Various Artists

Musical Appreciation

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Musical Appreciation Review

by Ken Hunt

This three-volume set is an excellent introduction to Hindustani vocal and instrumental music, introducing the concepts and instruments step-by-step. A full script is provided for visual reference. Disc one presumes no knowledge of the Hindustani musical cosmos. It opens with a section called Silence, Sound and Musical Sound. Next the voice and the main instruments are introduced. Then there is an explanation of the technical terms swara and raga -- swara is generally translated as something like tonal register because it can be more fluid than the fixed pitch of a musical note in western art music. Disc two expands on the concept of raga. Disc three introduces a few of the more popular vocal styles that are set in ragas -- dhrupad, khyal and thumri -- and gives pointers on listening and appreciating a performance. Much of the music is drawn from other volumes on the Music Today label and uses performances by Kishori Amonkar, Iqbal Bano, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Zahiruddin & Wasifuddin Dagar, Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Jasraj, Bhimsen Joshi, Amjad Ali Khan, Bismillah Khan, Imrat Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Shahid Parvez, Dr. N. Rajam, Shruti Sadolikar, Ravi Shankar, Shivkumar Sharma and Padma Talwalkar. A small team of house musicians augments these recordings. As an educative tool, this set is the best primer on the market.