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... ABOUT THE BOOK

     A mere academic treatise on the modalities for incorporating 22 tones or 12 tones in classical music is NOT the main theme of my Book! My Study goes deeper into the very rudiments of ‘music’ and traces its origin and the design principles. Being an Indian, I could not divest from the age-old Indian belief system that our contemporary music culture had, indeed, percolated to us from an extremely remote past. I concede that this happens to be the most dominant underlying psyche of mine, as I approached the subject initially.   

     This ancient ‘music culture’ seems to have permeated through several millennia of oral traditions. Transcription of these traditions, however, was a relatively recent event, i.e. as late as 200 BC (the period of Bharata Muni and Dattila). Alas! It had been rather too late! Ambiguities and haze had already crept in and scholars of the posterity remained busy since then trying to interpret only to find themselves in a deep dogmatic mire. The enormity of ‘haze’ is grim: for example, data-base pertinent to the most fundamental parameter of music, i.e. ‘quantification’ of the constituent tonal values, is itself missing ; posterior scholarship could help little to demystify!

 

    In my Book “THE MYSTIC CITADEL OF 22 SRUTIs MUSIC” , I had taken the view that this veil surrounding our ‘Ancient Music’ is by no means ‘accidental’; it was probably a deliberate act of ‘encoding’ on the part of an advanced (now extinct!) ancient civilization that had revelled in this music! Notwithstanding this act of concealment, they seem to have left some ‘keys’ in our cultural processes that would enable its ‘recovery’ at a ripe moment during the long haul of ‘time’. Dissemination of these ‘keys’ was not confined to any specific cultural group; it was lateral and cross-cultural. By this I mean to imply that this ‘Ancient Music’ is our common heritage, as seen from a global perspective.

 

   The West visualized music as group of ‘mathematical fractions’. Pythagorus of Ancient Greece postulated that only ‘Simple Fractions’ constitute music; ‘Complex Fractions’ would only result in noise and discord. Archytas, the mathematical visionary of the Pythagorean era intuited that music should be realized as ‘,eans’ between extremities. These doctrines were rather vague and cryptic and therefore, their followers couldn’t unravel their hidden wisdom! It is amazing that Sumerians OF 4000 B.C. antiquity(the earliest civilization known to our recorded history) worshipped gods in the form of ‘numbers’ and more specifically as ‘simple fractions’. These fractions were formulated by their concept of “Fusion’ of each god with the Chief God ‘Anu’. Extrapolation of this concept of ‘Fusion’ results in the emergence of 22 such ‘simple fractions’. It is surprising to observe that these 22 fractions are also found embedded in the gramas and murchanas of ancient Indian musicology!

 

    From an Indian viewpoint, the most fundamental inheritance was the Holy Sama Veda handed down as the ‘Sadja-grama’ Scheme (We may roughly describe this Scheme as ‘a group of minor notes’!). The medieval musicologists were busy trying to enlarge the scope of this ‘basic inheritance’ by way of another scheme known as ‘Madhyama-grama’and ‘murchanas’ (seven modes each derived from both the grama schemes, something similar to the ancient ‘modes’ of Greek music).

 

  These systems trickled down the line of our music history till the 17 th Century A.D., when they were modified by Sri. Venkatamakhin and re-cast as ‘72 Melakarta’ (Carnatic traditions) and and by Dr. Bhatkhande as ‘10 Thaats’ (North Indian traditions). These schemes are currently in vogue among contemporary musicians of India.

 
In this Book, I had held the view that the ‘driving doctrines’ for the vertical development of music in the aforesaid manner were ‘fundamentally flawed’. Some of the major arguments in support of my contention are: -
 
Sadja-grama scheme. Being the most ‘basic inheritance’, this Scheme should have been viewed by the medieval musicologists as the ‘First Key’ for ‘cracking’ the ancient codes. They failed to comprehend this subtle aspect.
   
‘Grama-Transformation ’. Our medieval musicologists once again failed to smell the ‘Second Key’ underlying the doctrine of Sadja-grama - Madhyama-grama ‘transformation’; this ‘second key’ was, in fact, meant for doubling the ‘group of five minor notes’ into a ‘group of five major notes’.
   
Murchanas. The evolution of 14 murchanas from the gramas should have been similarly visualized as the ‘Third Key’. If only the two grama schemes were churned in their ‘subtle forms’ of simple fractions, all members of the family of ‘simple fractions’ would have become manifest.
   

     Having missed the ‘opportunities’ for ‘cracking the ancient codes’ by means of the grama-murchana processes, medieval Indian musicologists had handed down to the posterity only a de facto ‘Equal Temperament’ system. During the last century, there seems to be a further ‘drift’ towards a ‘Just Intonation’ system?

 

     In my view, the ‘family of simple fractions’ is the swara-base over which the edifice of ‘Ancient Music’ was required to be erected. It is interesting to note that this family of ‘simple fractions’ (identified and named by me as “N-Fractions”; the prefix ‘N’ denoting ‘Nature’) is ‘highly structured’, as viewed from several perspectives and therefore, most suitable to provide the vital constituents needed for the resurrection of our ‘ancient’ music. These features have received extensive elaboration in my Book

 
     The ‘N-Fractions’ also have a halo of ‘mysticism’ around it; it had consistently defied the attempts by our fore-fathers to gain access to its true identity. I have devoted a separate chapter for highlighting the mystic elements contained in NFractions.
 

      In this Book, I have shared my views with the Reader regarding the concept of reviving and installing the ‘Ancient Music based on 22 srutis’ in today’s environment. I would also welcome the Reader’s views for any alternative options towards this end.

 

     Some Western analysts had been quite critical about the ability of ancient Indian musicologists to divide the octave geometrically into 22 equal parts. They have also questioned the concept of ‘Pramana Sruti’ as narrated in Bharata Muni’s ‘Natyasastra’. In my Book, I have attempted to resolve these puzzles to a reasonable extent.

 

    I have also mapped the design features of the ‘traditional Western Music’ on to the 22 sruti domain and compared them with the Indian counterparts at the conceptual plane. This is a novel feature of this Book and I am sure lovers of Western Music would derive delight while viewing from this ‘new perspective’.

 

      Despite my best efforts, I am conscious that certain technical terminological jargons had somehow crept into my write-up. These had been “unavoidable” for ensuring ‘precision’ while discussing certain abstract phenomena (much to the discomfort of non-science stream/ non-Indian Readers!). I have, therefore, added copious amplifications by way of ‘Foot Notes’ and ‘Glossary’ of Terms. In addition, I have added Appendix ‘J’ in Chapter IV, to serve as a “primer”; I would request Readers to consult these, whenever, they encounter terminological jargons.

 

    I have enclosed a ‘Compact Disc’ (CD) along with this Book to serve as ‘self-learner’. Several conceptual topics such as ‘grama-transformation’, murchana manoeuvres, melody trapezium, consonance etc. have been explained using ‘animation’ techniques. I would, therefore, request the Reader to peruse this CD before reading the Book.

 
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