The Ragas of Early Indian Music

The Ragas of Early Indian Music : Modes, Melodies, and Musical Notations from the Gupta Period to c. 1250

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Description

The concept of raga, the traditional basis of melodic composition and improvisation in Indian classical music, has become familiar to listeners and musicologists throughout the world, but its historial origins and early development have been little explored. This book draws on written documents from the pre-Islamic period in India, including musical treatises (expecially that of the thirteenth-century theorist, Sarngadeva), literary works, and a remarkable inscription comprising musical notation. These documents bear witness to the development of the earlies ragas, which they name, classify, define, and in some cases illustrate with melodic examples. The melodies, which have not previously been studied in detail, for the focus of the book, which analyses their notation, musical structure and relationship to the theoretical tradition in which they are embedded, as evidence for the early history of melodic compostion and improvisation in the Indian tradition. Dr Widdess's comprehensive treatment of his subject will be of interest to musicologists and ethnomusicologists, particularly those concerned with music theory, mode and monody, and improvisation, and also Sanskritists and other Indologists.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 192 x 250 x 30mm | 997.9g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • music examples, halftones, line drawings, tables, maps
  • 0193154641
  • 9780193154643

Review quote

The subject presents an enormous challenge, and Widdess has met it impressively ... It is often difficult to make even conjectural sense of the data, and Widdess does a remarkably sane job under the circumstances ... Widdess shows it is possible to write beautifully and informatively in the total absence of recrimination and accusation, and the book is an excellent demonstration of the complete dispensability of the confrontational, aggressive, moral high-ground writing which has recently become so common in ethnomusicology. * Robert C. Provine, University of Durham, British Jrnl of Ethnomusicology, Vol 6, 1997 * Despite the large number of previous analytical studies, the raga has never, to my knowledge, been subjected such a thorough historical treatment. * Anderson Bakewell, Asian Affairs, October 1996 * This work, based on the author's 1981 doctoral thesis, presents us with by far the most extensive and detailed study of the early raga system yet attempted ... unique and startlingly effective contribution ... Author and publisher have gone to considerable lengths to ensure the quality of text and presentation. No matter how difficult the arguments become they are always presented as clearly as possible, without succumbing to over-simplification or the avoidance of difficult issues. The text is free of typographical and other errors to an astonishing degree, and music examples seem to have been checked with similar thoroughness ... There can be little doubt that this work will come to be regarded as a classic in its field: indeed, a milestone not only in Indic musicology but in historical ethnomusicology as a whole. * Martin Clayton, Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies *show more