From the Jacket
In this book the author has dealt with the musical terms as found in the old sastras and are also in common use. He has explained these terms in simple language with reference to their history of origin. Description of seventy-eight different musical instruments and forty-seven different Talas are also there. An essential aid to research-scholars and students of music. The Bengali version of the book on music published during the period from 1960 to 1968.
Bimalakanta Roychaudhuri was born in 1909 in all illustrious family of musical heritage. He had his training in music from Sitalchandra Mukhopadhyay, Sitalkrishna Ghosh, Amir Khan (Sarod) and then from Inayet khan, the foremost Sitar players of those days. He also had his musical training from his maternal uncle Birendrakishore Roychaudhuri and maternal grandfather Brojendrakishore Roychaudhuri. He took part in the translation of "Sangeet Ratnakara" from Sanskrit to Bengali under the patronage of Brojendrakishore Roychaudhuri.
He was Chairman of the Board f Musical Studies of the University of Calcutta. His works "Raga Vyakarana" (in Hindi) has been published by the Bharatiya Jnanpith.
We are pleased to bring out the English version of this works which has already been published both in Bengali and Hindi and had got Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1971.
In this English version 'Gharana-Table' has been left out because we plan to publish another book on Gharana, where the subject will be dealt with separately in detail.
The author has given all rights of his published and unpublished works to Imdadkhani School of Sitar, an institute founded by him in 1948. The first Bengali version of the present book was published in 1965 and received the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1971 as the best book on music in Bengali language published during the period from 1960 to 1968. The book was later published in Hindi in 1975 by the Bharatiya Jnanpith of New Delhi. The Hindi translation was done by Sri Madanlal Vyas of Bombay. The present English version of the book was made by the author himself in 1967 but could not be published earlier for want of a publisher. I express my gratitude to M/s Motilal Banarsidass for their kindly agreeing to publish the book. I am also grateful to Ms. Mitali Chatterji, Assistant Librarian, Asiatic Society and to Mr. Shabbir Ahmad of Islamic Section, Asiatic Society, for the kind help rendered by them in the transliteration work.
The growing interest of the Western, especially the English-speaking nations towards the North Indian Classical Music is more evident now than ever before. It is no doubt a sign for us to be happy about; at the same time it causes us deep concern whenever we try to appreciate the great responsibility that has devolved upon us in presenting the correct interpretation of musical terms of the ancient Sanskrit Sastras.
Aphoristic couplets of the ancient Sanskrit Texts, as they mostly are, even with their annotations, easily lend themselves to be misinterpreted today. Painfully bearing this in mind the author has attempted this dictionary with great trepidations. He has depended solely on his own inner resources in interpreting the musical terms rather than allowing himself to be influenced by any other publications in English or in any other languages, lest he should tread on the trap of terminological inexactitude. For the present author it has been a very difficult task indeed primarily for two reasons-
1. The technical terms that we have in Indian music are too difficult for a foreigner to comprehend fully unless these are presented in the right manner of interpretation.
2. However much the author may have tried to express himself in English, it is not his mother tongue and he is therefore, not infallible in expression.
The author has also tried, as far as possible, not to borrow terms used in the Western music to ease out the difficulty in explaining Indian terms; that would have been apparently e3asier and would have saved some amount of space but that short-cut would not have served the purpose intended.
A few words are necessary to explain certain features in the dictionary. It will be found that some of the Western musical instruments that have long come to be used in Indian music have also been described under the entry 'Vadya' (musical instrument) for the benefit of those Indians who are interested in them, with due apology to Western readers.
This dictionary, being the first comprehensive attempt of its kind, would naturally call for improvement and corrections. The author would feel gratified to have suggestions for improvement,
This is an excellent text-book for it imparts knowledge of the ocean of music in the form of little drops. It is interesting to note that every word in music literature has a depth of meaning while the author explains the origin of each word with its history and development over the years along with suitable examples. The book reveals the meaning of 341 words and is indeed a music encyclopedia.
"The work explains, in very simple and clear language, the technical terms as found in Sastras and also those in common use. The history of the origin of the words, description of seventy-eight musical instruments and forty-seven varieties of talas."
"In This era, when Indian music is spreading worldwide, the author has rightly felt it a duty to prepare this Dictionary of musical terms. He presents the proper interpretations of musical terms of the ancient Sanskrit Sastras and explains them with reference to their origin and development. An additional fact is that the author remains true to Indian tradition and is not influenced by the Western methods of interpretation and presentations. Styled and arranged in such simple and precise form, this book will definitely be an essential aid for researches and students of music."
"This one covering words and terminology, Sanskrit, derivative and colloquial, applicable and applied to Hindustani Classical (Art) Music, is the foremost one, even considering the more recent publications on the usage of music terminology."
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