Hindustan is, technically the Indus and Ganges basins, and it is with the music of that part of India that this book primarily deals. Indian music, as elsewhere, is of varying excellence. The author in the beginning gives an account of his musical experiences during a tour through India, history of Indian music, scale, mode, various ragas, grace, tala, drumming, ethos and structure of some of the oldest music, forms, and lastly the laws of melody in Indian music.
A.H. Fox Strangways (1859-1948) was an English musicologist, translator, editor and music critic. As a music master, Strangways developed an interest in Indian music and in the years before the First World War, he did much to bring Tagore to wider attention. In 1925 he moved to the Observer as chief music critic.
HINDUSTAN is, technically, the Indus and Ganges basins ; and it is with the music of that part of India that this book primarily deals. It contains reference also to the system of the Carnatic, though that has been more fully treated of in C. R. Day's Music of Southern India and the Deccan.
The study of Indian music is of interest to all who care for song, and of special interest to those who have studied the early stages of song in mediaeval Europe or ancient Greece. For here is the living language of which in those we have only dead examples. It is hardly possible in the case of modern European Folk-song to study melody pure and simple, for we have no large body of such song of which we can certainly say that it was not influenced at all by the current conception of harmony. But here is melody absolutely un-touched by harmony, which has developed through many centuries tendencies which have the force of laws ; and the examination of these enables us to some extent to separate the respective contributions of melody and harmony to the final effect in our own music. Those to whom this aspect of the subject appeals are recommended after glancing at Chapters I and II to look at Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
Others may be more interested in that technical side of the art which tabulates the facts of song, and their taste has been consulted in Chapters IV and V others, again, to whom the main chars... of the music lies in the memories of India which it revives, may find more of what they would care to read in the Introduction and the first three chapters.
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