-knit pattern during a period of about twenty years. In a performance-oriented tradition this was but natural.
The training convinced me that theory and practice of music cohere better when performers themselves theories. It soon became clear that the so-called 'illiterate' performers have been theorizing all through the centuries, both verbally and non-verbally! They theorized and performed almost simultaneously. In the final analysis, relationship of all performing art to other life areas ensured that a majority of theorisations became verbalised to form a scholastic tradition.
Thus was created a majestic edifice of concepts and terms that echoes the life of music to a great extent. To understand these is to map the musical behaviour.
To bring together themes, concepts and terms led inevitably to the Amarkosha-format. The original plan envisaged including sections on music education and scholarship, folk and primitive music, popular music and music and culture.
I hope to do so in the near future.
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