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Hindustani and Carnatic music – a unifying essay

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Alaap cover

Much of my initial exposure to classical music has been in the Hindustani or Western form, and to me Carnatic has been an ‘other side’,  which I have for a long time not been able to put in perspective. Conversely,  many of my friends who are students of Carnatic face the mirror issue. Descriptions of each of the forms of Indian music that I have read elsewhere (and especially at concerts) have been clearly biased – the Hindustani-bias in exerting its superiority over Carnatic for its far greater spontaneity in form, the Carnatic stream conversely arguing for its ‘purity’ in that it was never ‘corrupted’ by the Mughal influence, among other things. There seems to be some truth in both the statements, but not enough to make them mutually exclusive, and divisive.

For the first time late last year I read this essay ‘Hindustani and Carnatic music’ that was unifying, and actually free of bias. Hence the sharing with you music lovers. Do feel free to send across other such essays/articles if you’ve come across any. Thx !

Alaap set

Alaap as a compilation – is excellent;  comes with a very nice book accompanying the 20 CDs,

Very beautifully written book.

That apart, the CDs alone still make very good listening…

A Discovery of Indian Clasical Music

It is with an Alaap that an Indian musician begins to explore and introduce a Raga. This is why, this unique creation of 20 Audio CDs and a resource Book has been titled Alaap. Researched and compiled by Sri Aurobindo Society, it is an authentic introduction to Indian Classical Music.

The various magical dimensions of Indian Music – the deep truths, the facts that are stranger than fiction, the variety and richness, the unity and the diversity, of the Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) styles, are all brought together in one comprehensive and fascinating set.

Alaap is formed of three parts. Part I (6 CDs) seeks for the spiritual core of Indian music and explains the mystical elements of the Swara, the Guru-shishya-parampara, the Sadhana, in the framework of the Raga and the Tala. Part II (7 CDs) presents the Hindustani or the North Indian style, its language, techniques, gharanas, instruments and the meaning of improvisation. Part III (7 CDs) presents the Carnatic or the South Indian style, its terminology, its richness and complexities, its ancient tradition.

Alaap helps one understand, appreciate and enjoy Indian Classical Music as a living experience. One shares the insights of the great masters and listens to some of the finest unforgettable music creations of the last 50 years – names which have become synonymous with Indian music – Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Omkarnath Thakur, Shemmangudi Srinivas Iyer, Bhimsen Joshi, Bala Murali Krishna, Vilayat Khan, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Girija Devi, T.R. Mahalingam, Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain and many more.

Alaap has something for all – whether a beginner, wanting to understand and appreciate Indian Classical Music, or a scholar and a musician deeply involved in it, whether one who just enjoys music or someone completely in love with it. As the Sufi Mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan says, “In music no one leaves empty-handed. Everyone gets as much as he can take.”

Alaap is indeed a discovery of Indian Classical Music, where the art of listening itself can be a journey to the depths of one’s soul. To listen to Alaap is to experience the wonder that is India.

In the beauty of its presentation, in the wide scope of its contents, in its authenticity and depth, perhaps Alaap stands all by itself. The set has an exclusive look and is created in the form of the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts of India where each leaf contains 2 CDs. Alaap is available also as audio-cassettes. The result of years of painstaking research, Alaap is a labour of love, created by Sri Aurobindo Society and brought to you by Times Music.

Alaap can be ordered through courier service in India and abroad. The costs are as follows:

i) 20 CD set with Book – by courier to countries outside India (including Canada and USA) – US $ 155 (including packing and courier delivery charges).

ii) 20 CD set with Book – by courier in India – Rs.4,900/- (including packing and courier delivery charges).

iii) 20 Audio-cassettes set with Book – Rs.1,750/- (packing and freight extra).

The payment may be made in favour of “Splendour” by either Demand Draft or Banker’s Cheque.

For placing the orders or for further information please email here:

splendour@sriaurobindosociety.org.in

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