This book presents insightful reflection on different aspects of Indian music- its roots, philosophy, growth, history, guru-shishya parampara, gharanas, contemporary, scene and a glimpse of the coming decades. Analysing the impact of Indian thought and philosophy on Indian classical music, it makes an appraisal of the contemporary scenario of Hindustani classical music.
Taking close look at tradition and style of Agra Gharana, with special focus on the rich repertoire of its ragas and chijas, it discusses at length the khayala form, value of chija in Hinustani classical music, and use of words in classical music. The musicianship of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who preached spirituality to the Western world through the medium of Indian music, has also been highlighted. The book is of great use for researchers in music.
Ramanlal C. Mehta (b.1918), a distinguished vocalist of the Kirama Gharana style, retired in 1978 form MS University of Baroda as the Principle of the College of India Music, Dance and Dramatics. Earlier, he was with All India Radio for nine years, where he composed and produced over fifty music dramas and features. He founded Indian Musicalogical Society in 1970 and has served as the Editor of its journal. Also, he was an expert member on the Central Music Audition Board of All Indian Radio.
Prof. Mehta has to his credit many book including Agra – Parampara, Gayaki Aur Chinez, Sangeet Charcha; Gujarati Geya Kavita; Music and Mythology;’ Thumri – Traditions and Trends ; Composition in Indian Music ; Perspectives and Prospects – Reference Indian Music ; Perspectives on dhrupad ; and Indian Music – Eminent Thinkers on Core Issues.
The Indian classical music is arguably the only other classical music which has managed to survive vis a vis the all powerful and global onslaught of the Western Classical music on its own terms and through its powerful presence and growth. It represents one of the most enduring dimensions of Indian creativity, its incredible continuum and surprising plurality. It has been a music open to charge and innovation, unweary of outside influences and yet firmly rooted. It is, therefore, a great pity that this music has not received the kind of critical attention, theorizing rigour and in-depth analysis it so rich deserves. Contemporary musicology in India is a rather poor cousin of aesthetics and, sadly, there are not many, who in ideas and analysis, have been able to be commensurate to the rich and complex dynamis and poetics of the Indian classical music. Prof. R. C. Mehta is happily one who has devoted almost his own life teaching and writing about this music. One should be greatful to him for his devotion, dedication for and insights into music. It is through the efforts of a major music-critic like Prof. Mehta that many of us have been able to understand the history, tradition and changes, the structure and the aesthetics, the philosophical underpinnings and vital dynamics of our music.
As a musicologist Prof. Mehta has a wide range and he has always come up in his critical explorations of music with insights and ideas which deepen our understanding of music, its long heritage and its continuing relevance. This book which collects some of his recent and uncollected writings is truly representative of his vast vision and meticulous practice. He is able, once again, to reveal new aspects, illuminate grey areas and discover exciting new ideas. From the philosophical to the historical, from the aesthetic to the tactual Prof. Mehta charters an ideational geography of our music so rarely articulated elsewhere or, for that matter, by any other musicologist or music-critic.
The book, I am confident, would be useful and a rewarding experience equally for musicians. Music lovers and scholars. I commend it gratefully and strongly.
This book is a collection of my papers presented in a number of seminars, and essays commissioned for special occasions, during the last few decades. All have been modified and updated, to make them more suitable for publication.
The main concern is Indian Music: deliberation on its roots philosophy, growth, history, continuity, guru-sisya parampara, gharanas, contemporary scene, and a glimpse of the coming decades.
The first three essays are based on my lectures delivered at Bhopal in the year 1989, at the Ustad Allauddin Khan Sangeet Academy as Ustad Allauddin Khan Memorial Lectures. The occasion provided me an opportunity for taking a closer view of Indian music phenomena with its time depth of some two thousand years, with full concern for the comprehensible nineteenth and twentieth century music which is on the threshold of the imponderable coming decades of the technological world. It has been a good exercise for me and I have found the endeavour interesting and invigorating. I wish to point out some of the highlights of its journey; many of the spots you may find familiar. However it is the interactive aspects of the perspective with which I felt concerned, and I am giving expression to the same in this volume. It will also be my attempt not to lose the context of the current realities of the practice of the Art. Topics of chapter1-3 are; “Impact of Indian thought and philosophy on Indian Classical Music,” “A Search for Excellence in Indian Classical Music,” and “Indian Music – The Coming Decades.”
I present these thoughts, in the spirit of Thorton:
“All the genuine, deep delight of life is in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we confidently recommend our mud pies to each other’s sympathetic consideration.” Thorton, J.M., quoted by Susanne K. Langer, in “Philosophy in a New key” 1951 Toronto, Mentor Books. The New American Library.
The thoughts are expressed here, more than anything, to function as signposts indicating certain phases of recognition.
Chapter 4, “Hindustani Classical Music Modern India,” is an appraisal of the contemporary scene. Chapter 5 is on the “Agra Gharana – Tradition & Style.” It is an indepth study of this oldest gharana of Hindustani music, providing an analytical investigation. Mostly reflected in its greatest torch bearer, Khan Saheb Faiyyaz Husein Khan. The chart of its lineage is given in Appendix A, while appendix B provides a detailed repertoire of the ragas and Cijas sung in the gharana, by several musicians of the gharana and veterans like Faizkhan husein Khan, etc. when stylistic features assume consistency in two to three generations, it enjoys the name of a gharana. In the Agra gharana several musicians were also composers of words (poetry) and melody (music composition), using a pen-name, like Premapiya (Faiya Khan), Pranapiya (Vilayat Husein), Darpana (Yunus Husein), Sajanpiya (Khadim Khan) Premarang (Sharafat Husein), etc.
Chapter 5 is fully based on my detailed researchal work, in Hindi, entitled, Agra Gharana Parampara aura Cijen, published by the M.S. University of Baroda, in 1969, second edition in 1993. The book has been found very useful since it contains 122 authentic notated compositions sung in the gharana.
Chapter6, Imitation & Idealization in Gharana Tradition,” discusses the question: Is tradition in gharana only an imitation, what is the place of individual creativity and how does idealization take place, prompting growth in the same tradition?
Chapter7 provides an overview of the principal archives of music in India, useful for researchers in music.
“Music in the life of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1972)” chapter 8 is a detailed essay, highlighting the musicianship of this great Sufi, who had achieved great fame as a musician in his times. He was Indian’s first ambassador of music to the Western world, preaching spirituality, through the medium of Indian music, vocal and instrumental. This article was specially written for the boo, A Pearl in Wine-Essays on the Life, Music and Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan: a book of collected essays, edited by Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan, grandson of Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan and published by Omega Publications, new Lebanon, in 2001. I am very much grateful to the author as well as to the published for their kind permission to reproduce the essays in this book.
Chapters 9 to 12 cover areas connected with the Value and Use of Words in “Classical Music,” Meaning in Language and Music, “ Melodic Tensions: and, Influence of Music.
I acknowledge with deep gratitude the affectionate help rendered by my elder brother Shri G.C. Mehta, in overseeing, advising and proof-reading the manuscript.
I wish to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Rohit Desai (Nadiad), an permitting me to use his painstakingly prepared Agra Gharana Repertoire of Ragas and cijas, which has very much enriched the usefulness of this book. It is given in Appendix B.
My most sincere thanks to Shri Ashok Vajpeyi who has provided Foreword to this book. His deep appreciation of my humble work is a very rich experience.
Shri Vajpeyi is widely known as a highly reputed Hindi poet, as an enlightened critic and also as an institution maker, he founded and directed the Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, which earned the reputation of being named as the Cultural Capital of India. For his contribution to Indian Cultural Arts, he has been honoured with Dayawati Modi Shekhar Samman, Sahitya Akademy Award, Kabir National Award, and other awards. He is currently working on a book on Indian Classical Music and a book on Kabir & Ghalib.
Very many thanks to Shri. Surya P. Mittal, of Readworthy Publications Pvt. Ltd, for undertaking this publication and thus helping me to reach the world of musicians, scholars and the wide audience of music lovers.
This book presents insightful reflections on different aspects of Indian music – its roots, philosophy, growth, history, guru-shishya parampara, gharanas, contemporary scene and a glimpse of the coming decades. Analyzing the impact of Indian though and philosophy on Indian classical music, it makes an appraisal of the contemporary scenario of Hindustani classical music.
Taking a close look at tradition and style of Agra Gharana, with special focus on the rich repertoire of its ragas and chijas, it discusses at length the khayala from, value of chija in Hindustani classical music, and use of words in classical music. The musicianship of Hazrat inyat Khan, who preached spirituality to the Western world through the medium of Indian music, has also been highlighted. The book is of great use for researchers in music.
Ramanlal C. Mehta (1918-), a distinguished vocalist of the Kirana Gharana style, retired in 1978 from M.S. University of Baroda as the Principal of the College of Indian Music, Dance and Dramatics. Earlier, he was with All India Radio for nine years, where he composed and produced over fifty musical dramas and features. He founded Indian Musicological Society in 1970.
Prof. Mehta has to his credit many books including Agra Gharana – Parampara, Gayaki Aur Chizen; Sangeet Charcha; Gujarati Geya Kavita; Music and Mythology; Thumri – Traditions and Trends; Composition in Indian Music; Music Research – Perspectives and Prospects – Reference Indian Music; Perspectives on Dhrupad; and Indian – Eminent Thinkers on Core Issues.
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