The Music of India: History and Development (Set of 2 Volumes) (A Rare Book)

Item Code: NAH199
Author: Ram Avtar Veer
Publisher: Pankaj Publications, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 1986
Pages: 536 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5 inch x 7 inch
Weight 1.30 kg
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Book Description

Volume I

About the Book


The author a learned and experienced Sangeet Acharya and a versatile writer, has made a deep study of ‘Indian music system and compiled this valuable treatise for the benefit of Indian and foreign lovers of ancient, mediaeval and modern music. He has traced the history and practice of this fine art through the Vedic, Buddha and Jain Periods. He has also dealt with the progress made in this art during the Hindu Revivalist Movement and the contribution made by the Devdasis.


The Sangeet Acharya has also delved deep into the records of the Archaeological Department, Government of India and reinterpreted some of the seals excavated from the ruins of Mohanjodaro, Harappa, Lothal and other places of the Indus Valley Civilization.


The author has covered the origin and development of Indian Music in two volumes of this book. Volume I covers the period of development from 6000 B.C. to 1000 A.D., and Volume II deals with the period 1001 A.D., to 1986A.D.lnthisvolume (Vol. I), the author has thrown enough light, on ancient and mediaeval theoreticians and master musicians such as Bharat Muni, Nand Keshwar and others.


There are two salient features of this volume. The first is about the history of Indian Music and the second is about the Rag and Ragni System. The author has established that music originated in India about 6000 B.C. and not 1500 B.C. as is believed today. He has also established that Rag and Ragni System was originally introduced by the Buddha Bhikshus who toured eastern and western countries to propagate their religion. That very system was brought back by Muslim Musicologists who came to India along with Muslim invaders.


It is hoped that the students, teachers, artistes, critics and historians of art in India and abroad will find this book to be a useful addition to the literature on music.


About the Author


The author was born on 1st April 1904 at Bannu, now in Pakistan, in a well-established Khatri family. Since his child- hood he took music as his hobby. He was formally initiated and educated in the mysteries of music by Pt. Ram Lubhaya, a prominent musician of Rawalpindi. He not only mastered the subject soon, but also emerged as a gifted teacher and successful author and remained so throughout his life. He has written about 80 books on various topics of music for educational as well as professional institutions. From 1940 to 1947 he taught in St. Annie’s College, Presentation Convent, Cambridge and D.A.V.


College all at Rawalpindi. At the time of teaching in various institutions, he wrote dramas of social as well as religious character with a sufficient matter for music and dance. He got them staged for which he was duly awarded for his writings and performances.


Mr. Veer has also been awarded several times for his brilliant musical performances. One of his notable achievements is the invention of musical notation in braille for the blind, ·and the combined notation system by joining Indian and Staff music notation system for foreigners. He has also Invented a new ‘Veer braille system’ which enables the readers - both the blind and with sight - to red them directly without dots.




In 1939-40, Punjab University, Lahore (now in Pakistan) introduced the subject of music in the syllabus for F.A. and B.A. classes for girls. I was then entrusted with the job of coaching girl students in music in three colleges in Rawalpindi (Pakistan) called St. Anni’s College, Cambridge College and D.A.V. College.


Theory and practicals were taught strictly in line with the syllabus. Bharat’s Natya Shastra which was then supposed to have been written in 300 A.D. and which date is now accepted to be 800 A.D. was treated as the base for Indian Music. The fixation of notes on the basis of length of wire of Veena was determined on the basis of what was written in Sangeet Parijar. Similarly, Jai Deva of Geeta Govinda fame was recognized as the first Indian musician. These bases irritated me though I continued to teach music to my pupils on those bases.


After the partition, I started writing books for students of Punjabi and Rajasthani Schools on that very historical base. In addition, I wrote some 77 books for the general public in Hindi and Urdu which are quite popular to this day.


I got an opportunity to write books in English in 1977. By 1983, I had brought out 18 books in that language which attracted the attention of Indian and foreign scholars. In 1983, 1 wrote two books entitled Indian Musical Instruments, History and Development, and Indian Dances-History and Technique. Both these books have been appreciated by Indian and foreign lovers of music and dance. I had also the honour of presenting the latter book personally to late Shrimati Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India in June, 1984.


I started writing this book in 1984. I had originally many doubts in my mind which were cleared at the time of writing this book. Not only that. There were certain moot points in the minds of music lovers those too were settled. It was proved without any fear of contradiction, that the history of Indian music started from about 6,000 B.C. That raised the status of our culture and civilization and we are proud of it. It was also proved that it were our rishis or sages who introduced Sanskrit language and the Vedas for the first time in the world. They were the first to recite Ved mantras through music.


It is, however, worth consideration why this history did not come to our notice earlier and why we have been accepting the theory and history of music as propounded by early British scholars.


The main cause for this appears to be the two great wars-the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which are historically accepted to have been fought from about 1,000 B.C. to about 700 B.C. The period from about 700 B.C. to 600 B.C. is regarded as dark period in the history of India. That pushed us back to the Stone Age once again.


Lord Mahavir was born in 600 B.C. Mahatma Buddha followed him in 550 B.C. These two great leaders, on the basis of Vedic principles, laid emphasis on exercising control over human frailties namely, passion, anger, greed, affection and egoism and propagated their beliefs through music. They and their disciples did not only in India but also in foreign countries such as Afghanistan, Arabia, Iran, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri lanka, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. It was the result of their preaching that the slogan Ahinsa Parmo Dharma became popular throughout those countries. Their efforts also enlivened the spirit and desire of oneness and integration. That period is regarded as the Golden Period in the history of Indian Music.


There: was another reason. Whenever the feelings of Jealousy and animosity gain an upper hand in human beings, they try to condemn all good and constructive proposals as improper for their own selfish ends. Swayed by these very considerations, the Brahmin; of those days forced the Buddhists to quit India. By the seventh century A.D., the Buddhists left India bag and baggage gradually and settled in the neighbouring countries. Whatever books and literature were available with them, they carried them to the countries of their adoption. Those who preferred to stay on in India, adopted the Hindu traditions. On the basis of Devdasi System they gave up worship of Nandi and started worshipping Shivling.


Bharat Muni compiled, whatever literature or material Was available to him on the subjects of music, dance and drama, produced an invaluable treatise and gave it the name of Natya Shastra. To make that book look authentic, be attributed it to Lord Brahma. Then, in the thirteenth century, Sharang Dev, a genius, wrote another book on music called Sangeet , which book even today is considered as a standard and authentic treatise on music. Sharang Dev has dealt with sound, shruti, notes, octaves, jatis, gram murchhanas and some ragas also. But he has not dealt with the subjects of Rag Ragnis and gram as in detail. He too, on the basis of Bharat’s Natya Shastra, did not accept the existence of Gandhar Gram.


When the Muslim musicologists and dancers came to India in the eleventh century A.D. they introduced Rag Ragni system. But if we study the records of the Archaeological Department of our country especially photos and paintings of the ancient shrines left behind, we come to the conclusion-that the Buddha monks had perfected that system which they made use of in propagating their religion through musical and dramatic performances. They carried all the literature available on the subject with them when they were forced to leave the country and to take shelter in the neighbouring countries. According to Atia Begum, a valuable book was compiled in Persia in the eighth century A.D. in eight volumes. Those very volumes were brought to India by the Muslim musicologists with them. The contents of the book appealed not only to the Muslim musicologists but were also appreciated and accepted by the Hindu artistes of India. The two groups worked together and made Rag Ragni system of music popular in the country. Attempt has, therefore, been made in this book to establish with the help of pictures that Rag and Ragni system was originated by the Buddhist monks but later on modified and improved upon by the Muslim and Hindu musicologists during the 13th and 14th centuries in general and the Mughal Period in particular.


The history and development of Indian music has been covered in two volumes of this book. This volume (Vol. I) covers the period 6,000 B.C. to 1,000 A.D. It deals with shrutis and formation of notes. It touches upon the importance of vowels and consonants in Sanskrit language in the formation of musical notes. It also covers definitions of terms used in music and touches upon the early Indian history, excavations at Mohanjodaro and Harappa, arrival of the Aryans, development of notes and educational system of music during the Buddha period. It also deals with history and development of Rag Ragni System and the development of music during the period 300 A.D. to 700 A.D.


It is generally believed that the Rag and Ragni System of music was introduced in India y the Afghans, the Turkish, the Persians and the Arab musicologists who came with the foreign invaders in the eleventh and twelfth centuries A.D. and settled down in India. But my studies have led me to believe that that system of music was originally introduced by the Buddha missionaries in the second century A.D. They carried the relevant literature with them when they migrated from India. Consequently, the first book on Rag Ragni system appeared in Persia in the eighth century A.D. That very system came back to India through the muslim master musicians who came to India alongwith their patrons and settled down here in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.











List of Figures



Definition and Early Development of Music



Early Indian History-Excavations at Mohanjodaro and Harappa



Arrival of the Aryans and Development of Shrutis



Development of Sanskrit Language



Evolution of Vedic Notes



Development of Five Notes



Music from Mahabharat Period to Buddha Period



Five Musical Notes in India and Abroad



Development of Seven Notes






Fixation of Pitch of Sa (C) Note on The basis of Age and Harmonic Notes



Historical Development of Notes in Aryan Civilization



Development of Sanskrit and Musical Notes



Educational System of Music during the Buddha Period-And Time and Rhythm



Rules of Singing of 7 Jatis (Kapals)









Formation of 19 Notes



Formation of 12 Notes Octave (Saptak)



History and Description of Rag Ragni System of Music



Composition of Rag Ragnis



Dramatic Performances-types of Songs



Development of Music During the Period 300 A.D. to 700 A.D.



Ancient Literature on Indian Music-Bharat and his Natya Shastra, Abhinav Darpan



Revival of Hinduism



Volume II

About the Book


The author, a learned and experienced Sangeet Acharya and a versatile writer, has made a deep study of Indian Music System and compiled this valuable treatise for the benefit of Indian and foreign lovers of ancient, mediaeval and modern music. He has traced the history and practice of this fine art through the Vedic, Buddha, Jain, Muslim and British Periods. He has also delved deep into the records of the Archaeological Department, Government of India and reinterpreted the seals excavated from the ruins of Mohanjodaro, Harappa and' other places of the Indus Valley Civilization.


The author has covered the origin and development of Indian Music in two volumes of this book. Volume I covers the period of development from 6000 B.C. to 1000 A.D. In this volume (Vol. II), .he has thrown light on the state of music from the eleventh century A.D to present day. He has dealt with leading musicologists and theoreticians of those days and the valuable contribution made by them. The contribution made by Sharang Dev to the art of Indian Music remains unequalled to this day. The author has, therefore, thrown enough light on the man and his invaluable treatise called Sangeet Ratnakar.


The Sangeet Acharya has also dealt with the contributions made by Amir Khusro, Tan Sen, Swami Hari Dess, Ghulam Ghaus, Baiju Bawra and others. He has also made reference to such important books as Rag Viboth, Swar Melakala Nidhi, Chatur Dandi Parkashika, Sarma-i-Ishrat, Nad Vinod Granth, Kanoon-i-Rag etc.


The salient features of this Volume include development of two systems of Indian music Northern and Southern. Northern System covered Rag Ragnis, including Dhrupad, Dhammar, Khyal, Tappa and Thumri. It also covers Thath System of music introduced by Pandit Vishnu Narain Bhatkhande.


It is hoped that the students, teachers artistes, critics and historians or art in India and abroad will find the book a useful addition to the literature on music.




Shri Ram Avtar Veer has been personally known to me for more than two decades as a dedicated music teacher and musicologist. He has written not less than 77 books on different aspects of music and dance. The Music of India is his latest creation which seems to be the result of his life-long hard labour. He has sincerely tried to collect and compile all sorts of material on the subject available from various sources. He has dealt with different aspects of music including its relationship with religion and philosophy, the origin and development of Naad, Shruti, Swar, Saptak, Gram, Moorchhana, Raagjati, Raag, Laya, Taal, different styles, compositions etc. The book has been profusely illustrated with photos and sketches of rare material. He differs with most of the contemporary musicologists in many respects. In a way, the book may prove quite controversial. The author himself will not expect that his findings should be accepted by all in toto. However, it cannot be denied that he has fulfilled a gigantic task.


I am sure that music lovers will find a lot of interesting material and information in this publication, which will help them in the study of the subject.




The history of India, according to western scholars, began with the arrival of the Aryans in about 1500 B.C. According to those scholars, the Aryans migrated from Central Asia. Some of them went to Europe and settled in European countries. Others preferred to move to Persia, Afghanistan and on to India. They formed settlements on the banks of various rivers. They found ever-green meadows which provided plentiful fodder for their cattle. They also found the land fertile. The climate too was pleasant. They, therefore, preferred to settle in the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the adjoining territories. They were also attracted by the dales and valleys of Jammu and Kashmir and some of them chose to settle there.


But that view of the European scholars is no longer accepted by the students of history. My own studies have led me to believe that the plains of Punjab and Jammu and the valley of Kashmir formed the original home of the Aryans. They never migrated from any other part of the world. Several well-known vedic scholars such as Panani, Patanjali and others flourished here. Sanskrit language was developed here. The Vedas too were revealed on this sacred land.

That is why Punjab and the adjoining territories form the fount of Aryan civilization and Vedic music forms an integral part of that Aryan civilization.


The history and development of Indian music have been covered in two volumes of this book. Volume I covers roughly the period 6,000 B.C. to 1,000 A.D. During that period, Vedic scholars and musicologists made a notable contribution to the development of music and dance. The Sam Veda was perhaps the first treatise to deal with the subject of music. Bharat Muni played a significant part in the development of the art. His Natya Shastra is recognized as the base of Indian dance and music.


The salient features of volume I of this book are:

(1) Formation of shrutis and notes;

(2) Importance of vowels and consonants in Sanskrit language to the formation of musical notes;

(3) Definitions of terms used in music;

(4) Development of notes;

(5) Revelation of the state of music from the ruins of Mohanjodaro and Harappa;

(6) Educational system of music during the Buddha Period;

(7) Development of music during the Buddha Period; and

(8) History and development of Rag Ragni System.


This Volume (Vol. II) traces the history and development of the art from the e1eventh century to this day. It touches upon the part played by the Turkish, the Afghan and the Persian musicologists who came to India from abroad during and after the eleventh century and made useful contribution to the development of northern system of music. Amir Khusrau stands head and shoulders above all other stalwarts of the day. The part played by him in that development has been touched upon in this Volume.


A very comprehensive book on music-Sangeet Ratnakar-was written by Pandit Sharang Dev during the thirteenth century. That book is still considered as a standard and authentic treatise on music.


Pandit Sharang Dev dealt with sound, shrutis, notes, octaves, jatis, gram moorchhanas etc. in Sangeet Ratnakar. His views on such important matters have been recorded in this volume.


Muslim rulers came to India in the eleventh century. They brought some talented musicians and some valuable literature on music with them. Those musicians and their descendents played a notable part in the development of music which was later on given the name of Northern or Hindustani music. That system of music has been elaborated in this volume.


Other important features of this volume are :

(1) Islamic Music;

 (2) Development of music during the Mughal Period in general and the reign of Akbar in particular;

 (3) Notable part played by eminent musicians such as Amir Kbusrau, Mian Tan Sen, Baiju Bawra and Swami Hari Dass;

(4) Music during the reigns of Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb and later Mughal rulers during the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries;

(5) Development of new types of songs such as Dharupad, Dhammar, Khyal, Tappa, Thumri etc.

(6) Development of dances, poses and dresses of dancers for dancing in courts.

(7) Educational system for training in dancing and singing and setting up of Kirana Gharana, Jaipur Gharana, Gwalior Gharana and Agra Gharana.

(8) Establishment of Gandharva Mahaviedyalaya at Laore in 1901 and opening of other schools in different parts of the country to impart training in music according to Bhatkhande's system.

(9) Development of Southern Music and the contribution made by Syama Sastri, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Deekshitar.

(10) The state of music during the British rule and after independence and the contributions made by Pandit Vishnu Digamber Paluskar and Pandit Vishnu Narain Bhatkhande.


A very valuable book, Sarma-i-Ishrat, was published in Urdu during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It was written by a master musician of the day, Sadiq Ali Khan Dehlvi. It described in detail the Rag Ragni System of Music according to Bharat Math and Hanuman Math which were once very popular in northern India. That system has been described in detail in this volume.


Another book entitled Nad Vinod Granth written by Gosain Chuni Lal Panna Lal was published in 1900. That book dealt with the Rag Ragni System according to Shomeshwar Math and Kalinath Math. The details given in that book have been suitably incorporated in this volume.


Pandit Venkatamakhi was another talented musician and scholar of his day. Thath System of music was his innovation. That system was recognized in North India by Pandit Vishnu Narain Bhatkhande and has, therefore, been referred to in this volume.


There was a long-felt need for a comprehensive book which would throw light on different stages of development of music in the country. I hope, this book, in two volumes, will meet the need for that comprehensive book.














List of Plates



Political Conditions in Northern India during the Period 700 A.D. to 1200 A.D.



Development of Southern Music



Sharang Deva and his Sangeet Ratnakar



Jati Gayan



Islamic Music in Arabia



Development of Music during the Muslim Period



Amir Khusrau



Evolution of Indian Dances and Dresses



Music during the Mughal Period



Illustrious Musicologists of Akbar's Reign



Educational System during the Muslim Period



Definitions of Rag and Ragnis



Types of Songs



Musical Instruments



Types of Dances






Decline of the Mughals and the Advent of the British






Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar



Chatur Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande



State of Music from 1930 to 1986



Synopsis and Recommendations



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