25 October, 2020

Water Music

Wallowing in raga aesthetics

Water Music
For readers looking for an easy guide to Indian music, this book offers no succour. For, the author (a respected critic and bhakta of music) bluntly admits in the preface that the book 'gives you as few facts about Indian music as it can possibly do without.' It claims instead to articulate the 'wonder and exhilaration' that overtakes both listener and practitioner while making music. And there's no doubting Menon's passionate love for Indian music, as you read his poetic and elegant semantic journey into the world of Indian music. A cursory glance at the chapters (Swara or Nothing) could mislead the hasty into dismissing the book as mere poetic mystification of an already mystified art form, but that's unwise. Packed into its sugar-coated lyricism are bullions of information on varied subjects ranging from cultural policy to the pioneering contributions of V.D. Paluskar and V.N. Bhatkhande, and an entire chapter on the extraordinary sound and function of the tanpura. Occasionally, statements so beautifully articulated occur that one is compelled to exclaim in admiration. Take these...


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