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Ganasagaram An Ocean of Music (Set of Two Volumes)

Ganasagaram An Ocean of Music (Set of Two Volumes)
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Item Code: NAZ034
Author: Apeetha Narayanan
Language: English
Edition: 1999
Pages: 196
Other Details: 9.50 X 7.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.35 kg
In recent decades, Carnatic classical music has spread extensively in many countries outside India and is being taught in several universities in U.S.A. It is also in great need in countries where people of Indian origin have settled in large numbers and these countries include South Africa and Malaysia. Students belonging to other countries, both Eastern and Western, are also keen on learning Carnatic music and this has necessitated the music being written down in the English script with notation and a commentary explaining the meaning of the songs.

Mrs. Apeetha Narayanan has had her early training in music in India from competent teachers and has been living in Malaysia for many decades. She has been teaching Carnatic music to students of Indian origin as well as those belonging to other countries and has gained considerable experience as a teacher. With a view to assisting her students as well as others to learn the songs through the medium of the English script, she has now come forward to publish a choice selection of songs which include varnams for beginners and expositions suitable for advanced students in music. The songs include compositions of the Trinity, in Sanskrit and Telugu, as well as songs in Tamil by Arunagirinathar, Vedanayakam Pillai and Papanasam Sivan. The raga and tale of the songs, the names of the composers and the ascending and descending scales of the ragas have been clearly indicated. A simple notation follows with suitable signs to show the octaves of the notes. The substance of each song has been furnished in chaste English for the benefit of those not familiar with Indian languages.

The book will be of immense use to those for whom it is intended, and I am sure they will be benefitted by the efforts of Mrs. Narayanan.

In fact, it can be made use of even by music students in India, who are not acquainted with the Sanskrit or Telugu scripts. I commend the book to all students and lovers of music.

My experience as a vina teacher in Malaysia has taught me that not many music students are sufficiently proficient in Tamil to be able to study music written in that language. It was therefore necessary to transcribe both the musical notes (swarams) and the words (sahitya) into English.

That there is a growing recognition for the availability of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) music in English is evidenced by the recent publications of Ganamrutha Bodhini (Books 1 and 2) by Sri Panchapa Kesa Iyer in India, and Shadjam and Rishabham by Srimathi Padmavathy in Singapore.

Such books attend to the needs of beginners. This book, which comprises a selection of songs by some of the best-known composers of Carnatic music, i.e. Papanasam Sivan, Tyagaraja, Muthusvami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri and others, will, I hope, go a step further. It was conceived primarily for the benefit of music students competent enough to begin learning kritis (songs). Each of the songs is followed by brief explanatory notes which provide a skeletal understanding of the sahitya. A word-for-word explanation has not been attempted.

Carnatic music composers have usually chosen Telugu, Sanskrit or Tamil as their medium. My selection of songs reflects this, since thirteen of the songs are in Tamil, eighteen in Telugu and five in Sanskrit. I have included a large number of songs in Tamil because Malaysian music students seem to indicate a distinct preference for these. It is obvious though that songs in the other languages cannot be ignored, particularly those of the "Trinity" Tyagaraja, Muthusvami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri. I have also kept in mind the local "Mumurthi Vizha Competition" held annually in August, which tests participants' competence in performing the compositions of the "trinity".

Music, in Indian tradition, is considered as divine. Tirunanacampantar, 51 the great South-Indian Saivaite Saint describes Lord Siva as an embodiment 54 of seven svaras. The reason for this lies in the fact that Indian music 56 ha6 its origin in-Vedic chanting. The simplest of all chants (mantras), 59 Om is considered to be the most potent and sacred because it is an epitome 62 of all the sounds that human being are capable of uttering. Of this, 65 Swami Vivekananda says as follows: "If properly pronounced this 'Om' will 68 represent the whole phenomena of sound. Production and no other word can do 71 this. It is'nearer to God and is indeed the first manifestation of divine. 74 wisdom. This 'Om' is truely symbolic of God". In fact, all music flourishes 76 from this chant 'Om'.

Knowing this truth that music is very close to the realisation of God, the need for learning Indian music is considerably increasing in all 82 countries. Malaysian Indians, with the awakening of Hinduism in the recent 85 decades, show great interest in learning Indian music, especially Carnatic 90 music. But it should be admitted that there are not enough trained teachers 96 in this field. This problem can be solved by training able and brilliant 103 students of music. The time has come for the music teachers of this 110 country to think of it.

At this juncture, first of all, I should appreciate Mrs. S. Apeetha Narayanan for coming forward to fulfil this great need. She is a well-known, well respected and dedicated Veena artist and teacher in this country. For the past several years, she is- in the noble profession of teaching Veena to several students. With her experience in both learning and teaching she published her first book Ganasagaram (An Ocean of Music) in 1985. Now, her second book is coming out.

This book, like the first one, will be of immence use to both learners and lovers of Carnatic music. It comprises a selection of compositions by well known and well recognised music composers and will certainly benefit students who are competent enough to begin learning Kritis. The explanatory notes which follow each song will help to understand the meaning of each song.

I congratulate Mrs. Apeetha Narayanan for bringing out this valuable book and hope this book will be well received by all students and lovers of Indian music in this country.

Whilst I started writing the Gana Sagaram Book I already had in mind other books in the series. The music world is so vast and deep that one is not satisfied with just 30 to 40 songs. This was the reason I had in mind further books in the series. It is to be hoped that others in the field contribute as well so that there would be many books in Tamil and English. This way, both music teachers and students would benefit generally. A selection of songs would be then available and make it possible for each individuals tastes and preferences to be satisfied.

I hope that not too many mistakes of misprints result in the publishing of these books and ask to be forgiven in advance for any over-sight of the same. I hope also that the response will encourage me to continue the work in subsequent books.

The songs I have chosen for this book are considered very popular. I have written 4 varnams, kritis from Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Syama Sastri and others in general. I have also included some notes from Sangeetha, Sarvartha Sara Sangraham. In conclusion it is hoped that the value of this contribution is appreciated by the music lovers.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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