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Re: Indian music

Christian wrote:

>Alain Daniélou wrote a couple of books about classical music of North
>India, he wrote about the history of India, the writers, the melodic
>developments, ragas, talas... And he gave a lot of Ragas.. I think his
>books are a great introduction...

D'accord!  One really helpful book of his (in English) is "The Raga-s of
Northern Indian Music" (1980, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi).
The first half of the book deals with history, tuning systems, etc. and the
second half gives a brief outline of many of the major ragas in Western
notation.  Although Danielou's theories and writings on Indian music are
considered somewhat suspect by purists, he certainly did much to advance
Indian musicological thought outside of India.  And, as Christian 
his writings are an excellent introduction.

Here are a few more suggestions:

"Indian Music" by B.C. Deva (1974, Indraprastha Press, New Delhi [with many
reprints] ISBN 81 85434 069)
A general overview of Indian music by one of the foremost Indian
musicologists.  Very well-written, and a good introduction to musical
history, instruments, etc.  Although it includes an extensive glossary, the
work presupposes some knowledge of the music and its terminology.

"My Music, My Life" by Ravi Shankar (1968, Simon and Schuster, New York,
Library of Congress # 68-28918).  Mostly autobiography, but also a good
introduction to the music from the perspective of the performer.  Also
includes a short manual on beginning sitar, with many exercises in Indian
notation (with explanations of how to read the notation).

"Indian Music In Performance - A Practical Introduction" by Neil Sorrell 
Pt. Ram Narayan (1980, Manchester University Press, ISBN 0 7190 0756 9).  
excellent book if you can find it.  Gives a very thorough background in
Indian music theory, scales, instruments, history, etc.  Pandit Ram Narayan
is a virtusoso soloist on the bowed lute called sarangi.  Again, this work
offers the perspective of Indian music from a renowned performer.  There 
numerous suberb transcriptions of phrases, melodies, composiitions, etc. in
Western notation.

"The Music of India" by Peggy Holroyde (1972, Praeger Publishers, New York,
Library of Congress # 76-158093)  A very good introduction to the classical
traditions of both North and South India (unfortunately,  South Indian 
does not seem to "travel" as well outside of India).  This is a worthwhile
read, despite the very unscholarly nature of the writing.  For example, the
author makes some very silly comparisons of classical ragas to similar
melodies found in show tunes or European folk music.  In other words,
comparing apples and oranges.  But her heart is in the right place.

"Music In India:  The Classical Traditions" by Bonnie Wade. (Sorry, I don't
have the publication information).  An excellent, more scholarly
introduction to both North and South Indian classical musics.  A basic
knowledge of Western musical terminology/theory is assumed, but overall 
is a very informative work.

These are all good introductory works on Indian music.  An incredible,
although more highly specialized, work is:

"Sitar and Sarod in the 18th and 19th Centuries" by Allyn Miner (1993,
Florian Noetzel Verlag, Wilhelmshaven, ISBN 3-7959-0666-0, also reprinted 
Motilal Banarsidas Publishers, New Delhi)  This work is a history of the
development of the two most prominent plucked string instruments in North
India today.  I will admit a huge bias on my part since Allyn-ji has been 
primary teacher for the past 17 years.  Nevertheless, I have heard this 
praised by many prominent Indian musicians and musical scholars, one of 
even referred to it publicly as "the Bible of Indian instrumental history."
Topics treated include a general overview of all stringed instruments used
in the North Indian classical tradition, development of sitar and sarod 
Persian, Afghani, and Central Asian models, playing styles of various
musicians and musical centers, etc., as well as many examples of various
compositions for the two instruments (in Indian notation).  Again, a very
specialized and in-depth work, but well worth reading.

James Pokorny