Though it should be conceded that the practical aspect of music (Lakshya) is more important than the theory of music (Lakshana), one cannot totally afford to ignore the latter. Theory will help a musician acquire a scientific mind and know what he is singing. Hence, the subject of musicology is gaining in importance these days. At least, a fair knowledge of the theory of music, will give a student of music, the necessary courage of conviction. It will also make the listeners more discerning.
"Sangeetha Laalitha Lahari," a book on Musicology written by Sri S. Mukund will be of much benefit to the students and lovers of music. Mukund is a very knowledgeable musicologist and a composer in his own right. This is quite a comprehensive book covering many important aspects of Karnatic music, right from the origin of 'Nada' and 'Tala' to the later trends and developments. The chapter on the comparative study of Karnatic, Hindusthani and Western music of consideral interest.
The book is Written in a simple style and could easily be understood by one and all interested in music. It also gives fair insight into the Indian system of Music, which would be very useful for foreigners interested in Indian music, as well as Indian students and music lovers.
The exhaustive lexicon on the 760 South Ragas. Under the 72 Melas, opens out a vista for knowledge and experimentation, for the youth with scientific and aesthetic bent of mind. As the well-known composer have utilised the several aspects of many a raga; a modern composer has to explore the untouched and unknown ragas.
The detailed thesaurus of 300 Ragas, reveals important facets of the popular ragas as also many a rare raga; It is highly beneficial for study and amporvement of one's knowledge; whether one is from the east or the West.
A study of this book can give the reader, a fair idea of all the essential aspects of music, and South Indian music in particular.
The Late Professor P. Sambamoorthy may called 'The father of Indian musicology' and placed the South Indian music world, under a deep debt of gratitude by publishing many volumes of his 'South Indian Music Books' andhis monumental 'Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians' which, like Dr. Samuel Johnson, he compiled almost single-handed.
Much water has flowed under the bridge, since his time, and diligent research by other Indian musicologists has brought to light, a plethora of information about Indian Music. Prestigious institutions, like the Madras Music Academy have brought out publications of enduring value.
Bangalore S. Mukund started his musical career as a prodigy and grew up as a competent musicologist and composer. He has also been doing research side by and has collected voluminous information on a variety of subjects connected with Indian music. He has now come forward to place his precious collection before the music world, in the form of his book in English, the "Sangeetha Laalithya Lahari". The Waves of Elegance in Music).
After a brief chapter on the history of Music, called 'Gaana Ithihaasa Vasshinee', he proceeds with Laya, Swara, the 72 scales of Karnatic Music, and has produced an ingenious chart called The 'Janaka Raaga Swara Saarinee'. Chapter iv entitled 'Raaga Saagara deals with the bewildering variety of ragas found in music. The author, later takes the reader through the 22 srutis phenomenon, essentials of composed music, and there is an interesting chapter on classical dance.
The Chapter on 'Great Personalities in music', will be of use to the teacher and the student alike.
Part II of the book, opens with 'Raaga Tharanga Vaahinee' (The Waves that flow from Melodies) in which the arohana and avarohana of no less than 760 ragas have furnished; the janyas shown under the respective mela kartaas. This is followed by the more detailed Part III 'Madhuramaaninee' in which the details of important ragas have been furnished with-known compositions in each. This part comprises an astounding number of 300 ragas and has been rightly dedicated to Smt. Jayalakshmi Srinivasan, the author's mother, who has been the inspiration behind his efforts to compile this 'Raga Thesaurus'.
The prodigious labour put in by Mukund in writing this book is bound to be of benefit to not only music students but also teachers, and I fervently hope that they will take advantage of the author's labour of love.
It has been my misfortune, that I could only take the core and gist of the lectures and put it down in the book. I thought that, as a first step, it will serve as both a layman's guide or a basic text for pupils and would be of primary use. Hence, brevity has to be given importance. However, the details on ragas has been given quite detail, as they are very useful for music listeners also. I pains since I was fourteen, while at Hyderabad, to collect details of various ragas, make notes on them; create a lexicon also. I collected Keerthanaa details as well; such as their names ragas and composers. With these, I have attempted to open "A Window to The World of Music" and throw light for the beginners, as well as music lovers, who had developed a taste for furtherance of one's knowledge in music. I believe, I have tried my best to present in this book, as simply as possible, a river of music.
My grandmother Smt. Seethalakshmi Ramanathan, has been a light house of inspiration to me, since I was a little boy and my mother, authoress Smt. Jayalakshnmi Srinivasan has indeed given me great support and has encouraged me in all my efforts to write and finish this book. I seek their blessings, constantly. (My grand mother, as a small girl used to help elders and learn songs in erturn!)
My fervent hope is, that this book will cater to students of music, lovers of music and laymen, and aid them to appreciate and enjoy music all the more. I think, the book's right place is beside the radio and the tape recorder.
I end this note with salutes and tributes to the great sages Bharatha, Datthila, Mathanga, Narada; the grandsires of Indian music. Salutes and Tributes also to the great composers, the six gems of Carnatic Music,; Sri Purandaradasa (Padasudhaambudhi) Sri. Knaka Dasa (Padarathnaakara), Sri Syama Sastri (Devee Gaandharwasaagara) Sri. Thyagaraja (Raagaraama vaaridhi) Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar (Mukthaaphala Xheerabdhi) Sri Swathi Tirunal (Maahendra neela sindhu) (The Diamond, The Topaz, The Emerals, The Rubly, The Pearl and The Sapphire.
Also my salutes and tributes to the modern guiding stars – Prof. V. N. Bhathkande and Prof. P. Sambamoorthty.
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