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Ragopedia™ - exotic scales of North India by S D Batish and Ashwin Batish - Preface
Welcome to "RAGOPEDIA™"This is the first volume in a major publication project designed to bring music of India within easy grasp of Western musicians and music appreciators. At the same time every effort has been made to keep the work useful to Indian musicians as well.
My goal was to create a global awareness of Indian music. Hence I have fused the writing process with the best of Indian Sargam) and Western (Staff) notations so as to make this work easily comprehensible to both cultures, while teaching the ways of East to the West and vice versa. All ragas are listed alphabetically so you may find them quickly in the book. It is spiral bound so that you may spread it conveniently over the instrument of your choice. With this book, you are updated with almost all popular Raga forms currently in use in the North Indian music system. In the words of the French philosopher Chateaubriand "As soon as a true thought has entered our mind, it guides a light which makes us see a crowd of other objects which we have never perceived before". Let this quotation encourage you to open the pages of Ragopedia™ as regularly and as frequently as time may allow, and inspire your genius with glorious creative ideas.
It is indeed a very fortunate time period that we are in today. In the West, the awareness of Indian music has been steadily on the rise since the sixty's. Many have been touched by this form in one way or another thanks to many pop artists and pioneering Indian musicians that have so generously dedicated their efforts in presenting live and recorded performances to Western audiences.
Yet, a void in the presentation remains. Performers, composers, and students of music in the West have been touched by Indian Music but found it to be unapproachable for lack of adequate information or teachers.
Books have never been the way of Eastern thought. Books have been written on Eastern subjects, but the ideas do not gain full meaning through reading and taking what's written literally. It is the secondary meanings that really produce the intent of the writer.
In music, more so than in other art forms, books are written in general terms. Thus to know about the art form itself means going to a proper teacher who then enlightens the student on the extensive application and practice of the form.
The point I'm trying to make here is that, music is a practical medium. All the books in the world won't teach you to be a practical musician. You have to learn that skill with hard work and good advice. This advice has to have the proper ammunition.
This book fits into the advice categories. It will not make you a musician overnight. It is meant to be that powerhouse of ammunition that you need to better your already existing understanding of music, to make you aware that learning the Major, Minor, Dorian, Mixolidian, Ionian, etc is but a drop in the ocean.
Although great pains have been taken to minimize errors, please make notes of any inconsistencies you might come across and inform us so that corrections can be made to future editions. Any suggestion to improve this format will also be welcome. At the very end of this book is a response sheet you can use.
An important point to note here is that when gathering information on all these Ragas, there were some for which we could not find technical information. For this reason you will find that for certain Ragas there is a blank line we have placed after Thaat, Play Time, Vadi, or Samvadi. This is so that you can insert this information at a future date if it becomes available.
Finally, by design this book is meant for easy reference only. It will provide you with quick access to most popular Ragas of North India. If you wish to pursue further into how these Ragas are properly unfolded in the North Indian Classical music tradition, please consult "CHALANS". In this book I have taken each Raga and composed its Chalan (melodic progression) especially showing you how to retain its image through proper utilization of rules.
In order to delve further into the realm of North Indian music, I have written "Rasik Raga Lakshan Manjari". This means "Rasik" = my musical name, "Raga Lakshan" = Definitive introduction to Ragas, "Manjari" = Collection. It's written in English and the music is again in Staff as well as Indian Sargam. This work is available in two volumes.
Volume 1 covers the History and Theory of North Indian music along with 10 Lakshan Geet (introductory songs) composed in the primary Ragas of the ten parent scales or Thaats of North India. While containing English words that teach rules of the Raga, singing along with them teaches you how they work! These Lakshan songs, by the way, have always been readily available to music students in India, indeed it has been the primary way of transferring knowledge down through the ages. Now it is time the Western student had the advantage of this age old method!
Volume 2 contains another 100 songs (about 10 Ragas from each Thaat) composed in the same vein as mentioned above. I have sung and recorded all these compositions personally along with instrumental accompaniment by Ashwin so you may sit back and listen.
Finally, do keep in touch so that we may inform you of updates and new works. And oh yes, if you make use of this material in your performances, as we hope you will, we would be happy to receive a copy!