The Story of Indian Music by Ethel Rosenthal is an outline sketch of the subject which is finding new adherents and admirers. It has been written primarily with a view to stimulating interest in Indian music among those who are not aware about its nuances. For those who are already acquainted with the subject, this work aims at providing further stimulus to their studies. To realize these aims the author has mainly endeavoured to bring into relief some of the many attractive features which emphasize the charm, dignity and interest of Indian Music.
Notwithstanding the fact that Indian music has two great division, the northern Indian or the Hindustani and the southern Indian or the Carnatic styles of music, the author has rightly stressed the importance of Indian music as a composite whole. The essential features and basis of both the styles are the same exception that the northern counterpart of Indian music has had certain direct influences of the foreign elements. Yet, spirituality remains the basis characteristic of both the fact that in India music is sanctified and the instruments is attributed to the gods.
In the present work, Ethel Rosenthal has sought to explore the vast panorama of Indian music and has divided her work into various chapters dealing, respectively, with Origins, Time and Tune, the Vina and some other instruments, Tyagaraja, All India Music Conferences and the Alliance of Indian Music with Poetry and Dancing. The chapter giving the English translation and notation of the Kritis of Tyagaraja, whom she has rightly called the whom Beethoven of Indian Music, will be of immense interest to the scholars.
An additional feature of the book is the inclusion, in full, of Sir William Jones celebrated treatise on the Musical Modes of the Hindus. Besides, there are some more supplementary chapters dealing with the various facts and aspects of Indian music and musicians.
The author has thus encompassed, in her present study, the various arts like painting, dance and poetry which are intimately connected with Indian music. For the sake of completeness, allusion has also been made to folk music and the link between Indian and European music as is revealed by the songs of the gypsies.
Numerous half-tone illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography listing the works in English and French and an index have imparted an added measure of utility to this handy and useful volume.
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