Acoustical Perspective on Raga-Rasa Theory

Suvarnalata Rao, Munshiram Manoharlal, 2000, xiv, 145 p, ISBN : 8121508789, $17.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Preface. Introduction. I. The emergence of the raga-rasa concept: 1. The concept of rasa. 2. Interpretations of the term rasa. 3. Aesthetic relevance. 4. Categories of rasas. 5. Subdivisions and interdependence of rasas. 6. The raga concept in Indian music. II. Raga-rasa as expounded in ancient, medieval and modern works: 1. Raga-rasa as expounded in the ancient Sanskrit works. 2. Rasa-rasa as expounded in the medieval treatises. 3. Raga-rasa as expounded in modern works. III. Indian and western interpretations on rasa-emotion: 1. Western views on music-emotion. 2. Similarities and dissimilarities between the Indian and western views. IV. Approaches used to study raga-rasa in the acoustical perspective: 1. Traditional profile of raga Yaman. 2. Melodic movement analyser. 3. LVS system. 4. Methods adopted for acoustical analysis of raga-rasa. V. Results accrued from the experiments: 1. Pitch measurements for individual notes. 2. Details of vocal inflections. 3. Observations pertaining to the melodic movement of the raga being performed (Yaman). VI. Conclusions. Appendices. Bibliography. Index.

"Rasa, as an aesthetic experience, has always been a dominant feature of art and art criticism in India. This study examines rasa as related to Indian music, specially the raga. A new approach has been made for understanding the complex issue of raga-rasa relation, wherein, theories and tools of modern scientific technology have been employed. This may perhaps be the first work in recent times to examine the aspects of intonation and melodic movement in the actual performance context, using very sensitive computer software.

"A specially innovative section of the book deals with a detailed comparison between Indian and western viewpoints on the issue of music and emotion. The exhaustive literature survey presented on the subject of raga-rasa provides excellent source material on the subject. It includes the historical evolution of rasa as applied to various aspects of Indian music. Although no specificity in terms of a particular rasa can be attached to the aesthetic experience associated with a raga, this study reassures that the principles inherent in a raga and their aesthetic capabilities are not mere theoretical norms but a reality leading to the blissful experience of rasa." (jacket)

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