The book is meant primarily for people who take some interest in the scientific study of music. Hin-dustani music has a large audience to-day owing to the introduction of gramophone and the develop-ment of broadcasting. There is a certain curiosity, a growing desire to know its basic principles and distinctive features. There also exists a keenly felt want for a standardised theory of Hindustani music and this short treatise attempts to state the problems that need solution before we hope to achieve this end.
Nearly a century intervenes between the publication of Capt. Willard's 'A Treatise on the Music of Hindoostan' in 1834 and Pandit Bhatkhande's `Hindustani Sangit Paddhati (last vol.) in 1932. This has been a period of activity and researches into the subject. Problems have cropped up meanwhile which require re-planning and re-organization of material and it is time somebody took stock of the progress made for their proper appreciation.
The first chapter defines certain elements of Hindustani music which seem to us to be essential. to its understanding. Mutual relation among the elements is explained in order to make them intelligible parts of the musical structure. The problems are bound up with the elements and slowly take shape when examined in the light of explaining their signi-ficance. This method eliminates the inclusion of all un-necessary details and brings into broad relief aspects which often receive too little attention in musical criticism.
The second chapter summarises the historical material of earlier centuries and supplies just so much information as is necessary for understanding the problems. This has necessitated hunting up of suitable material from Sanskrit treatises. Much new matter has been utilized which has been based on careful reading of texts. A short descriptive account of Capt. Willard serves as a transition to modern times contributing scientific outlook and methodology to the treatment of music. A little additional material with advanced treatment occurs in discussions which have taken the form of independent essays and have been placed near the end in Appendices I-VI. A few originals of important Sanskrit verses will he found in App. IX. The subject will be taken up In detail in my 'A Short History of Hindustani Music'.
In the discussions two writers from the nineteenth century find special mention, choice being made for writers of systematic treatises. Capt. N. A. Willard's work appeared in 1834. It was followed by Mr. Kshetramohan Goswami's Saligita-sara in 1868 and by Mr. Krishnadhan Banerjee's Gita-sutra-sara in 1885 both written in Bengali. Twentieth century is represented by Pandit V. N. Bhatkhande's Hintani Sangit Paddhati (4 vols.) and Kramik Pustak Malika (4 vols.) in Marathi published between 1910 and 1932. Names of a. few well-known, and deservedly well-known, writers in contemporary musical criticism have been omitted as they do not materially differ from the above writers. Meaning no disrespect to them, I hesitate to anticipate the verdict of history. A few important articles by Mr. A. H. Fox Strangways, Rao Bahadur P. R. Bhandarkar and Mr. V. V. Phadke have, however, been noticed.
Criticism has not been merely negative and the object of the book is not to pile up shortcomings of existing theories, for every theory will be found wanting after the lapse of probably a decade. There
is here sufficient hint for reconstructing the entire basis of Hindustani music on more systematic and rational lines. The very way of arranging, defining and emphasizing things will not, I hope, fail to reveal this. As exhaustive treatment is beyond the scope of a book of this nature, it will be carried out in its completeness in three separate books i. e. 1. Folk-songs and Melody-types. 2. Rhythm and Music. 3. Words and the Melody. Some of my views have been expressed in articles published in the quarterlies—Sangeeta (English) of Lucknow, Parichaya (Bengali) of Calcutta and Visva-bharati (English) of Santinketan.
This short treatise has been prepared for the use of students of music, but will, it is hoped, prove to be a well-ordered presentation of facts for the reader interested in music. My personal and professional experience of a teacher and a musician has guided me in writing this book. Any help in the form of mentioning misstatements or misrepresentations existing in the book will be gratefully acknowledged.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend