From the preface: "A Regular Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians has been a long felt desideratum. The present work is a humble attempt to supply that want. For western music, there are such standard works as Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The Oxford Companion to Music, the Macmillan Encyclopaedia of Music and Musicians and Riemann’s Lexicon. No such ambitious work has so far been attempted for Indian music either in English or in the Indian languages. The author is glad that the publication of volume I of this Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians, synchronises with the completion of twenty-five years of his career as an author of music books. The other three volumes of this Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians will be published shortly.
In this Dictionary, topics of interest to different classes of readers have been covered. The Professional musician as well as the teacher, writer, research scholar, student, concertgoer, radio listener and the Rasika, all alike will find this a useful reference book. Essential and relevant information on all matters have been included. Concise summaries of important operas and dance dramas have been given. The meaning of a technical term which one may come across in an article may be got by turning to it, in its alphabetical position. Longer articles have been divided into sections and numbered. No attempts have been made to include the biographies of a large number of performers.
Nomenclatures pertaining to srutis and svaras and the empirical and mnemonic nomenclatures for the 35 talas have been given. Plural meanings for those technical terms which admit of them have been given. In the technical terms, only their musical senses have been noticed and not their ordinary meanings. Thus for Aditya, the musical meanings alone are given and not the meaning ‘sun’.
Current terms as well as obsolete terms, current ragas as well as obsolete ragas, current talas as well as obsolete talas, current musical forms as well as obsolete musical forms and current musical instruments as well as obsolete musical instruments have been noticed in this dictionary. Ragas and talas mentioned in authoritative manuscripts and which have not found a place in printed works on music have been noticed. Rare ragas and talas figuring in Yakshaganas and Kathakali Plays have also been noticed.
The dates given herein for musical luminaries are those of the Christian era. The cross references given in many cases will be found useful.
Though the present book concerns itself primarily with South Indian Music and Musicians, terms, ragas, talas, composers and instruments pertaining to North Indian Music have also been included. A few terms pertaining to Western Music have also been explained.
Music Institutions and societies of music are noticed under music societies.
Musical titles which have been conferred by state Governments and statutory bodies have been noticed. Titles conferred by musical institutions of standing, have been noticed under the particular titles and the recipients noted therein."