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Karnataka Music as Aesthetic Form

R. Sathyanarayana, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, 2004, History of Science, Philosophy, and Culture in Indian Civilization, PHISPC Monograph Series, xiii, 185 p, ISBN : 8187586168, $19.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Preface. 1. Art experience. 2. Autonomy of music experience. 3. Aesthetic materials of Indian music. 4. Composition in Karnataka music. 5. Musical form in Karnataka music. 6. Musical instruments in Karnataka music. 7. Historiography of Karnataka music. Index.

"Karnataka Music as Aesthetic Form is probably the first serious and systematic attempt to analyse and explain aesthetic experience of Karnataka music in the perspective of its multiple values. It deals with a traditional art form of Indian music which is performed and enjoyed by many millions of music lovers in India and abroad. Its focus is Karnataka music but much of what it says in the first half applies to Indian music in general.

The book develops its ideas and concepts progressively, beginning with an analysis of art experience, set forth against a background of human experience in general and examines some of the prominent Indian and western theoretical models of art experience and beauty. The main thrust of its argument presented with philosophical insights is that experience of pure music is qualitatively different from other forms of aesthetic experience, incomparable and autonomous, and that traditional aesthetic theories of poetry and theatre are inadequate to explain musical experience per se. The author examines, in the process, aesthetic materials and compositional design of Indian music as well as the musical forms and instruments employed in contemporary Karnataka music. Historical continuity and chronology of the musical system are discussed in relation to general and particular historiographical problems and in relation to the historical evolution of the characterising features of the system viz. raga, tala, vadya and prabandha. It may be mentioned that art historiography with special reference to Indian music is one of the author's major interests.

The book is based on extensive, original sources drawn from different areas of study such as aesthetics, Indian music, Vedic and Tantric literature." (jacket)

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