Back Of The Book
Rarely do we come across books on musical instruments. And one covering the whole gamut of Indian classical musical instruments is practically unheard of. This book by Dr. Suneera Kasliwal covers almost all instruments in vogue in the classical music scenario of southern and northern India. Apart from delving deep into the history and evolution of each of these instruments, this well-researched book deals with their structural and manufacturing details and the basic techniques of sound production. Beautifully illustrated, this book is recommended for all those who have genuine interest in Indian classical music and instruments.
Born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Dr. Suneera Kasliwal is a renowned sitar exponent. She had her early training from Dr. Sharda Mishra of Jaipur. Later she became a disciple of Late Pt. Lal Mani Mishra, the famous Vichitra veena player and renowned musicologist of Banaras Hindu University (BHU). A gold medallist in Master of Music from BHU, she completed her doctoral programme under Dr. K. C. Gangrade. In 1987 she became a disciple of Pt. Uma Shankar Mishra, under whom she is still learning the intricacies of sitar playing of Maihar Gharana. A recipient of the Sur Mani Award, she was awarded the Pt. Omkar Nath Award in 1979. A regular contributor to AIR, Doordarshan and music journals and magazines, Dr. Kasliwal is currently a senior reader in the Department of Music, Delhi University.
Musical instruments have always played a key role in the development of music through the ages. Although there has always been a parallel stream of instrumental music in Indian classical music, it seems it has not been given as much importance as that given to seems it has not been given as much importance as that given to vocal music. Vocal music has always been the dominant form of art. Because of this attitude, there has not been much awareness amongst the music lovers and students about the instruments, how they are played and the details of their manufacture. No sufficient reading material is available on the subject and no comprehensive studies have been undertaken so far as the manufacturing aspect is concerned. Many students of music are not aware of the details of their own instruments. Moreover, as most of the universities and colleges offer only a few instruments as a part of the curriculum, i.e. the sitar, sarod and tabla, the structural details of other classical instruments remain unknown to them. Visits to museums and instrument galleries are never encouraged, and the situation appears more bleak when we find that whatever material is available is mostly unauthentic, irrational and unresearched. Very often one has to rely upon oral information owing to the nonavailability of written information. Some scholars have reviewed this situation and worked as pioneers in this field, Prof. Lal Mani Misra and Dr. B. C. Deva being in the frontline among them. Bu between them and the present times exist a gap of more than twenty years during which not much work has been done in this area. Therefore, a detailed study of Indian classical musical instruments appears to be imperative.
As an instrumentalist, I have always been fascinated by the vast variety of Indian instruments and their various aspects. Being a teacher, I am also aware of the lack of knowledge of these musical instruments among the students. When I offered to take a year's study leave which the university granted, I took up the study of Indian classical musical instruments, in order not only to enhance my knowledge, but also to serve the social cause.
When I started working on this project, I realized that the material available was scanty and also liable to crosschecking for which the only solution open to me was to go back to the main sources in order to collect first-hand information. Thus, apart from consulting various books, journals, dissertations, news clippings and magazines, I gathered a great deal of information from interviewing various artists, instrument-makers, art connoisseurs and music critics.
Bhartiya Sangeet Vadya by Prof Lal Mani Misra, Musical Instruments of India by Curt Sachs have been the main sources of information. Sita and Sarod in the 18th and 19th Centuries by Allyn Miner and Voice of the Sarangi by Joep Bor proved helpful in various ways. The published reports of workshops and seminars conducted by the Sangeet Research Academy, I. T. C., western region, Mumbai, papers and audio video material of the Veena Samaroh, Sushir Vadya Samaroh, Sarangi Samaroh and Naqqara Samaroh organized by Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal provided vital information regarding the technical and physical aspects of instruments.
This study has been divided into five chapters. In the first wind and string have been elaborated upon. In the fourth chapter, those Western instruments which have formed a regular part of the Indian classical music scenario have been dealt with. In the fifth and last chapter, a relatively new class of instruments, i.e. electronic instruments, have been described.
The most vital part of this work is sketches, which provide detailed information of each and every part of various instruments.
I am deeply indebted to the artists whom I interviewed and who provided me with various details of their respective instruments, especially the artists of the highest caliber like Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pt. Gopal Krishna Sharma, Pt. Budhadeb Dasgupta, Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Pt. V. G. Jog, Pt. Ramnarain, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt. Raghunath Seth, saxophone vidwan Kadri Gopal Nath, Pt, Bhajan Sopori, Pt. Dalchand Sharma chitraveena vidwan N. Ravi Kiran and Mehmood Dhaulpuri and many others.
I would like to thank Pt. Ramnarain, Pt. Raghunath Seth, Chitraveena vidwan N. Ravikiran, Dhruva Ghosh and Shailesh Bhagwat for providing me with detailed information regarding their respective instruments and answering all my queries in writing. I am also thankful to G. Rajnarain for enlightening me on the physical and technical details of various electronic instruments.
I am also indebted to various instrument makers such as Bishan Das Sharma (Delhi), Hemen Sen, Barun Roy, Bhava Sindhu Biswas and Shyamal Das (all from Calcutta), for giving me the minutest details about the manufacturing of various instruments. This information has indeed enriched my understanding in totality.
I am grateful to Dr. Chandrashekhar, Reader in the Department of Persian, Delhi University, for translating the related portions from various Persian and Urdu texts. I am thankful to Meenakshi Bharati and Nilesh Raste for making the sketches, Udyana P. K. Tuljapurkar for computer composing and my brother Avinash Kasliwal for preparing the bibliography. I am also thankful to Param Abichandani for helping me in preparing the script.
I extend my special thanks to Rajat Ganguli, curator of the instrument gallery of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, for allowing me to use the gallery for the preparation of the sketches of the instruments.
I would like to acknowledge the cooperation and encouragement given to me by Prof. Krishna Bisht, Dean, Faculty of Music and fine Arts, Delhi University and Prof. (Mrs) Najma Praveen Ahmed, Head of the Department of Music, Delhi University. I am thankful to the university for granting me study leave for one year, without which this work would not have been possible.
My special thanks to Dr. Vijender Sharma, M. M. Nim, Udayan Mukherjee, Giridhar Rathi, Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya and all those who have helped me out in one way or the other in this venture.
I feel deeply indebted to my family and my guru Pt. Uma Shankar Mishra for their being a permanent source of inspiration throughout my studies.
North Indian Music (285)
Original Texts (60)
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