This book is a step-by-step practical guide to North Indian music. With the help of this book, the reader can understand the basic aspects of North Indian music and learn to appreciate it better. It describes the ten basic ra.gs of North Indian classical music. It also gives instructions on how to sing and how to play the musical instruments. This book describes the tonal patterns and the tonal embellishments. By following the practical exercises given in this book, you can train your voice, sing notes correctly, develop you own ability to improvise, and make your own tonal patterns. This book is your guide to creating and singing your own ra.g.
Dr. Indurama Srivastava did M.A. in Sanskrit from Allahabad University, obtained Master of Music from Banaras Hindu University, and PhD. In Musicology from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. Her earlier book was on Dhrupad. She lives in The Netherlands and is actively involved in Indian music.
A Practical Guide to North Indian Classical Vocal Music is for those who want to learn the practical aspects of Indian Classical vocal music. Indian Classical vocal music consists of two main styles, viz., dhru.pad and khya.i. this book deals only with the khya.l style.
Many books have been written on Indian music. They generally deal only with the theory of Indian music. The books that cover the practical aspects are mostly written in Hindi. Besides that, in these books very little attention is paid to the needs of the uninitiated but well-interested person who desires to learn the basic essentials and practical aspects of Indian music. Some of the well-known Hindi books are: Pt. V.N. Bhatkhande's series Hindustani Sangita Paddhati Kramika Pustaka Malika, Pt. V.N. Patvardhan's series Raga Vijnana, Pt. Onkar Nath Thakur's series Sangitanjali, Pt. N.L. Gune's series Sangita Pravina Darsika, Pt. Ramashraya Jha's series Abhinava Gitanjali, Pt. J.N. Pathak's series Raga Darpana, and Prof. Harishchandra Srivastava's series Madhura Svara-lipi Sangrah. They are excellent book. They give a detailed description of the ra.gs along with their compositions. Since they are in Hindi, people who do not have knowledge of Hindi cannot benefit from them. Moreover, these books give no guidance on practical aspects such as how to sit, how to play the instrument, and how to train the voice required for Indian music. All these subjects are dealt with in the present book. In addition, this book gives the delineation of the ten basic ra.gs also in staff notation.
There are three chapters and an appendix in this book. Chapter one outlines the characteristic features of the two current systems of Indian music. It also mentions which system is popular in which province. The nomenclature of the notes of both North Indian and South Indian systems are given. A table of classification of the ten basic melodic scales (tha.ts) of the North Indian system along with their ra.gs is given and the tone material of a representative ra.g of each tha.t is also provided. This table is useful for beginners and helps them see in one glance which particular ra.g belongs to which melodic family (tha.t).
All the styles of North Indian vocal music have been explained with a short description. A description of the musical instruments used for vocal music has also been included along with the photographs.
Chapter two deals with the basic exercises. With the help of these exercises a learner can train his/her voice and sing the compositions of North Indian Classical music in the right way. How to play the harmonium and the tan. Pu.ra have also been explained.
A set of exercises is given in this chapter to help students develop the ability to improvise.
In addition, practical exercises for learning the tonal embellishments are given so that a learner can understand these and train his/her voice accordingly.
The third chapter focuses on the rendering of a ra.g in khya.l style of North Indian system. This is followed by the delineation of the ten basic ra.gs. There are three different compositions given for each ra.g. the first composition is complete with examples of improvisation in both slow and fast tempos. The other two compositions are provided only with Hindi texts along with their meanings. The name of the ta.l and the number of beats a ta.l contains, are mentioned with all the compositions.
The appendix gives the transcription of the above mentioned compositions and improvisations in staff notation. The transcription is done by Mrs. Nelly van Ree Bernard. It is especially aimed at those who can only read notes in staff notation. These compositions are not only meant for singing but can also be played on musical instruments.
Most compositions that I have mentioned in this book are those that I learned from my first teacher Sri Nawab Ali Khan of Kheri. Some of these compositions are also mentioned in Pt. Bhatkhande's series but here and there they differ in melody and text.
In the index where a name of a ra.g. is mentioned, a name of the tha.t is also written in brackets.
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