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Books > Performing Arts > Companion to North Indian Classical Music
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Companion to North Indian Classical Music
Companion to North Indian Classical Music
Description
Foreword:

I have known Shri Satyendra Krishen Sen Chib (S.K.S Chib) for a long time, beginning in the late forties when he was a staff member of All India Radio Lucknow and used to broadcast violin recitals, and then later as a senior civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service. In the 1970s he was Commissioner of Rewa Division in Madhya Pradesh where Maihar, my ancestral home is located. Maihar is now associated with the revered memory of my late father, Acharya Baba Allauddin Khansahib. He then moved to New Delhi as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and was appropriately put in charge of AIR and Doordarshan. Notwithstanding Shri Chib's career in the IAS, where he has held various senior positions in the Central and State Governments, music has always been his first love. He is quite a fine violinist in his own right and a devoted musicologist interested in the study and promotion of Indian classical music. His long association with music has now resulted, after his retirement, in the present book, a comprehensive dictionary of North Indian or Hindustani classical music. I have read the book with great interest and pleasure. It is a lucid and detailed presentation of a large number of topics related to Hindustani music. It contains definitions and explanations of important terms, descriptions of musical instruments, biographies of notable musicians and personalities, chronology of historical developments, and a detailed treatment of North Indian ragas, tals, and other musical forms and structures. This is truly a work of great scholarship that reveals the author's deep understanding of the nuances and intricacies of Indian classical music in general and North Indian classical music in particular. The author reflects in this work his practical musical experience, his theoretical comprehension, and his ability to communicate in a clear language.

I am sure that musicians, music scholars and general readers both in India and abroad will find this reference work extremely useful. I should help in the better understanding and appreciation of Indian classical music and of its rich traditions and heritage. This detailed survey is more than a dictionary; it is almost a short encyclopedia of Hindustani music.

Preface:

Indian Classical Music is a fascinating subject reflecting a glorious tradition from ancient times. It does not have a symphonic structure, but it has a rich melodious content and texture. The soul of Indian Classical Music is the inter-play of melody and rhythm. Thanks to eminent contemporary musicians like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Kishori Amonkar and many others who have had very successful concerts abroad which have increasingly evoked enthusiastic response amongst audiences, there is already a worldwide interest in the theory and practice of Indian Classical Music. In India itself also classical music is attracting increasing interest not only of the discriminating listeners but amongst the younger generation in the universities, promoted and encouraged by organizations and societies like Spic Macay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical music Amongst Youth). In the West there are centres and institutes for study of Indian music which have come up in California in USA, London, Paris, Rotterdam, and Berlin. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has established a College of Music at San Rafael near San Francisco and one of his students Ken Zuckerman, sarodist is running a school of Indian music at Basle in Switzerland. In London the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin the world famous violinist had lifelong love affair with Indian Classical Music originally inspired by the music of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, sitar and sarod maestros, with his personal contacts with them, and had encouraged the study of Indian music amongst Western scholars and musicians. After the interest taken by certain British civil servants, and Indian musicologists, pre-eminent amongst whom is Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande, in the beginning of the twentieth century, in Indian Classical Music, several scholarly studies have emerged subsequently in recent years from musicologists and musicians in the West as well as in India who have written extensively on Indian music either in the form of books or in the form of dissertations on various selected aspects of classical music. Some of these authors and their publications have been referred in the section on Musicology and in the Bibliography of this book. Many of these books that have been published in the last 50 years or so are either too technical or not comprehensive enough. This author who has been associated with Hindustani Classical Music as a student and as a performing instrumentalist, notwithstanding his long professional career in the Indian Administrative Service, after a stint in All India Radio, has always felt that no single book in English provides a comprehensive or a total view of the theory and practice of North Indian Hindustani Classical Music. After the one monumental work by Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande at the beginning of this century in Hindi and English by both Indian and Western scholars on different aspects of Indian music have been published. Some of these are quite useful, but none contains a total view of the subject in a single compact volume. Thus there is a great need for easily available reference material in a book in English that can satisfy the curiosity and needs of the general enthusiast of North Indian Hindustani Classical Music as well as serious students of and/or practitioners of Indian Classical Music.

Moreover, many of the books in English which have appeared have had the theme of Indian Classical Music without focusing particular attention to North Indian Hindustani Classical Music which has in the last three or four centuries grown and developed in its own right. Although the roots of Indian Classical Music whether it is North Indian or South Indian (usually referred to as Karnatic music) may be the same and there may be similarities also but with the passage of time there are wide divergences in performances styles as well as in certain theoretical aspects of ragas and the forms of music. Thus there is an obvious gap which needs to be bridged. The purpose of this Companion is to provide in one place balanced and fairly comprehensive information focused on North Indian Hindustani Classical Music for students of the subject and practicing musicians (of course Ustads, Pandits, and maestros excluded!) and also for the general and discriminating reader and listener who has had some acquaintance with and appreciates classical music but wants to understand it better.

This book is not a textbook or a thesis on the art and science of Indian Classical Music. It also does not claim to be an encyclopaedia but it may be approaching that end, as its range and sweep and the detailed information it contains is much more than a Dictionary of Hindustani Classical music would ordinarily provide. Some dictionaries of Indian Music, it may be mentioned, are in existence already; including the one by late Raghav R. Menon and published by Penguin in 1995. This Companion is more modeled on the basic type of a information contained in Penguin's Dictionary of Europoean Music by R. Illings first published in 1950 and in the Oxford Companion to Music(European). I have however, been encouraged really by the concept of the type of study and information incorporated about English literature in the well-known Oxford Companion to English Literature, revised edition of which has also appeared sometime ago, besides its shorter version, which prompted and stimulated me to undertake a similar venture for North Indian Classical Music on a relatively smaller scale. This book is, therefore, also not a Dictionary in as much, that unlike a dictionary of language where an individual word can be amenable to a short compact and precise definition, musical terms, forms and structures which involve abstract concepts require an explanation and not a mere description. Sometimes reference to performance styles of artists, etc, even requires a critical comment or analysis. A historical narrative of developments also becomes necessary as well and some of the musical terms are also interconnected, and occasionally cross-references in the text for the sake of clarity are also inescapable. This should however, not be mistaken for avoidable repetition.

This Companion to North Indian Classical Music thus contains wide ranging information arranged alphabetically on technical terms, artist and performers, Indian musical instruments, basic thaats and scales and fairly detailed notes on about 350 North Indian Ragas in prevalent use and their scales. The main text contains a detailed review of the principal ragas and Appendix A, classifies these ragas under various thaats or primary scales, with an abstract of the scales in both Indian and European solfa notation besides their performances times, etc. Apart from treatment of the ragas, a description of various taals and rhythm structures has been given. The current work of course tries to focus principally on North Indian Hindustani Classical Music although wherever necessary comparative references to South Indian Music have also been incorporated. When meaningful, for comparison and contrast references are also made to European Classical Music as well. The Companion, also includes historical references, notes on distinguished artist and performers of the twentieth century, past and present, and comprehensive information about various technical terms that are used in North Indian Hindustani Music. References to treatises and books on Indian music, both ancient and recent are included also. In all about more than 1200 items have been covered in about 1,20,000 words in a straightforward language. Although subjects have been alphabetically arranged the text of the book can be read as a continuous narrative to provide insights into various aspects of Hindustani Music.

A word about the Indian notation used in the book, A number of different methods of Indian notation are in vogue and have not been standardized. For this reason, this book itself describes and defines the specific nomenclature that has been adopted for notating Indian ragas in this book. (Refer to caption, 'Notation' under letter 'N'.) By including information in both Indian and European scales, this book should be of special interest to musicians in India and abroad.

Any work on Indian classical music is hampered by the absence of adequate source material. The author has relied on books on Indian music available in English, his own studies and notes and information from personal conversations and discussion with eminent artists/musicians spread over a period of several years. There are some ancient treatises on music in Sanskrit: these are mentioned in the book but most of these have become outdated. Traditional Indian Classical Music underwent a sea change in the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries under the impact of Mohammedan influences and a revolution ushered in by Amir Khusro. These twin influences are believed to have initiated the development of the new style of Hindustani Classical Music along with the new forms like Dhrupad and Khayal. Some roots of Hindustani Music however, even still lie in South Indian or Karnatic Music. During the Mohammedan and Mughal period when Hindustani Classical Music was developing in its own right, some works and treatises were written in Persian. The information in these sources is difficult to glean because of the problems in interpreting the textural and linguistic content of old texts, and also because the classical languages like Sanskrit and Persian are no longer in common use and this author does not claim any direct knowledge of these texts. Some writings on Indian music in English appeared around the turn of this century, for example, The Music of Hindustan by A. Fox-Strangways and H.A. Popley's Music of India. Most of the earlier twentieth century ustads and maestros like Abdul Karim Khan (Kirana gharana). Alladiya Khan (Jaipur-Atrauli gharana), Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (Patiala gharana), Ustad Faiyaz Khan (Agra gharana), to give a few examples, were essentially performers and not musicologists and left no writings of note. Amongst the instrumentalist maestros, Ustad Hafiz Khan, sarodist who inherited the glorious tradition of the Gwalior School of Rababiars left no substantial writings either. In fact, even the performances of these artists are mostly not available. Those that exist are in the Archives of AIR. It is only after about 1950 that disciples and pupils of the early maestros, now ustads/pandits in their own right like Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan, and Kishori Amonkar, have articulated their musical insights to the general audience. Pandit Ravi Shankar has also written a book entitled My Life My Music. Much earlier, Ustad, Ali Akbar Khan took the message overseas and established a regular college of Indian music named after himself at San Rafael in California in USA that has created serious interest in Indian Classical Music amongst Western students. He is currently engaged in compiling and publishing a series of volumes on bandishes and gats of ragas composed by Ustad Allauddin Khan and himself which will preserve and leave a rich legacy of musical store house for future generations of students and musicians. The late Pandit Kumar Gandharva, an eminent vocalist of classical music and a creative artist who acquired a unique style of singing and also innovated several new ragas, was also a musicologist. Thus, for the first time during the last 40-50 years, artists have appeared on the horizon of Hindustani Classical Music who are not only great performers but also musicologists. The interest in North Indian musicology may be said to have started with the writings of Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande. Pandit Bhatkhande attempted to do for Hindustani Classical Music what Venkatamakhi, the scholar musician had done for Karnatic music in the eighteenth century. Bhatkhande's method was pragmatic and inductive, while that of Venkatamakhi was deductive. Where Bhatkhande sought to rationalize, compile and codify the varied and often conflicting strands of North Indian Classical Music, Venkatamakhi deduced a whole system of Karmatic Music on logical principles. One result was Bhatkhande's 10 thaat system of parental scales for ragas of Hindustani Music as these then existed, sacrificing theory for art. On the other hand, Venkatamakhi worked out an almost mathematically perfect system of 72 basic melkarta scales with hundreds of their subordinate janya ragas that are theoretically possible but several are devoid of aesthetic appeal and artistic merit. Pandit Bhatkhande has been followed by several musicologists of note and distinction. (They are mentioned under the item 'Musicology and Musicologists'.) Bhatkhande's system of classification of ragas though basically sound in principle has became somewhat out of date and is now, felt to be inadequate, and besides suffers form certain inconsistencies. Several new ragas of a complex nature, for example Chandranandan, have sprung up with mixed or compound scales which do not quite fit in Bhatkhande's scheme of things, Even an older and simpler raga like Patdeep cannot be classified appropriately under any of the 10 thaats and examples of this type which are several, expose the limitations of the 10 thaats system. For this and alternative scheme of 27 thaats basic scales has been worked out and incorporated in Appendix B of this book. It is suggested that maestro musicians and musicologists should review and study the merits of this scheme. At least it provides an umbrella for classifying practically all the nearly 400 or more ragas of Hindustani Music under one of these 27 scales. Out of these 10 are primary scales; 16 are compound scales, and the last one a residuary scale to fit in any raga not covered by the 26 other scales. For the sake of brevity various ragas have not been apportioned to a particular scale. That requires a separate dissertation beyond the scope of this book. Suffice to say that inadequacies of Bhatkhande classification have been expressed by other musicians and musicologists as well, and amongst them is the eminent musicologist and critic viz., Nazir A. Jairazbhoy who has also suggested a scheme of 32 thaats. It is time that this subject is given serious consideration by musicians for an agreed acceptable scheme of classification, which might be given universal recognition by musicologist and performing musicians of eminence alike. Appendix B has therefore been inserted to initiate a debate on the subject amongst scholars and musicians.

The younger generation of contemporary artists, both vocalist and instrumentalists, who amongst the prominent one figure in the India Today Musical Series of Cassettes and CDs have had the benefit of more general education and are more conscious of 'Musicology' and the technical aspects of music. They are also more articulate in English. This trend has also been encouraged by the growth of radio and television, the availability of cassette and CD recordings of maestros and outstanding artists, the journal of the Sangeet Natak Academy, and the efforts of several organizations and societies like Spic Macay which sponsors lecture demonstrations of Hindustani Classical Music all over the country. In addition, universities and colleges of music have also contributed to the growth of Hindustani musicology during the last half-century. There is also growing interest the general public and enlightened persons both in India and abroad in Northern Indian Classical Music and awareness of its beauty and aesthetic appeal.

Moreover, in a situation of evolutionary changes like those of Hindustani Classical Music certain technical terms in usage, their spellings particularly their English versions, and even structure and scales of certain ragas are not standarised and are not free from controversy amongst different musicologists, gharanas or schools of music and this presents and additional difficulty for the writer of a book of this type, to obviate or minimize which an attempt has been made to accept the most, common usage. It may be appreciated that the roots of most technical terms are derived from Sanskrit and in some cases Persian and other Indian languages like Tamil and Malayalam. Moreover, in the very nature of Indian Classical Music scales of ragas, although an essential framework, are like skeletons without flesh and blood and do not transmit the entire spirit, essence and flavour of a raga. Indian Classical Music, and particularly Hindustani Classical Music, ultimately is to be heard, felt and learnt and accordingly appreciated. For the student it is handed down to him in apprenticeship by the teachers. The tradition is oral and not written Swaras, tals, and ragas and even the bandishes are often spontaneously evolved during performances, unlike the pre-set kritis of Karnatic Music, and if not preset, traditional bandishes also defy analysis. Hence, the importance of Guru-shishya tradition.

An explanation and description of various terms and concepts, the nature or ragas and their scales, and of various instruments, tals and rhythms that are used, besides notes on outstanding artists and performers, as contained in this Companion will, therefore, at least, serve the purpose of increased intellectual understanding and appreciation of Hindustani Classical Music. However, this may still leave room for some controversy in some, cases and even a few bona fide errors of fact or interpretation for which the author accepts responsibility and craves readers indulgence in the hope and expectation that discussion amongst the discriminating readers and critics and musicians on such differences will eventually lead to a resolution of such difficulties in certain theoretical aspects of Hindustani Classical Music and more standardization eventually, comparable to that of Karnatic Music in musicological terms. It is believed that while in North Indian Classical Music theory has often followed practice, in Karnatic Music the opposite has been the case of practice following the theory. It is, however, obvious that time has arrived when North Indian or Hindustani Classical Music deserves to be treated on its own right not merely as a branch of Indian Classical Music in general or as an appendage to South Indian Karnatic Music and this Companion reflects this focus. Terms and information not relevant to Hindustani Classical Music, although relevant for Karnatic Music have, therefore, been generally omitted. The work also excludes from its scope and purview light and folk music.

Inspite of the care exercised, if there are still any factual errors or shortcomings the author is wholly responsible for them and would like the reader to overlook them in the hope that it will be possible to correct and remove them in any future edition of this book for which suggestions are most welcome. I may also mention that it is difficult to include or exclude the names of all contemporary artists and musicians of note. While most of the outstanding and prominent musicians and performers of the twentieth century would have found a mention in this book, it is possible that some of the contemporary artists, particularly of the younger generation who have made a mark either as artists on All India Radio and Doordarshan or on the concert circuit in recent years might not have found a place and got omitted, mostly for lack of adequate information about them with the author. No slight is, however, meant to them and any such omission should not also be treated as a lack of recognition of their merit as artists. My indebtedness and acknowledgements are also due to the various authors who have written about Indian music in English language and who have provided in their writings information and insights into certain aspects of Indian Classical Music particularly to the authors of books published in the last twenty years or so. Some of the books on which I have placed reliance for information and source material in absence of my direct access to Sanskrit texts are listed in Bibliography. As regards the scales and interpretation of ragas of Hindustani Music there is room for difference of opinion and even controversy as musicians of different gharanas often perform the same raga in a different manner. I have interpreted the scales of the ragas and the structure of the ragas from the most commonly accepted prevalent usage, or form my own experience as a former member of the staff of AIR Lucknow during late forties in charge of planning and production of music programmes and as a performing violinist. In case of doubt I have tried to rely on the scales of ragas and their interpretation of the Agra gharana–being a former student of a disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Khan viz., late Sardar Sohan Singh as well as on the Maihar gharana of Ustad Allauddin Khan which has ever been a source of inspiration to me. I also acknowledge indebtedness to some excellent descriptions of ragas, scales and structures contained in the notes and jacket material available with the Music Today Series of Cassettes and CDs and also to the notes written by artists themselves regarding their own performances of certain ragas. I also wish to record my thanks to all those interested in Indian Classical Music and friends who have encouraged me to write this book. My particular appreciation is also placed on record of the secretarial assistance and voluminous typing work rendered by a number of stenographers and stenotypists of whom a particular mention may be made of Shri R. K. Patra. I am grateful to the publishers Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi who have had long experience of publishing books on Indian music, art, culture, history and philosophy and particularly to Shri Devendra Jain their Managing Director for not only having accepted this manuscript for publication but also giving valuable suggestions which resulted in a significant improvement in the original draft of the manuscript. I am also particularly grateful to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, sarod maestro and a doyen amongst Indian musicians, to have taken interest in this project and for writing a Foreword to this book. Overall I trust this Companion to North Indian Classical Music should be of great interest and utility to teachers, students and practitioners of Indian music, general readers and musicians, both in India and abroad.

About the Book

With growing interest in North Indian classical music, both in India and abroad, in spite of several books on specific topics which have appeared in recent times, there is a need for comprehensive reference book in English which will give adequate and precise information on various aspects of North Indian or Hindustani classical music at one place. For intelligent readers who wish to know more about it and appreciate it and also to students and practicing musicians this Companion serves to fill this gap. With more than 1200 entries, this book gives in an intelligible and straightforward manner information about various ragas of Hindustani music and their scales and performance tiems, tals used, its structure and ethos, nomenclature and terms in currency; historical background and development of forms, and various genres the gharanas: biographical notes about outstanding artists and performance, both vocalists and instrumentalists of the twentieth century besides musicologists of note and information about various musical instruments and their evolution. Notation used in the book is explained in the Preface and in the book itself. Appendices also include a comprehensive list of ragas and their scales, etc. and Discography giving details of cassettes and CDs to facilitate listening to good music, and performances by maestros. This Companion should be of interest not only to the general should be of interest not only to the general readers but musicians as well, although not necessarily intended for ustads and maestros, both in India and abroad.

About the Author

Satyendra K. Sen Chib (b. 1926 at Ferozepur, Punjab) had his education at Govt. College, Ludhiana and Govt. College, Lahore and has a Master's in English literature. From a young age he had an active interest in classical music and was trained as a practicing violinist. He broadcast violin recitals from Lahore and Lucknow Station of AIR in the forties. Later he competed and Joined Indian Administrative Service in 1951 and held senior assignments both in the Madhya Pradesh and Central Governments. His postings include those of Principal Secretary of several Departments in Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, besides Commissioner Rewa division; Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, where he was incharge of AIR and Doordarshan and subsequently Joint Secretary Department of Mines, Ministry of Steel and Mines; Managing Director, Food Corporation of India and Vice-Chairman, Central Administrative tribunal at Jabalpur from where he retired in 1991.

Contents

Foreword

Preface

Companion

Appendices

  1. Alphabetical List of Hindustani Ragas with Abstract of Scales and other Particulars

  2. Possible 27 Basic Scales (Thaats) - Alternative Classification

  3. Awards to Musicians

  4. Discography - Selected Catalogue of Cassettes, CDs, and LPs
Bibliography

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Companion to North Indian Classical Music

Item Code:
IDD859
Cover:
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Edition:
2004
ISBN:
81-215-1090-2
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520
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Foreword:

I have known Shri Satyendra Krishen Sen Chib (S.K.S Chib) for a long time, beginning in the late forties when he was a staff member of All India Radio Lucknow and used to broadcast violin recitals, and then later as a senior civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service. In the 1970s he was Commissioner of Rewa Division in Madhya Pradesh where Maihar, my ancestral home is located. Maihar is now associated with the revered memory of my late father, Acharya Baba Allauddin Khansahib. He then moved to New Delhi as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and was appropriately put in charge of AIR and Doordarshan. Notwithstanding Shri Chib's career in the IAS, where he has held various senior positions in the Central and State Governments, music has always been his first love. He is quite a fine violinist in his own right and a devoted musicologist interested in the study and promotion of Indian classical music. His long association with music has now resulted, after his retirement, in the present book, a comprehensive dictionary of North Indian or Hindustani classical music. I have read the book with great interest and pleasure. It is a lucid and detailed presentation of a large number of topics related to Hindustani music. It contains definitions and explanations of important terms, descriptions of musical instruments, biographies of notable musicians and personalities, chronology of historical developments, and a detailed treatment of North Indian ragas, tals, and other musical forms and structures. This is truly a work of great scholarship that reveals the author's deep understanding of the nuances and intricacies of Indian classical music in general and North Indian classical music in particular. The author reflects in this work his practical musical experience, his theoretical comprehension, and his ability to communicate in a clear language.

I am sure that musicians, music scholars and general readers both in India and abroad will find this reference work extremely useful. I should help in the better understanding and appreciation of Indian classical music and of its rich traditions and heritage. This detailed survey is more than a dictionary; it is almost a short encyclopedia of Hindustani music.

Preface:

Indian Classical Music is a fascinating subject reflecting a glorious tradition from ancient times. It does not have a symphonic structure, but it has a rich melodious content and texture. The soul of Indian Classical Music is the inter-play of melody and rhythm. Thanks to eminent contemporary musicians like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Kishori Amonkar and many others who have had very successful concerts abroad which have increasingly evoked enthusiastic response amongst audiences, there is already a worldwide interest in the theory and practice of Indian Classical Music. In India itself also classical music is attracting increasing interest not only of the discriminating listeners but amongst the younger generation in the universities, promoted and encouraged by organizations and societies like Spic Macay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical music Amongst Youth). In the West there are centres and institutes for study of Indian music which have come up in California in USA, London, Paris, Rotterdam, and Berlin. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has established a College of Music at San Rafael near San Francisco and one of his students Ken Zuckerman, sarodist is running a school of Indian music at Basle in Switzerland. In London the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin the world famous violinist had lifelong love affair with Indian Classical Music originally inspired by the music of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, sitar and sarod maestros, with his personal contacts with them, and had encouraged the study of Indian music amongst Western scholars and musicians. After the interest taken by certain British civil servants, and Indian musicologists, pre-eminent amongst whom is Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande, in the beginning of the twentieth century, in Indian Classical Music, several scholarly studies have emerged subsequently in recent years from musicologists and musicians in the West as well as in India who have written extensively on Indian music either in the form of books or in the form of dissertations on various selected aspects of classical music. Some of these authors and their publications have been referred in the section on Musicology and in the Bibliography of this book. Many of these books that have been published in the last 50 years or so are either too technical or not comprehensive enough. This author who has been associated with Hindustani Classical Music as a student and as a performing instrumentalist, notwithstanding his long professional career in the Indian Administrative Service, after a stint in All India Radio, has always felt that no single book in English provides a comprehensive or a total view of the theory and practice of North Indian Hindustani Classical Music. After the one monumental work by Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande at the beginning of this century in Hindi and English by both Indian and Western scholars on different aspects of Indian music have been published. Some of these are quite useful, but none contains a total view of the subject in a single compact volume. Thus there is a great need for easily available reference material in a book in English that can satisfy the curiosity and needs of the general enthusiast of North Indian Hindustani Classical Music as well as serious students of and/or practitioners of Indian Classical Music.

Moreover, many of the books in English which have appeared have had the theme of Indian Classical Music without focusing particular attention to North Indian Hindustani Classical Music which has in the last three or four centuries grown and developed in its own right. Although the roots of Indian Classical Music whether it is North Indian or South Indian (usually referred to as Karnatic music) may be the same and there may be similarities also but with the passage of time there are wide divergences in performances styles as well as in certain theoretical aspects of ragas and the forms of music. Thus there is an obvious gap which needs to be bridged. The purpose of this Companion is to provide in one place balanced and fairly comprehensive information focused on North Indian Hindustani Classical Music for students of the subject and practicing musicians (of course Ustads, Pandits, and maestros excluded!) and also for the general and discriminating reader and listener who has had some acquaintance with and appreciates classical music but wants to understand it better.

This book is not a textbook or a thesis on the art and science of Indian Classical Music. It also does not claim to be an encyclopaedia but it may be approaching that end, as its range and sweep and the detailed information it contains is much more than a Dictionary of Hindustani Classical music would ordinarily provide. Some dictionaries of Indian Music, it may be mentioned, are in existence already; including the one by late Raghav R. Menon and published by Penguin in 1995. This Companion is more modeled on the basic type of a information contained in Penguin's Dictionary of Europoean Music by R. Illings first published in 1950 and in the Oxford Companion to Music(European). I have however, been encouraged really by the concept of the type of study and information incorporated about English literature in the well-known Oxford Companion to English Literature, revised edition of which has also appeared sometime ago, besides its shorter version, which prompted and stimulated me to undertake a similar venture for North Indian Classical Music on a relatively smaller scale. This book is, therefore, also not a Dictionary in as much, that unlike a dictionary of language where an individual word can be amenable to a short compact and precise definition, musical terms, forms and structures which involve abstract concepts require an explanation and not a mere description. Sometimes reference to performance styles of artists, etc, even requires a critical comment or analysis. A historical narrative of developments also becomes necessary as well and some of the musical terms are also interconnected, and occasionally cross-references in the text for the sake of clarity are also inescapable. This should however, not be mistaken for avoidable repetition.

This Companion to North Indian Classical Music thus contains wide ranging information arranged alphabetically on technical terms, artist and performers, Indian musical instruments, basic thaats and scales and fairly detailed notes on about 350 North Indian Ragas in prevalent use and their scales. The main text contains a detailed review of the principal ragas and Appendix A, classifies these ragas under various thaats or primary scales, with an abstract of the scales in both Indian and European solfa notation besides their performances times, etc. Apart from treatment of the ragas, a description of various taals and rhythm structures has been given. The current work of course tries to focus principally on North Indian Hindustani Classical Music although wherever necessary comparative references to South Indian Music have also been incorporated. When meaningful, for comparison and contrast references are also made to European Classical Music as well. The Companion, also includes historical references, notes on distinguished artist and performers of the twentieth century, past and present, and comprehensive information about various technical terms that are used in North Indian Hindustani Music. References to treatises and books on Indian music, both ancient and recent are included also. In all about more than 1200 items have been covered in about 1,20,000 words in a straightforward language. Although subjects have been alphabetically arranged the text of the book can be read as a continuous narrative to provide insights into various aspects of Hindustani Music.

A word about the Indian notation used in the book, A number of different methods of Indian notation are in vogue and have not been standardized. For this reason, this book itself describes and defines the specific nomenclature that has been adopted for notating Indian ragas in this book. (Refer to caption, 'Notation' under letter 'N'.) By including information in both Indian and European scales, this book should be of special interest to musicians in India and abroad.

Any work on Indian classical music is hampered by the absence of adequate source material. The author has relied on books on Indian music available in English, his own studies and notes and information from personal conversations and discussion with eminent artists/musicians spread over a period of several years. There are some ancient treatises on music in Sanskrit: these are mentioned in the book but most of these have become outdated. Traditional Indian Classical Music underwent a sea change in the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries under the impact of Mohammedan influences and a revolution ushered in by Amir Khusro. These twin influences are believed to have initiated the development of the new style of Hindustani Classical Music along with the new forms like Dhrupad and Khayal. Some roots of Hindustani Music however, even still lie in South Indian or Karnatic Music. During the Mohammedan and Mughal period when Hindustani Classical Music was developing in its own right, some works and treatises were written in Persian. The information in these sources is difficult to glean because of the problems in interpreting the textural and linguistic content of old texts, and also because the classical languages like Sanskrit and Persian are no longer in common use and this author does not claim any direct knowledge of these texts. Some writings on Indian music in English appeared around the turn of this century, for example, The Music of Hindustan by A. Fox-Strangways and H.A. Popley's Music of India. Most of the earlier twentieth century ustads and maestros like Abdul Karim Khan (Kirana gharana). Alladiya Khan (Jaipur-Atrauli gharana), Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (Patiala gharana), Ustad Faiyaz Khan (Agra gharana), to give a few examples, were essentially performers and not musicologists and left no writings of note. Amongst the instrumentalist maestros, Ustad Hafiz Khan, sarodist who inherited the glorious tradition of the Gwalior School of Rababiars left no substantial writings either. In fact, even the performances of these artists are mostly not available. Those that exist are in the Archives of AIR. It is only after about 1950 that disciples and pupils of the early maestros, now ustads/pandits in their own right like Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan, and Kishori Amonkar, have articulated their musical insights to the general audience. Pandit Ravi Shankar has also written a book entitled My Life My Music. Much earlier, Ustad, Ali Akbar Khan took the message overseas and established a regular college of Indian music named after himself at San Rafael in California in USA that has created serious interest in Indian Classical Music amongst Western students. He is currently engaged in compiling and publishing a series of volumes on bandishes and gats of ragas composed by Ustad Allauddin Khan and himself which will preserve and leave a rich legacy of musical store house for future generations of students and musicians. The late Pandit Kumar Gandharva, an eminent vocalist of classical music and a creative artist who acquired a unique style of singing and also innovated several new ragas, was also a musicologist. Thus, for the first time during the last 40-50 years, artists have appeared on the horizon of Hindustani Classical Music who are not only great performers but also musicologists. The interest in North Indian musicology may be said to have started with the writings of Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande. Pandit Bhatkhande attempted to do for Hindustani Classical Music what Venkatamakhi, the scholar musician had done for Karnatic music in the eighteenth century. Bhatkhande's method was pragmatic and inductive, while that of Venkatamakhi was deductive. Where Bhatkhande sought to rationalize, compile and codify the varied and often conflicting strands of North Indian Classical Music, Venkatamakhi deduced a whole system of Karmatic Music on logical principles. One result was Bhatkhande's 10 thaat system of parental scales for ragas of Hindustani Music as these then existed, sacrificing theory for art. On the other hand, Venkatamakhi worked out an almost mathematically perfect system of 72 basic melkarta scales with hundreds of their subordinate janya ragas that are theoretically possible but several are devoid of aesthetic appeal and artistic merit. Pandit Bhatkhande has been followed by several musicologists of note and distinction. (They are mentioned under the item 'Musicology and Musicologists'.) Bhatkhande's system of classification of ragas though basically sound in principle has became somewhat out of date and is now, felt to be inadequate, and besides suffers form certain inconsistencies. Several new ragas of a complex nature, for example Chandranandan, have sprung up with mixed or compound scales which do not quite fit in Bhatkhande's scheme of things, Even an older and simpler raga like Patdeep cannot be classified appropriately under any of the 10 thaats and examples of this type which are several, expose the limitations of the 10 thaats system. For this and alternative scheme of 27 thaats basic scales has been worked out and incorporated in Appendix B of this book. It is suggested that maestro musicians and musicologists should review and study the merits of this scheme. At least it provides an umbrella for classifying practically all the nearly 400 or more ragas of Hindustani Music under one of these 27 scales. Out of these 10 are primary scales; 16 are compound scales, and the last one a residuary scale to fit in any raga not covered by the 26 other scales. For the sake of brevity various ragas have not been apportioned to a particular scale. That requires a separate dissertation beyond the scope of this book. Suffice to say that inadequacies of Bhatkhande classification have been expressed by other musicians and musicologists as well, and amongst them is the eminent musicologist and critic viz., Nazir A. Jairazbhoy who has also suggested a scheme of 32 thaats. It is time that this subject is given serious consideration by musicians for an agreed acceptable scheme of classification, which might be given universal recognition by musicologist and performing musicians of eminence alike. Appendix B has therefore been inserted to initiate a debate on the subject amongst scholars and musicians.

The younger generation of contemporary artists, both vocalist and instrumentalists, who amongst the prominent one figure in the India Today Musical Series of Cassettes and CDs have had the benefit of more general education and are more conscious of 'Musicology' and the technical aspects of music. They are also more articulate in English. This trend has also been encouraged by the growth of radio and television, the availability of cassette and CD recordings of maestros and outstanding artists, the journal of the Sangeet Natak Academy, and the efforts of several organizations and societies like Spic Macay which sponsors lecture demonstrations of Hindustani Classical Music all over the country. In addition, universities and colleges of music have also contributed to the growth of Hindustani musicology during the last half-century. There is also growing interest the general public and enlightened persons both in India and abroad in Northern Indian Classical Music and awareness of its beauty and aesthetic appeal.

Moreover, in a situation of evolutionary changes like those of Hindustani Classical Music certain technical terms in usage, their spellings particularly their English versions, and even structure and scales of certain ragas are not standarised and are not free from controversy amongst different musicologists, gharanas or schools of music and this presents and additional difficulty for the writer of a book of this type, to obviate or minimize which an attempt has been made to accept the most, common usage. It may be appreciated that the roots of most technical terms are derived from Sanskrit and in some cases Persian and other Indian languages like Tamil and Malayalam. Moreover, in the very nature of Indian Classical Music scales of ragas, although an essential framework, are like skeletons without flesh and blood and do not transmit the entire spirit, essence and flavour of a raga. Indian Classical Music, and particularly Hindustani Classical Music, ultimately is to be heard, felt and learnt and accordingly appreciated. For the student it is handed down to him in apprenticeship by the teachers. The tradition is oral and not written Swaras, tals, and ragas and even the bandishes are often spontaneously evolved during performances, unlike the pre-set kritis of Karnatic Music, and if not preset, traditional bandishes also defy analysis. Hence, the importance of Guru-shishya tradition.

An explanation and description of various terms and concepts, the nature or ragas and their scales, and of various instruments, tals and rhythms that are used, besides notes on outstanding artists and performers, as contained in this Companion will, therefore, at least, serve the purpose of increased intellectual understanding and appreciation of Hindustani Classical Music. However, this may still leave room for some controversy in some, cases and even a few bona fide errors of fact or interpretation for which the author accepts responsibility and craves readers indulgence in the hope and expectation that discussion amongst the discriminating readers and critics and musicians on such differences will eventually lead to a resolution of such difficulties in certain theoretical aspects of Hindustani Classical Music and more standardization eventually, comparable to that of Karnatic Music in musicological terms. It is believed that while in North Indian Classical Music theory has often followed practice, in Karnatic Music the opposite has been the case of practice following the theory. It is, however, obvious that time has arrived when North Indian or Hindustani Classical Music deserves to be treated on its own right not merely as a branch of Indian Classical Music in general or as an appendage to South Indian Karnatic Music and this Companion reflects this focus. Terms and information not relevant to Hindustani Classical Music, although relevant for Karnatic Music have, therefore, been generally omitted. The work also excludes from its scope and purview light and folk music.

Inspite of the care exercised, if there are still any factual errors or shortcomings the author is wholly responsible for them and would like the reader to overlook them in the hope that it will be possible to correct and remove them in any future edition of this book for which suggestions are most welcome. I may also mention that it is difficult to include or exclude the names of all contemporary artists and musicians of note. While most of the outstanding and prominent musicians and performers of the twentieth century would have found a mention in this book, it is possible that some of the contemporary artists, particularly of the younger generation who have made a mark either as artists on All India Radio and Doordarshan or on the concert circuit in recent years might not have found a place and got omitted, mostly for lack of adequate information about them with the author. No slight is, however, meant to them and any such omission should not also be treated as a lack of recognition of their merit as artists. My indebtedness and acknowledgements are also due to the various authors who have written about Indian music in English language and who have provided in their writings information and insights into certain aspects of Indian Classical Music particularly to the authors of books published in the last twenty years or so. Some of the books on which I have placed reliance for information and source material in absence of my direct access to Sanskrit texts are listed in Bibliography. As regards the scales and interpretation of ragas of Hindustani Music there is room for difference of opinion and even controversy as musicians of different gharanas often perform the same raga in a different manner. I have interpreted the scales of the ragas and the structure of the ragas from the most commonly accepted prevalent usage, or form my own experience as a former member of the staff of AIR Lucknow during late forties in charge of planning and production of music programmes and as a performing violinist. In case of doubt I have tried to rely on the scales of ragas and their interpretation of the Agra gharana–being a former student of a disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Khan viz., late Sardar Sohan Singh as well as on the Maihar gharana of Ustad Allauddin Khan which has ever been a source of inspiration to me. I also acknowledge indebtedness to some excellent descriptions of ragas, scales and structures contained in the notes and jacket material available with the Music Today Series of Cassettes and CDs and also to the notes written by artists themselves regarding their own performances of certain ragas. I also wish to record my thanks to all those interested in Indian Classical Music and friends who have encouraged me to write this book. My particular appreciation is also placed on record of the secretarial assistance and voluminous typing work rendered by a number of stenographers and stenotypists of whom a particular mention may be made of Shri R. K. Patra. I am grateful to the publishers Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi who have had long experience of publishing books on Indian music, art, culture, history and philosophy and particularly to Shri Devendra Jain their Managing Director for not only having accepted this manuscript for publication but also giving valuable suggestions which resulted in a significant improvement in the original draft of the manuscript. I am also particularly grateful to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, sarod maestro and a doyen amongst Indian musicians, to have taken interest in this project and for writing a Foreword to this book. Overall I trust this Companion to North Indian Classical Music should be of great interest and utility to teachers, students and practitioners of Indian music, general readers and musicians, both in India and abroad.

About the Book

With growing interest in North Indian classical music, both in India and abroad, in spite of several books on specific topics which have appeared in recent times, there is a need for comprehensive reference book in English which will give adequate and precise information on various aspects of North Indian or Hindustani classical music at one place. For intelligent readers who wish to know more about it and appreciate it and also to students and practicing musicians this Companion serves to fill this gap. With more than 1200 entries, this book gives in an intelligible and straightforward manner information about various ragas of Hindustani music and their scales and performance tiems, tals used, its structure and ethos, nomenclature and terms in currency; historical background and development of forms, and various genres the gharanas: biographical notes about outstanding artists and performance, both vocalists and instrumentalists of the twentieth century besides musicologists of note and information about various musical instruments and their evolution. Notation used in the book is explained in the Preface and in the book itself. Appendices also include a comprehensive list of ragas and their scales, etc. and Discography giving details of cassettes and CDs to facilitate listening to good music, and performances by maestros. This Companion should be of interest not only to the general should be of interest not only to the general readers but musicians as well, although not necessarily intended for ustads and maestros, both in India and abroad.

About the Author

Satyendra K. Sen Chib (b. 1926 at Ferozepur, Punjab) had his education at Govt. College, Ludhiana and Govt. College, Lahore and has a Master's in English literature. From a young age he had an active interest in classical music and was trained as a practicing violinist. He broadcast violin recitals from Lahore and Lucknow Station of AIR in the forties. Later he competed and Joined Indian Administrative Service in 1951 and held senior assignments both in the Madhya Pradesh and Central Governments. His postings include those of Principal Secretary of several Departments in Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, besides Commissioner Rewa division; Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, where he was incharge of AIR and Doordarshan and subsequently Joint Secretary Department of Mines, Ministry of Steel and Mines; Managing Director, Food Corporation of India and Vice-Chairman, Central Administrative tribunal at Jabalpur from where he retired in 1991.

Contents

Foreword

Preface

Companion

Appendices

  1. Alphabetical List of Hindustani Ragas with Abstract of Scales and other Particulars

  2. Possible 27 Basic Scales (Thaats) - Alternative Classification

  3. Awards to Musicians

  4. Discography - Selected Catalogue of Cassettes, CDs, and LPs
Bibliography

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