It needs to be understood in order to give us a concept of what it is we hold so close. It also needs to be understood because, by understanding something so vital to us, we understand something of ourselves. It might be difficult for somebody who has never heard Karnatik Music to relate to and appreciate it.
This is despite TMK's wordsmithing skills which have helped to trace the arc of his thoughts as he makes a logical persuasive case for his arguments. The book is much more palatable and a "must-read" for all connoisseurs of karnatik music who are interested to know more. Not all the essays are of the same difficulty. The ones on caste, language, gender, film music, technology are all much easier to read compared to the ones on certain fundamental concepts.
The last few essays trace the evolution of Raga, Tala and the presentation format right from the 12th century and are filled with a lot of detail. I ended up skimming through them as I wanted to finish the book.
Reading the book also helps us understand and question arts in general in terms of the aesthetics, intent and form. As TMK says every art form is different in terms of these. To him, Karnatik Music is "Art Music". Its power lies in its ability to create emotional abstractions. It is not meant to evoke religious feelings as many people might have understood or patriotic feelings or for some other practical utilitarian purpose.
Arts Gratia Artis Arts for Arts sake comes to my mind. All of us can relate to this in some sense. Listening to any piece of music generates sublime evanescent feelings which takes us elsewhere.
But other forms of music such as film music, religious hymns have a particular end at sight which Karnatik Music doesn't. Overall, a very admirable effort to write on a difficult topic by a top-notch artist, public intellectual of our times.
Jan 21, Abhay rated it liked it. Some insightful and thought provoking essays about the evolution and direction of Carnatic music as it stands today - how can it become more inclusive and offer avenues for artists to grow? Other essays that get into the history and technical aspects of the music did not interest me much. Jan 24, Dinesh Jayaraman rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , india , indian-author , music. An educational collection of essays critiquing various aspects of Carnatic music from a man who is considered by many to be among the more important figures in this era of musicians.
Given that the Carnatic music community rarely ever washes its dirty linen in public, the fact that TMK is willing to straight-talk and raise uncomfortable questions is in itself laudable, as is his intellectual curiosity about his art and its evolution.
This book is at its best when TMK laments how the relatively r An educational collection of essays critiquing various aspects of Carnatic music from a man who is considered by many to be among the more important figures in this era of musicians.
This book is at its best when TMK laments how the relatively recently evolved kutcheri form of presenting Carnatic music might have changed it forever, how caste and gender chauvinism among the predominantly Brahmin male musicians in the last century have deprived the art of a wider community of musicians and listeners, and how the music must not lose its essence and patronizingly "adapt to modern tastes" to gain a greater audience. TMK also believes that the Hindu ownership of Carnatic music is a lie and that religion should have nothing to do with the music.
That said, my first criticisms of this book still stand. TMK and his editors are guilty of that great writerly sin - laziness. Laziness to re-draft and condense what I can only assume is a first draft, riddled as it is with grammatical errors, repetitions, clunky-sounding turns of phrase and generally vague passages. And laziness to think about any clear target audience - parts of the text seem addressed to performing musicians, others to connoisseurs, yet others exhibit a pedantry that could only be aimed at the layperson such as myself , whom too it would annoy.
End result: at over pages long, the book demands of its readers a lot of what it itself does not exhibit - diligence. No fair! View 1 comment. Aug 23, Madhavan Sukumaran rated it really liked it. Good narration style. It is interesting to read the story from a practitioner of music having a revolutionary thinking.
Oct 08, Shravan Tata rated it really liked it. Krishna takes you on a journey of life through music. His take rational and logic into abstract concepts is amazing. Gave me a comprehensive picture of Karnatik music and its evolution through Indian history. Apr 19, Yuvan Aves rated it it was amazing. A great companion to students of carnatic music. The text and insights of the author augment the traditional lessons and kindle interest to plunge deeper into the art form.
Jul 09, Balasubramaniam Vaidyanathan rated it really liked it. Carnatic music is given a classic status. The performers and listeners adore the music.
It poses formidable difficulty for the new listeners to appreciate. I have grown listening to this wonderful music. But it is very difficult for me to explain why I like this music. This book attempts explaining the experience of listening this wonderful music. Not only that, it also points out the problems the music is facing - Some I agree and some I don't.
But TMK is honest in giving his view points. All ov Carnatic music is given a classic status. All over the world, classical music be it western, Hindustani or any classical tradition faces a declining listenership.
This is a cause for concern as these arts are highly evolved and provides an experience that popular music traditions cannot give. Unfortunately, Carnatic music today has become a preserve of a classicist community. Also, today we are at a situation where most people want to be performer than an appreciative listener.
TMK explores issues, the historical context and genuine concerns. As TMK himself acknowledges, there is no solution that is in sight. But this book is soul-searching exercise that is coming out of extreme passion for the art.
Many of the points will also be applicable other other classical music traditions. A must read book for Art Music lover Gayatri Lele rated it liked it Jul 01, Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy rated it liked it Sep 04, Devi Rajmohan rated it really liked it Jul 21, Karthik Thiagarajan rated it really liked it Oct 15, Puru Kaushik rated it it was amazing Jan 14, Ramaprasad Kv rated it it was ok Feb 16, Tor rated it it was amazing Jan 15, Purnima Rao rated it really liked it Nov 03, Michael Nixon rated it really liked it Aug 31, Bharathi Ram rated it liked it Nov 21, During the course of the research I unearthed several long forgotten stories.
I have always believed in sending off each chapter as it gets ready for approval. And I was amazed at the speed with which Mr Lakshman responded. He was frank and forthright in his reminiscences, as were several others, in particular Mr A Hydari who is now no longer with us.
I was apprehensive about putting in frank admissions of business downtunrns and difficult times but here again Mr Lakshman was of the view that everything HAD to be documented. The manuscript was approved in but the date of release was fixed for December 11, , to coincide with Rane Madras completing 75 years as a listed company.
It turned out to be my second corporate biography for while it was awaiting print, another book pipped it to the post — Championing Enterprise, years of the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry. That was another hugely enjoyable experience. But to me, the Rane book will always be special for it gave my writing a new direction.