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Instruments in Hindustani Classical Music (Role and Performance)

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Item Code: NAL351
Author: Dr. Sumita Chakravorty
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788184573329
Pages: 304
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 450 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This book is an attempt to present a comprehensive datas about Indian –musical instruments, classify and relate them with the ethnic movements took place in the country and also present a critical study on the whole. All efforts have been made to collect information from as many sources as possible, viz. music texts, literature, scriptures, paintings and also by personal surveys all over the country. This book has been designed to provide the upto-date information regarding Indian-musical instruments. An attempt has been made to make this book useful for students as well as interested readers.


About the Author

Dr. Sumita Chakravorty is a Hindustani musical instrumentalist and as internationally reputed musicologist. She received her Ph.D from Delhi University for her research Work. And a summary of a dissertation is going through publishing process. For her pioneering work she received “The Melvin Jones Award” from the Lucknow Centre. Currently working as an associate professor, Delhi University. She is also an AIR, Doordarshan, I.C.C.R., approved artist and performs sitar recitals in various organizations of international repute.



“God has two dwellings one in heaven and other in meek and thankful hearts” say Izak Walton. It is time for me to thank all those who inspired, guided and helped me till the very end of book. First of all I am grateful to my Guruji and guide Prof. Devabrata Chaudhuri, who has always been my guiding spirit and has been giving advice and immense helps in the matter of preparation of this thesis. Late Guruma Smt. Manjusree Chaudhuri inspired and moral support throughout.

I owe a deep sense of gratitude to respected teachers Dr. Krishna Bisht, Dr. Najma Perveen Ahmad, Dr. Anupam Mahajan, Dr. Uma Garg, who helped me with a sincere and true heart.

Those who enlightened me through personal conversation and correspondence to understand the “Instruments in Hindustani Classical Music: Role and Performance”with their authentic views are, Late Pt. Bismillah Khan, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Mrs. Kamlini Dutta.

I am equally indebted to the library staff of Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Sangeet Natak Academy and Lalit Kala Academy for their kind co-operation. My special thanks to sh. Md. Haroon, the Libraian, Faculty of Music & Fine Arts for this fullest co-operation.

With a heart full of joy, I racall my indebtedness to my family members Late Mr. B.N. Mukherjee (Father), Mrs. Shakti Mukherjee(Mother), Dr. N.K. Chakravorty (Husband) for keeping my spirits up with their support and encouragement.

Lastly I shall be failing in my duty if I do not offer my sincere thenks to my uncle Late Dr. D.C. Ganguly, Late Mr. Alok Sen, Dr. Piyush Mehrotra, Dr. Ravi Mehrotra, Mr. Randheer Rana, for their Kind co-operation to complete this work.



Music –An Expression of Man is Creative Genius

Music is a mode of thinking in tones and rhythm, stimulating awareness, conveying tunes which are incapable of definition and it hardly forms vehicle of thought and became true in primitive music. We have to discuss the fundamental principles by which contains organisation of voices makes sense- M.R. Gautam.

The great prodigy, Servant of France, Romania Rollord quoted “music, like life, is divine in essence like ever welling spring flowed through the centuries until it has become an occasion (music its form, function and value –by Swami Prajnanananda 1979).

History of Musical Instruments

Its introduction is said to be follow up of vocal music and natural laws of music rhythm and harmony contributed to its progress. The oldest musical instrument is bamboo flute, just a kin to human voice in sweetness and melody invented perhaps by the care-mess of the pre –historic age.

Fret-less instruments of guts or strings were discovered by the experts to strengthen and enrich human voice, centuries later Vedic time literature described instruments (musical) dundubhi bhumi dundubhi, adambara and banespati instruments of strings like hanned veena, karkari and veena. There were wind instruments like, nadi, bankur and many others alike.

Chanting of Vedas with accompaniment of musical instruments of all types was prevalent in india from 240 B.C to A.D. 4th century or 5th century. Sarangdev in his classic ‘Sangeet Ratnakar’ detailed various types of instruments and its technical specification shape etc.

Music and dance have played an important role for religious expressions in India. The origin of music in India is attributed to God and Gddesses and to mythological figures like Gandharvas and Kinnars who figured in all storieds of Indra Sabha and legends connected with the Science and practice o music. India evolved various music instruments, classified under four heads (1) Tata-tanra-stringed, (2) Sushira wind instruments, (3) Aunaddha-percussion instruments like drums, and (4) Ghana instruments which are struck against each other. Much ingenuity has been bestowed on the invention of these instruments.

There are more than 500 of such instruments, each with a tone colour. Ancient sculptures also depict musical instruments with and astounding wealth of detail. Numerous varieties of Veena, Mathura, Gandhara, Amaravati, Sanchi, Nagarjunakonda Konark, temples of Southern India. Meenakshee, Nagarcoil, Rameshwaram,Knyakumari, etc. and the frescoes and paintings of Ajanta, Bagh, Tanjavoor all detail various concerts and dance features, with various types of instruments used indicate its direct link with music.

The Sama Veda is a standing monuments to the wonderful skill and originally of the ancients in the voices of vocal music. The chanted Veda is still the oldest extent combination of words definitely intended to be sung. Infact, the classical music of India originated from Vedic chants. There were professional musicians in the Vedic age and a great variety of instruments as can be inferred from the frequent maintain of Veena players, Flute players, conch blowers, drummers and so on.

The specially composed Rig Veda, consisting of invocations to the powers that might be present at the sacrifices, refers to singing, dancing and to the musical instruments accompany them.

Vedic period instrument was the Dundubhi a type o f Drum used both in war / battles and peace. Dundubhi are of various types (1) Bhoomi Dundubhi-used in Mahabharat Ceremony, (2) Aadambara used during prush medha (human sacrifice) in the Vayasaneya Samhita, (3) Afhati a class type symbol used to accompaby dancing as detailed in Rig Veda as well as Atharva Veda, (4) Karkari, a string instrument like modern Sarod, (5) Kaunda Veena made out of joints of reeds, (6) Tunava-a wind instrument made of wood and very much alike Flute. The Nadi was a general term denoting any musical instrument Vanu was a multi-stringed musical instrument like the harp with a hundred strings (stata-tantri). Mention of several types of Veena, in Vedic literature like Alabu Veena, Vakra Veena, Kchpisrhsa, Maha Veena, Chala Veena etc. is noteworthy. Special types of instruments for women are Pichola and Kanda Veena.





  Preface vii
  Introduction xi
1 Indian Instruments from Vedic to Present Day: A Brief Survey 1
2 Classification of the Insruments by Various Eminent Musicians 32
3 Biographies of Eminent Musicians 80
4 Very Popular Instruments, Mode of Playing Styles 99
5 Gharana Procedure 192
6 Role of Electronic Media 265
7 Role of Talented Artists and Students of Music in Popularising It 275
  Conclusion 277
  Bibliography 281
  Index 282
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