This book presents in a simple but insightful way the fundamentals of sitar and Indian classical music. It contains practical exercises for the sitar student. A very useful book for the serious student of sitar.
Acharya Manfred M. Junius was born in Germany in 1929. He studied Indian Classical Music an Musicology for 18 years in various centers of India, and sat at the feet of great masters such as Prof. Shushill Branja, Prof. Banwarilal, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Asad Ali Khan and Pandit Gopal Das.
He has given many recitals of Indian Classical Music all over India and abroad. He also broadcasts from different Indian radio stations and has appeared a number of times on TV; he composed music for films and made records.
Although born a foreigner, he was called to join the jury of the All Indian Drama Music and Dance Festival held in Gwalior (1961) as judge for instruments music competitions, and in 1964 he was an Indian Delegate to the East West Music Congress in New Delhi.
The Istituto Internazionale di Musica Comparata of Venice and Berlin commissioned him to provide the materials for the Unesco collection of Indian Music. The Sangit Samiti of Allahabad, India's largest and most important Music Academy, invested him with a Professorship with the purpose t teach abroad.
Acharya Manfred M. Junius is also a qualified Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner and teacher, as well as a painter and graphic artist of distinction. He is living at present in Australia, where he directs the production of a Government controlled pharmacological industry known as Australerba.
The dream of Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, one of the greatest musicians that India has produced in the twentieth century, has become a reality in our days inasmuch as Indian Classical Music is now being performed and practised throughout the world. The credit for this, in a very large measure, goes to the Prayag Sangit Samiti, one of the leading Academic Institution devoted to the work of teaching and propagating the knowledge and practice of Indian Music through its affiliated Academic Institutions all over Indian as well as abroad.
Indian music is now represented at almost all the International Music Festivals, and a number of Westerners have taken up the serious study and practice of it. The system of Indian Classical Music is taking its rightful place in the world besides Western Music and Jazz.
It gives me great pleasure to recommend this work of Prof. M. Junius to all lovers of Indian Classical Music in general and to Western students in particular, as it is based on sound knowledge of traditional training methods and constitutes a very important and creditable effort to help the study and practice of the Sitar, one of the most melodious and widely played string instruments of Indian.
Acharya Junius, who has been one of my most favourite and be-loved students for many years, has attained a high degree of proficiency in the art of playing the Sitar as well as the Surbahar, and I feel confident that this work of his which consists of graded exercises for the study and practice of the Sitar will enable students to learn this art and prepare themselves for higher studies in the field of Indian Classical Music.
I have no doubt that this book will be highly appreciated by all lovers of music in Indian and abroad.
This manual is intended to be of help to the Western Sitar student. Apart from providing some information about the instrument and its ancestors and relatives it contains a number of graded exercise which, in themselves, constitute a systematic method of basic training. With a certain amount of experience and practice the player can invent further similar exercises on his own.
All the exercises given are based on long experience of distinguished musicians and teachers, and all of them can be played in the different Thatas, this will prepare the student for later studies of the Ragas. These are eight Sargams which will give the player a first glimpse of some of the Ragas, anything beyond these would be outside the scope of this present manual.
From the beginning the player should get used to the Indian names of the notes and the Indian system of notation in Romanized characters. Gradually he may also learn the equivalent Devana-gari characters. Notes should always be called by their short names, i.e. Sa, Re, Ga, Ma etc., as they have been given on page twenty-five.
I wish to express my gratitude to Pandit Ravi Shankar, who gave the Sargams and many of the exercises to me and my fellow students while we were being taught by him in Bombay. Other exercises have been selected from those given by Shri Banwarilal, Professor at the Prayag Sangit Samiti (Vishnu Digambar Academy of Music) and the University Colleges of Allahabad, who initiated me in many mysteries of Indian Classical Music during my years of post-graduate studies at the forementioned Academy. Again other exercises are form the stock of my first, never to be for-gotten teacher, Prof. Shushil Bhanja, who taught me the fundamentals during my early years of study at Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan, and through whose excellent Alap I was later inspired to taken up my own principle instrument, the Surbahar.
Thanks are also due to Mr. Arvind Parikh, distinguished Sitarist and disciple of Ustad Vilayet Khan. To him I am indebted for information regarding his Gharana as well as for many hours of stimulating conversation.
To Mr. Thomas Marcotty I should like to express my thanks for his valuble paper on Javari making which concludes this manual. The author is not only very knowledgeable in all aspects of Indian classical music but also in the secrets of instrument making which he studied in Indian.
Finally I must mention Professor Alain Danielou, Director of the International Institutes of Comparative Music Studies at Berlin and Venice, whose valuable suggestions have been also of great help.
Music cannot be learned from a book alone. The player should spend as much time as possible with a qualified teacher and have himself checked as often as the can. He should also spend much time in listening to good Indian Classical Music of all varieties, preferably live music but also recording. I hope that practicing Sitarists will find this book useful.
I. Indian String Instruments
II. The Vina, Ancestor of the Sitar
III. The Sitar
IV. The Technique of Playing
V. Graded Exercises
VI. Meend, the Lateral Deflection of the String
X. A Sitar Performance
XI. Maintenance of the Instrument
Djovari: Giving Life to the Sitar, by Thomas Marcotty
Glossary of Terms
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