Companion to North Indian Classical Music

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Item Code: NAF165
Author: Satyendra K. Sen Chib
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9788121510905
Pages: 542
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 inch x 6.5 inch
Weight 1 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

With growing interest in North Indian classical music both in India and abroad and inspite of several book on specific topics which have appeared in recent ties there was a need for a comprehensive reference book in English which would give adequate and precise information on various aspects of North Indian or Hindustani classical music at one place. For general readers student and practicing musicians the companion to North Indian classical Music has served to fill this gap with more than 1200 entire this book gives in an intelligible and straightforward manner information about various ragas of Hindustani classical music and their structure and ethos nomenclature and terms in currency historical background and development of form and various genres and gharans: biographical notes about outstanding artists and performers both vocalists and instrumentalists of the twentieth century along with performers ascending with the twenty first century. It also includes musicologists of note and information about various musical instruments and their evolution. Some notations used in this book have been revised. The appendices include a comprehensive list of ragas and their scales etc. and the discography gives deals of cassettes and CDs to facilitate listening to good music and performances by maestros. Beside correcting some errors and providing for omission this second revised edition of the companion included new material.

About the Author

Satyendra K. Sen Chib (b. 1926 at Ferozepur Punjab) studied at Govt. college, Ludhiana and Govt. College, Lahore and has a master degree in English literature from a young age he had an active interst in classical music and was trained as a practicing violinist. His violin recitals were broadcasted from the Lahore and Lucknow stations of the All India Radio (AIR) in the administrative services and held senior positions in the Madhya Pradesh and central governments. His position include those of Principal secretary of several department, his position include those principal secretary of several department in the government of Madhya Pradesh; Commissioner of Rewa division: Joint secretary in the Ministry of information and Broadcasting where he was in charge of AIR and Doordarshan; Joint secretary department of Mines Ministry of steel and mines managing director food corporation of India; and vice chairman central administrative tribunal at Jabalpur form where he retired in 1991.


I have Known Shri Satyendra Krishna Sen Chib (S.K.S. Chib) for a long time beginning in the later forties when he was a staff member of all India Radio, Lucknow and used to broadcast violin recitals and then later as a senior civil servant in the Indian administrative service. In the 1970s he was commissioner of Rewa Division in Madhya Pradesh where Maihar my ancestral home is located. Maihar is now associated with the revered memory of my late father Acharya Baba Allauddin khan Sahib. He them moved to New Delhi as jount secretary in the Ministry of Information and no New Delhi as Joint secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and was appropriately put in charge of AIR and Doordarshan. Notwithstanding Shri Chib career in the IAS where he has held various senior position in the central and state government music has always been his first love. He is quite a fine violinist in his own right and a devoted musicologist interested in the study and promotion of Indian classical music. His long association with music has now resulted after his retirement in the present book a comprehensive dictionary of North Indian or Hindustani classical music. I have read the book with great interest and pleasure. It is a lucid and detailed presentation of a large number of topics related to Hindustani music. It contains definition and explanations of important terms descriptions of musical instrument biographies of notable musicians and personalities chronology of historical development and a detailed treatment of North Indian ragas tales and other musical forms and structures. This is truly a work of great scholarship that reveals the author deep understanding of the nuances and intricacies of Indian classical music in particular. The author reflects in this work his practical musical experience his theoretical comprehensive and his ability to communicate in a clear languages.

I am sure that musicians music scholars and general readers both in India and abroad will find this reference work extremely useful. It should help in the better understanding and appreciation of Indian classical music and of its rich traditions and heritage. This detailed classical music and of its rich traditions and heritage. This detailed survey is more than a dictionary it is almost a short encyclopedia of Hindustani music.

Preface to the Second Revised Edition

The first edition of the companion to north Indian classical music was published in January 2004. It was sold and went out of print in less than four years time. Encouraged by the response to the first edition by musical circles in India and abroad and the general public the publisher decided to brings out the second revised edition. Taking the opportunity I have sought to rectify some omissions and some errors and also add notes on more artistes who had since some on the concert circuit. Apart from adding some additional material and expanding some entries I wish to reiterate that the first edition on the companion basically covered the essential end fundamental structure of north Indian classical music against the historical background of its development including notes on scales of raga which have been notated and indicated. Various “tals” and “rhythms” and features of a classical performance have also been analyzed. This aspect of the first edition is of permanent value and inevitably has to be incorporated in future editions as its core component.

The publication of the second revised edition which was planned for year 2008-9 has unfortunately been delayed for various reasons.

Since the publication of the edition I have to record with great sadness the passing away of ustad Ali Akbar Khan who had initially motivated the publication of the companion and whose foreword to the first edition has been retained. Also besides Ustad Ali Akbar Khan North Indian classical music has lost doyens of music namely pandit Bhim Sen Joshi Ustad Vilayat Khan Ustad Bismillah Khan and Sharan Rani Bakliwal void of which is irreplaceable.

In the end I am grateful to Shri Ashok Jain, Director Jain, Director of Munshiram Manorhalal publisher for bringing out the second revised edition to the companion.

Preface to the First Edition

Indian classical music is a fascinating subject reflecting a glorious tradition from ancient time. It does not have a symphonic structure but it has a rich melodious contents and texture. The soul of Indian classical music is attracting increasing interest not only of the discriminating listeners but amongst the younger generation in the universities promoted and encouraged by organization and societies like Spicmacay (society for the promotion of Indian classical music amongst youth) in the west there are centres and institutes for study of Indian music which have come up California in USA, London, Pairs, Rotterdam and berlin. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has established a college of music at san Rafael near san Francisco and one of his student Ken Zuckerman sarodist is running a schools of Indian music at Basle in Switzerland in London the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin the world famous violinist had a lifelong love affair with Indian classical music originally inspired by the music of Pandi Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan Sitar and sarod maestros with his personal contacts with them and had encouraged the study of Indian music amongst whom is Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande in the beginning of the interest taken by certain British civil servant and Indian musicologists pre-eminent amongst whom is Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande in the beginning of the twentieth century in Indian Classical music several scholarly studies have emerged subsequently in recent years from musicologists and musicians in the west as well as in India who have written extensively on Indian music either in the form of books or in the form of dissertations on various selected aspects of classical music. Some of these authors and their publication have been referred in the section on musicology and in the bibliography of this book. Many of these books that have been published in the last fifty years or so are either too technical or not comprehensive enough. This author who has been associated with Hindustani classical music as a student and as a performing ins-trumentalsit notwithstanding his long professional career in the Indian Administrative service after a stint in All India Radio has always felt that no single book in English provides a comprehensive or a total view of the theory and practice of north Indian Hindustani classical music. After the ne monumental work by Pandit V.N. Bhatakhande at the beginning of twentieth century in Hindi books in English by both Indian and western scholars on different aspects Indian music have been published. Some of these are quite useful but none contains a total view of the subject in a single compact volume. Thus there is a great need for easily available reference material in a book in English that can satisfy curiosity and need of the general enthusiast of North Indian Hindustani classical Music as well as serious student and practitioners of Indian classical music.

Moreover many of the books in English which have appeared have had the theme of Indian classical music without focusing particular attention to north Indian Hindustani classical music which has in the last three or four centuries grown and developed in its own right. Although the roots of Indian classical music whether it is north Indian or south Indian (usually referred to as Karnatic music) may be the same and there may be similarities also but with the passage of time there are wide divergences in performance styles as well as in certain theoretical aspect of ragas and the forms of music. Thus there is an obvious gap which needs to be bridged. The purpose of this companion is to provide in one place balanced and fairly comprehensive information focused on north Indian Hindustani classical music for student of the subject and practicing musician (Ustad, Pandit, and maestros excluded) and also for the general and discriminating reader and listener who has had some acquaintance with classical music but wants to understand and appreciated it better.

This book is not a text-book or a thesis on the art and science of Indian classical Music. It also does not claim to be an encyclopedia but it may be approaching that end a its range and sweep and the detailed information it contains is much more than what a dictionary of Hindustani classical music would ordinarily provide some dictionaries of Indian music. It may be mentioned are in existence already including the one by late Raghav R. Menon published by penguin in 1995. This companion is more modeled on the basic type of information contained in penguin dictionary of European music by R. Illings first published in 1950 and in the oxford companion to music (European). I have however been encouraged really by the concept of the type of study and information incorporated about English literature in the well known oxford companion to English literature revised edition of which has also appeared sometimes ago beside its shorter version which prompted and stimulated me to undertake a similar venture for north Indian classical music on a relatively smaller scale. This book is therefore also not a dictionary inasmuch but unlike a dictionary of language where an individual word can be amendable to a short compact and precise definition musical terms forms and structures which involve abstract concepts require an explanation and not a mere description. Sometimes reference to performance style of artists etc. even requires a critical comment or analysis. A historical narrative of developments also becomes necessary as well, and as some of the musical terms are also interconnected occasionally cross-references in the test for the sake of clarity are also escapable. This should however not be mistaken for avoidable repetition.

This companion to North India classical music thus contains wide ranging information arranged alphabetically on technical terms artists and performers Indian musical instruments basic thaats and scale and fairly detailed notes on about 350 North India ragas in prevalent use and their scales. The main text contains a detailed review of the principal raga and in App. A (infra p. 376) classifies these ragas under various thaats or primary scale with an abstract of the scales in both Indian and European solfa notation besides their performance times etc. apart from treatment of the ragas a description of various taals and rhythm structure has been given. The current work of course tries to focus principally on north Indian Hindustani classical music have also been incorporated when meaningful for comparison and contrast reference are also made to European classical music as well. The companion also includes historical references notes on distinguished artists and performers mainly of the twentieth century past and present and comprehensive information about various technical terms that are used in North Indian Hindustani music. Reference to treatises and book on Indian music both ancient and recent are included also. In all about more than 1200 items have been covered in about 1,20,000 word in a straightforward language. Although subjects have been alphabetically arranged the text of the book can be read as a continuous narrative to provide insight into various aspect of Hindustani music.

A word about the Indian notation used in the book. A number of different methods of Indian notation are in vogue and have not been standardized. For this reason this book itself describes and defines the specific nomenclature that has been adopted for notating Indian ragas in this book. (Refer to infra entry notation pp. 215-22) by including information in both Indian and European scales this book should of special interest to musician in Indian and abroad.

Any work on Indian classical music is hampered by the absence of adequate source material. The author has relied on book on Indian music available in English his own studies and notes and information music available in English his own studies and notes and information from personal conversation and discussion with eminent artists musicians spread over a period of several years. There are some ancient treatises on music in Sanskrit these are mentioned in the book but most of these have become outdated. Traditional Indian classical music underwent a sea change in the thirteenth fourteenth centuries under the impact of Mohanmedam influences are believed to have initiated the development of the new style of Hindustani classical music along with the new forms like dhrupad and khayal. Some roots of Hindustani music however even still lie in south Indian of Krnatic Music. During the Mohammedan and mughal period when Hindustani classical music was developing in its own right; some works and treatises were written in Persian. The information in these sources is difficult to glean because of the problems in interpreting the textual and linguistic contents of old text and also because the classical languages like Sanskrit and Persian are no longer in common use and this author does not claim any direct knowledge of these text. Some writings on Indian music in English appeared around the turn of this century for example. The music of Hindustani by A.H. fox-strangways and H.A. popley Music of India most of the earlier twentieth century ustads and maestros like abdul Karim khan (Kiran gharana). Alladiya khan (Jaipur Atrauli Gharana) Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (Patiala gharana) Ustad faiyaz khan (Agra gharana) to gives a few examples were essentially performers and musicologists and left no writing of notice. Amongst the instrumentalists maestros Ustad Hafiz Ali khan sarodist who inherited the glorious tradition of the Gwalior schools of Rababiars left no substantial writing either. In fact even the recorded performances of these artists are mostly not available. Those that exist are in the Archives of AIR it is only after about 1950 that disciples and pupils of the early maestros now ustad/pundits in their own right like Ali Akbar khan, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali khan and Kishori Amonkar have articulated their musical insights to the general audience. Pandit Ravi Shankar has also written a book entitled my life my music. Much earlier, Ustad Ali Khan took the message after himself at san Rafael in California in USA Ali Akbar Khan took the message overseas and established a regular college of Indian music named after himself at San rafeal in California in USA that has created serious interest in Indian classical music amongst western student. He is currently engaged in compiling and publishing a series of volume on bandishes and gats of ragas composed by Ustad Allaudding khan and himself which will preserve and leave a rich legacy of musical storehouse for future generation of student and musicians. The late Pandit Kumar gandharva an eminent vocalist of classical music and a creative artist who acquired a unique style of singing and also innovated several new ragas was also a musicologist. Thus for the first time during the last 45-50 years artists have appeared on the horizon of Hindustani classical Music who are not only great performers but also musicologists. The interest in north Indian musicology may be said to have started with the writings of Pandit V.N. Bhatkande who attempted to do for Hindustani classical music what venkatamakhi the scholar musician had done for Karnatic music in the eighteenth century. Bhatkhande method was pragmatic and inductive while that of venkatamakhi was deductive. Where Bhatkhande sought to rationalize compile and codify the varied and often conflicting strand of north Indian classical Music, venkatamakhi deduced a whole system of karnatic music on logical principles. One result was Bhatkhande 10 thaat system of parental scales for ragas of Hindustani music as these then existed sacrificing theory or art. One result was music as these then existed sacrificing theory for art. On the other hand venkatamakhi worked out an almost mathematically a perfect system of 72 basic melkarta scales with hundreds of their subordinate janya ragas that are theoretically possible but several are devoid of aesthetics appeals and artist merit. Pandit Bhatkhande has been followed by several musicologists, pp. 192-98) Bhatkhande system of classification of ragas though basically sound in principle has become somewhat out of date and is now felt to be inadequate and besides suffers from certain inconsistencies. Several new ragas of a complex nature for example Chandranandan have sprung up with mixed or compound scales which do not quite fit in Bhatkhande scheme of things. Even an older and simpler raga like Patdeep cannot be classified appropriately under any of the 10 thaats and example of this type which are several expose the limitations of the 10 thaats system. For this an alternative scheme. At least it provides an umbrella for classifying practically all the nearly 400 or more ragas of Hindustani music under one of these 27 scale out of these 10 are primary scales; 16 are compound scales and the last one a residuary scale of fit in any raga not covered by the 26 other scale. Forth the sake of brevity various ragas have not been apportioned to a particular scale. That requires a separate dissertation beyond the scope of this book. Suffice to say that inadequacies of bhatkhande classification have been expressed by other musicians and musicologists as well and amongst them is the eminent musicologist and critic Nazir a. Jairazbhoy who has suggested a scheme of 32 thaats. It is time that this subject is given serious consideration by musicians for an agreed acceptable scheme of classification which might be given universal recognition by musicologists and performing musician of eminence alike. Aap. B (infra, P. 412) has therefore been interested to initiate a debate on the subject amongst scholars and musicians.

The younger generation of contemporary artists both vocalists and instrumentalists who amongst the prominent ones figure in the India today music today series of cassettes and CDs have had the benefit of more general education and are more conscious of Musicology and the technical aspects of music. They are also more articulate in English. This trend has also been encouraged by the growth of radio and television the availability of cassette and CD recordings of maestros and outstanding artists the journal of the sangeet Natak academy and the efforts of several organization and societies like spicmacay which sponsors lecture demonstration of Hindustani musicology during the last half century. There is also growing interests the general public and enlightened persons both in India and abroad in northern Indian classical music and awareness of its beauty and aesthetic appeals.

Moreover in a situation of evolutionary changes like those of Hindustani classical music certain technical terms in usage their spellings particularly their English versions and even structure and scales of certain ragas are not standardizes and are not free from controversy amongst different musicologists gharanas or schools of music and this present an additional difficulty for the writer of a book of this type to obviate or minimize which an attempt has been made to accept the most common usage. It may be appreciated that the roots of most technical terms are derived from Sanskrit and in some cases Persian and other Indian languages like Tamil and Malayalm. Moreover in the very nature of Indian classical Music scales or ragas although an essential framework are like seketons without flesh and blood and do not transmit the entire spirit essences and flavuor a raga. Indian classical music and particularly Hindustani classical music ultimately is to be heard felt and learnt and accordingy appreciated. For the student it is handed down to him in apprenticeship by the teacher. The tradition is oral and not written swaras tals, and ragas and even the bandished are often spontaneously evolved during performances unlike the pre-set kritis of Karnatic Music, and if not pre-et traditional bandhises also defy analysis hence, the importance of guru shishya tradition.

An explanation and description of various term and concept the nature of ragas and their scale and of various instruments tals and rhythms that are used besides notes on outstanding artists and performers as contained in this companion will therefore at least serve the purpose of increased intellectual understanding and appreciation of Hindustani classical music. However this may still leave room for some controversy in some cases and even a few bonafide errors of fact or interpretation for which the author accepts responsibility and craves rears indulgence in the hope and expectation that discussion amongst the discriminating readers and critics and musicians on such different will eventually lead of Hindustani classical music and more standardization eventually comparable to that of karnatic music in musicological terms. It is believed that while in north Indian classical music theory has often followed practice in karnatic music the opposite has been the case of practice following the theory. It is however, obvious that time has arrived when north Indian or Hindustani classical music deserves to be treated general or as an appendage to south Indian karnatic music and this companion reflect this focus. Terms and information not relevant to Hindustani classical music although relevant for karnatic music have therefore been generally omitted. The work also excludes from its scope and purview light and folk music.

Inspite of the care exercised if there are still any factual errors or shortcomings the author is wholly responsible for them and would like the reader to overlook them in the hope that it will be possible to correct and remove them in any future edition of his book for which suggestion are most welcome. I may also mention that it is difficult to include or exclude the names of all contemporary artists and musicians of note. While most of the outstanding and prominent musicians and performers of the twentieth century would have found a mention in this book it is possible that some of the contemporary artists particularly of the younger generation who have made a mark either as artist on all India Radio and doordarshan or on the concert circuit in recent years might not have found a place and got omitted mostly for lack of adequate information about them with the author. No slight is however meant to them any such omission should not also be treated as a lack of recognition of their merit as artists. My indebtedness and acknowledgment are also due to the various author who have written about Indian music in English language and who have provided in their writings information and insights into certain aspects of Indian classical music particularly to the authors of books published in the last twenty years or so. Some of the book on which I have placed reliance for information and sources material in absence on my direct access to Sanskrit text are listed in the bibliography. As regards the scales and interpretation of ragas of Hindustani music there is room for difference of opinion and even controversy as musicians of different gharanas often perform the same raga in a different manner. I have interpreted the scales of the ragas and the structure of the ragas from the most commonly accepted prevalent usage or form my own experience as a former member of the staff of AIR Lucknow during late nineteen forties in charge of planning and production of music programmes and as a performing violinist in case of doubt I have tried to rely on the scales of ragas and their interpretation of the Agra gharana being a former student of a disciple of Ustad Faiyaz khan viz., late Sardar Sohan Singh as well as on the Maihar gharana of Ustad allaudding khan which has ever been a source of inspiration to me. I also acknowledge indebtedness to some excellent description of ragas scales and structure contained in the notes and jacket material available with the Music today series of Cassettes and CDs and also to the notes written by artists themselves regarding their own performances of certain ragas. I also wish to record my thanks to all those interested in Indian classical music and friends who have encouraged me to write this book. My particular appreciation is also placed on record of the secretarial assistance and voluminous typing work rendered by a number of stenographers and stenotypists of whom a particular mention may be made of Shri R.K Patra. I am grateful to Munshiram Manoharlal publishers, New Delhi who have had have has long experience of publishing books on Indian music, art, culture, history and philosophy and particularly to Shri Devendra Jain the managing director of publication for not only having accepted this manuscript for publication but also giving valuable suggestion which resulted in a significant improvement in the original draft of the manuscript. I am also particularly grateful to Ustad Ali Akbar khan Sarod maestro and a doyen amongst Indian musicians to have taken interest in this project and for writing a foreword to this book. Overall I trust this companion to north Indian classical music should be of great interest and utility to teacher student and practitioners of Indian music general readers and musicians both in India and abroad.


Preface to the Second Revised EditionXI
Preface to the First EditionXIII
A.Alphabetical List of Hindustani Raga with Abstract of Scales and other particulars376
B.Possible 27 Basic Scales (Thaats) Alternative Classification412
C.Awards to Musicians415
D.Discography Selected Catalogue of Cassettes, CDs, and LPs419
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