The first part of the book traces the history of Indian music and the continuity of its theory and practice for more than two thousand years. It is based on many years' research into the vast ancient Sanskrit literature of music. These valuable technical treatises, which lie in the form of scarcely catalogued manuscripts throughout the public and private libraries of India, had hitherto remained unemplored. Part Two transcribes and studies in detail 50 typical Raga-s. Each is preceded by a Sanskrit poem in translation which depicts the atmosphere; then follows an analysis of the scale, covering its intervals and expression, a study of the theme with its characteristic motives and finally a typical development.
The present work is based on the author's two-volume Northern Indian Music published in London (but not America) some ten years ago, but long out of print and much sought after by students. It was described by Colin Mason in the Manchester Guardian as "of immense value to any practical musician" and "an invaluable addition to the very scanty literature of fascinating and neglected subject". This new version contains a number of additional Raga-s; the earlier text has been extensively revised and many music examples redrawn for greater clarity and accuracy. Some abridgement has taken place, but only of material which appeared originally for the benefit of Indian readers unfamiliar with Western staff notation, those able to read Sanskrit, and specialists in Sanskrit literature.
The book provides modern composers outside India with a source of new inspiration and enables practising musicians to play and study some of the endlessly variegated modes for which Indian music is unique.
About the Author:
Alain Danielou is Director of the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation, Berlin, and adviser for Oriental Music to the International Music Council (UNESCO). Born in Paris, he pursued scientific and artistic studies before specializing in musicology. He traveled extensively in North Africa, the Middle East, China and Japan and then settled in India, where he studied Indian Music and philosophy, Hindi and Sanskrit, and made a unique collection (over 800) of Sanskrit manuscripts on music. In 1949 he was appointed Research Professor of Music at Benares Hindu University and in 1954 became Director of the Adyar Library and Research Centre in Madras.
In 1959 he returned to Europe, joining the Ecole Francaise d' Extreme Orient in Paris, and subsequently became Director of Studies of the Centre d'Etudes de Musique Orientale of Paris. He has written extensively in both French and English on Oriental Music and on many aspects of Indian history and culture, and has also published two novels. He is the general editor of the three UNESCO collections of records: "Anthology of the Orient" (Barenreiter Musicaphon), "Musical Sources" (Philips, Holland) and "Musical Altas" (EMI, Italy).