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Philosophy of Music

Philosophy of Music
Item Code: IDD861
Author: Ritwik Sanyal

Publisher: Somaiya Publications Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 1987
Pages: 247
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5" X 7.0"
About the Book:

The work spans the diversity of musical theory and practice by means of a definition of 'music' and a gradation of it into seven kinds. The author hit upon such a definition as a result of insights his gurus gave him into musical concepts and Sanskrit syntax, into the techniques of creating structures of beauty in music, into explanatory concepts in philosophical methods, and into anti-music and new music. The definition is based on the process of interaction between the participants in the process of musical communication. Dr. Sanyal calls it the axiological definition: it correlates the six elements of what he terms axiological set with the cases of the syntactic and semantics of the Sanskrit language and contrasting these with other classical value systems.

The author's presentation is grounded in the sastric tradition of Indian culture. His extensive analyses of Western aesthetic theory have, however, resulted in all attractive synthesis that will not limit his audience to members of his own culture. At the same time his expertise and concern for musical praxis prevents the study from falling into purely theoretical or speculative arguments.

About the Author:

The Author Ritwik Sanyal (b. 1953) trained in and studied dhrupad for twelve years with Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Zia Fariduddin Dagar, often performing as the latter's partner. Dr. Sanyal has also given many concerts as soloist in his own right, both in India and in Europe.

In July 1982 he appeared at the Durham University Oriental Music Festival and the Bath WOMAD Festival. In 1983 the BBC presented him during the 89th season of the Henry Wood Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, London. He conducted workshops on dhrupad-dhamar at Innsbruck in 1979 and at Cambridge University School of Music in 1983. also took part in seminars on gamaka at S.N. Akademi Delhi and on purvaranga at Kalidas Akademi - Ujjain.

He is currently lecturer in Vocal Music at the Benaras Hindu University - Varanasi, from where he holds a first class Master's degree in vocal music and a Ph.D. in musicology. He also holds a first class Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Bombay. Presently working on a book on dhrupad in collaboration with Dr. Richard Widdess, lecturer in Indian Music at School of Oriental and African Music, London.



Chapter One


  1. The Matter
    1.1Music as a Word
    1.2Music as a Concept
    1.3Music as a Situation

  2. The Problem of Practical Diversity
    2.1Ethnic and All Human
    2.2Indian and Western
    2.3Hindustani and Carnatic
    2.4Classical and Modern
    2.5Marga and Desi
    2.6Textual Traditional and Oral Traditional
    2.7Music and Antimusic
    2.8Mystical and Meretricious
    2.9Sophisticated and Folk
    2.10Dhrupad and Khyal

  3. The Problem of Theoretical Diversity
    3.1Nihilism and Reductionism
    3.2Prescriptivism and Descriptivism
    3.3Relativism and Absolutism
    3.4Objectivism and Subjectivism
    3.5Intuitionism and Rationalism
    3.6Empiricism and A Priorism
    3.7Cognitivism and Nocognitivism
    3.8Naturalism and Nonnaturalism
    3.9Existentialism and Essentialism
    3.10Deontologism and Teleologism
    3.11Formalism and Contentism
    3.12Realism and Romanticism
    3.13Psychologism and Sociologism
    3.14Moralsim and Mysticism

  4. The Problem of Method
    4.1Ethnomusicological Method
    4.1.1From Within
    4.1.2From Semi-within
    4.2Philosophical Method : from Without
    4.3Scientific Method : from Without
    4.4Historical Method : from Detached-within

  5. The Method Chosen
    5.1The Axiological Set of Explanatory Concept
    5.2Alternative Sets of Explanatory Concepts
    5.2.1The Cosmological Set
    5.2.2The Logical Set
    5.2.3The Aesthetic Set
    5.2.4The Linguistic Set
    5.3The Logico-Phenomenological Mapping
    5.3.1Theory of Meaning and Truth
    5.3.2Sources of Knowledge (pramana)
    5.3.3Systems of Knowledge (pramiti)
    5.3.4Views of Reality (prameya)
    5.3.5The Self (pramata)
    5.3.6The Questions to be Answered
    5.4The Problem of Definition
    5.5Summing Up

Chapter Two


  1. The Question of Definability

  2. The Con-Argument
    2.1The Nihilistic Con-argument
    2.2The Reductionist Con-argument
    2.2.1Prelogical Natural Reductionism
    2.2.2Commonsensical Reductionism
    2.2.3Scientific Reductionism
    2.2.4Formal Logical Reductionism
    2.3The Critical Con-argument
    2.3.1Formalistic Account of Music
    2.3.2Naturalistic Account of Music
    2.3.3Humanistic Account of Music
    2.3.4Idealistic Account of Music
  3. The Pro-argument
    3.1Countering the Con-argument
    3.2An Adequate Notion of Definition

Chapter Three


  1. Elements of Music
      1.1Objective Determinant of Music
      1.2Objective Component of Music
      1.3Objective Constituent of Music
      1.4Subjective Determinant of Music
      1.5Subjective Component of Music
      1.6Subjective Constituent of Music
      1.7Music as Subject-Object Relation

  2. The Medium of Music : NADA
      The Cosmological Matrix

  3. The Form of Music : RAGA

  4. The Content of Music : RASA
      The Teleological Matrix

  5. The Maker of Music : ATMAN
      The Egological Matrix

  6. The Making of Music : AVADHANA
      The Praxiological Matrix
      6.1Creative Prehension
      6.2Felt Prehension
      6.3Critical Prehension

  7. The Ground of Making Music : UPALABDHI
      The Ontological Matrix
      7.1Practical Realization of Music
      7.2Felt Realization of Music
      7.3Theoretical Realization of Music

  8. The Music : ANANDA
      The Axiological Matrix
      8.1Creative Delight
      8.2Aesthetic Delight
      8.3Intellectual Delight

Chapter Four


  1. Some Simplistic Definitions
    1.1Music = df Song
    1.2Music = of Vocal cum instrumental music cum dance
    1.3Gandharva = df svaratalapadatmaka
    1.4Music = df tonal motion
    1.5Music = df tonal analogue of feeling
    1.6A Lexical Definition of 'Music'

  2. A Logical Definition of Music

  3. The Axiological Definition of Music
    3.1'Art' Defined
    3.2'Music' Defined

Chapter Five


  1. Cognates of 'Beauty' in Music

  2. Enumeration in the Indian Texts
    2.1The Set of O-properties
    2.1.1The aesthetic subset
    2.1.2The in aesthetic subset
    2.2The Set of S1 - properties
    2.2.1The aesthetic subset
    2.2.2The in aesthetic subset
    2.3The Subset of Players
    2.4The Set of Properties for Voice
    2.4.1The aesthetic subset
    2.4.2The in aesthetic subset
    2.4.3The set of properties for the gifted voice
    2.5The Set of Properties for Playing
    2.6Congenial and Uncongenial Reality
    2.7Good Listeners and Bad Listeners
    2.7.1The aesthetic set for S2
    2.8Good Critics and Judges
    2.8.1The Qualifications for S3 the judge
    2.8.2The Qualifications for S3 the patron
    2.9Summing up

  3. A Few Theories of Beauty Summed up
    3.1Saundaryam Alankarah : Vamana
    3.2The Predicates in Contemporary Aesthetics : Wittgenstein
    3.3Five Different Meanings of 'Beauty' : Sparshott
    3.4A General Theory of Beauty : Guy Sircello
    3.5'The Perspicuous and the Poignant': J.N. Findlay
    3.6The Rasa Theory of Beauty : NS
    3.7Beauty as Objective Feeling : Virgil C Aldrich

  4. Classifying the Musico-Aesthetic Predicates
    4.1A Principle of Division for Grading

Chapter Six


    1. Co-ordinating Spheres of Music with Modes of Experience
      1.1Theory and Practice
      1.2Development of Music

    2. Prelogical Natural Music
      2.1'Prelogical Natural' Defined
      2.2Music of Bhurloka the First Heaven
      2.3Antimusic of atala the First Hell

    3. Commonsense Music
      3.1'Commonsense' Defined
      3.2Music of bhuvarloka the Second Heaven
      3.3Antimusic of vitala the Second Hell

    4. Scientific Music
      4.1'Scientific' Defined
      4.2Music of svarloka the Third Heaven
      4.3Antimusic of sutala the Third Hell

    5. Formal Logical Music
      5.1'Formal logical' Defined
      5.2Music of maharloka the Fourth Heaven
      5.3Antimusic of mahatala the Fourth Hell

    6. Philosophical Music
      6.1'Philosophical' Defined
      6.2Music of janaloka the Fifth Heaven
      6.3Antimusic of talatala the Fifth Hell

    7. Religious Music
      7.1'Religious' Defined
      7.2Music of tapoloka the Sixth Heaven
      7.3Antimusic of rasatala the Sixth Hell

    8. Mystical Music
      8.1'Mystical' Defined
      8.2Music of satyaloka the Seventh Heaven
      8.3Antimusic of patala the Seventh Hell


Appendix I : Indian Music : Hindu, Hindustani, Carnatic

Appendix II : Definition



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