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By B.C. Deva
ICCR, 1976, 155, 30.00

VOLUME I NUMBER 2 April - June 1976

Indian Music, like Hinduism, is comparable to an ocean. Its origins are lost in the mists of antiquity, and over the centuries, it has evolved, modifying itself to suit the times, assimilating new ideas from alien con­cepts, and yet managing to retain its own unique personality. The result of this long process of evolution is a rich and sophisticated form of music, and to understand it in all its facets could well be the work of a life-time. Many people, all over the world, are evincing a keen interest in Indian Music and hence the crying need for good books to make an understanding of its comp­lexities easier. Indian Music, by B. Chaitanya Deva (now on the staff of the Sangeet Natak Akademi) is one such noteworthy attempt. Undertaken with the foreigners in mind, and in many respects similar to his Introduction to Indian Music, Deva has sought to present the various aspects of Indian Music, as practised both in the south and in the north, in a lucid and simple style. To the unini­tiated, it makes for a very clear understanding of the complete grammar of Indian Classical Music. The chapter on Raga and Tala, starting with the basic principles, covers the entire gamut of form, structure and variations in their execution. The comparative analysis, as between the Carnatic and Hindustani systems, as well as analogies from the western system, at each step is an illuminating exer­cise for those who wish to undertake a more serious study or even those who enjoy renditions in all three. In this context, Deva has made a very pertinent point about the different ways in which western and Indian Classical Music have developed over the last few centuries. While the western system in its classical form has become almost completely divorced from their folk music, in India, the two continue to be a beautiful blend, the difference being ‘a matter of gram­matization, not of dimension’. The contribution of the religious leaders, who, down the centuries, have used music to drive home their message to the millions of India, and in the process enriched our musical systems, is very well brought out in the chapter on ‘The Border Lines’. The biographical notes on leading musicians is a welcome addition, as also the detailed chapter on 'Instruments'. While many of the well­-known treatises on music are mentioned to support ...

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