This work lays bare the inner wisdoms of Hindustani music through the intimate reflections of Pandit Amarnath, whe, voted as one of the four great genius musicians of the 20th century, came to be widely acknowledged as a musicians musician, a legend of his times.
This book develops ten critical themes: raaga or mode, taala or rhythmic cycle, bandish or lyric, gaayakee or style, listening, learning, teaching, composing: legends and myths of Hindustani music; and in a climactic chapter-naada yoga, From the origins of the raagas themselves, traced through their folk names and ancestry, to how these, along with taalas, came to form a great system; from the manner in which timeless songs are born in the minds of the great composers, to the way they determine the growth of musical forms, like the khayaal lyric which was nurtured in the Sufi traditions, from the rich mosaics of style that emerged from within the North Indian cultures to a whole secret world of clues and insights into teaching, learning and listening to this great art, and from the magic world of myths and legends that have encased the fragile, living beauty of classical the music, to underlying philosophy of it all-naada yoga, or the science of concentration through sound that stimulates the creation of music through anhada, the eternal, unheard cosmic sound, Pandit Amarnath reveals large vistas of a poetic awareness, where the reader will journey into the mind of a celebrated poet and composer, a great thinker and scholar, and an outstanding practitioner of f the Indore gaayakee who is also the bestselling author of Living Idioms in Hindustani Music.
Asking the questions is his daughter, Bindu Chawla, musician and well-known writer and researcher in Hindustani music, who is a 1995 recipient of the Times of India Fellowship Award.
Pandit Amarnath, great Indore gharaanaa of the legendary master of the Hindustani music, Bindu Chawla studied and practised the art under the guidance of two decades. her father for over Formerly a publisher's editor, and now a performing artiste and teacher of music, she perfe assisted her father on several books and research projects (which include Living Idioms in Hindustani Music, a dictionary of terms and terminology: Teaching Systems Music, an and Methods in Hindustani ICSS'R-funded project by Pandit Amarnath, for which she directed worked as Senior Research Associate; and The Indore Gharaanaa, an archival project sponsored by the Indra Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, for which she was Principal Resource Person).
Recipient of the 1995 Times of India Fellowship Award for her research project entitled The Musical Idea in Hindustani Music, Bindu Chawla has written for several years on Hindustani music for The Times of India (including Sunday Review), The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Hindustan Times, The Statesman, The Indian Express, The India International Centre Quarterly, The Hindu, Jansatta, and The Navbharat Times. She has also presented talks on the art in public auditoria, and over All India Radio.
Bindu Chawla is now Chairperson of the Pandit Amarnath Memorial Foundation, which is dedicated to the compilations of Panditji's archives, the publishing of his books and CDs, the making of films on his life and work, the promotion of his teaching methods-through websites and other media-and to research into the Indore gharaanaa, of which Pandit Amarnathji and his illustrious guru, Ustad Amir Khan Saheb, are the propounders.
There is little doubt that in the long history of our classical music there must have been a fair number of musicians of similar meaning and significance as the late Pandit Amarnath of the Indore Gharaanaa. But there has also been much fancied distance between gurus and their shishyas, as indeed between parents and children, from the earliest times on the plea of the catch-phrase of "respect for elders so that no one ever dared to question or seek answers to the ambient perplexities of a growing shishya's life from their teachers, guides and mentors. The result was that nothing got clearly stated and articulated about one of the most esoteric of musical inheritances known to man.
Conversations with Pandit Amarnath came to be written during the last years of my father's life, a period of so much suffering, when he was constantly consult- ing doctors and being admitted to hospitals.
It was at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences that, one afternoon, as I was at his bedside, I suggested this book to him to take his mind off the deep gloom around.
His first book, Living Idioms in Hindustani Music, had been the result of his search into the philosophies and etymologies of a variety of terminology that included proverbs, phrases and sayings from the world of Hindustani music-which he had heard being used by his predecessor musicians and masters to explain, sing and laugh about music and musicians. Being a poet as well, he had enjoyed these discoveries of the subtle knowings of the great musical minds, which he shared with his readers and audiences later on.
And we were now basking in the success of this book. It was time for another, I suggested, and for this book all you need to do is to answer my questions.
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