This book has no precedent. It is a pioneering attempt to look at Hindustani music in the way of contemporary aesthetics. The ways we talk about, experience, or evaluate music, as well as its composition and overt performance- all have been given due attention in this work. In other words, reflection on music here proceeds along the three major ways in which aesthetics is being done (in the West) today- that is, not only the linguistic-analytic and phenomenological approaches but the one that looks at art as a kind of world-making. Correspondingly, the content of this book can be put under three different heads: (a) an attempt to determine the full aesthetic significance, as against the traditionally specified (verbal) meanings of the keywords that are used in respect of the elements and different genres of our music (b) discussion of the concepts like aesthetic attitude, experience, and point of view as they relate to Hindustani music; and (c) analysis of the devices through which the structure and actual singing of dhrupad, dhamar, khayal, or Tarana is (or can be) invested with some extra appeal-all duly buttressed with notational analysis of some actual compositions.
Care has also been taken to discuss such problems as: (a) Is musical time different from, or identical with, time as we experience it in daily life; (b) How can we distinguish the form from the content of a work in the region of an occurrent art like music or rhythm (c) Can rhythm be regarded as an autonomous art; and (d) How can our music be said to be spiritual?
By and large, this book may well be expected to encourage readers to think about our music along some quite untrodden lines.