Daily Recco, October 6: Read A Southern Music for fresh perspective on the Carnatic art form
TM Krishna's book has a certain scientific meticulousness to its structure that has something in it for everyone - from a layperson to a connoisseur.
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There are classical musicians and then there are but a handful like TM Krishna. Anyone who has heard him speak or has read his columns would know that his views vie to match his captivating, magnetic and powerful music.
His book — A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story, released in 2013 — delineates the story of South Indian classical music, also known as Carnatic or Karnatik music as the colonial British named it. It traces the origins of the music form, and begins with the most fundamental question: What is music?
He then goes on to answer it, exploring various aspects of the classical music form. He goes on to outline the basis of raga formation and its impact on our senses. The author does not restrict himself to Carnatic music alone and beautifully enunciates the difference between the Hindustani and Carnatic classical forms.
The book has a certain scientific meticulousness to its structure that transverses from the origin of the music form to unravelling the philosophy, the aesthetics and its influence on the social and the political strictures of society. Never the one to shy away from voicing his views on social and political scenarios, Krishna also delves into caste, class and gender issues in the fraternity and structure of classical music. If you have attended his enrapturing concerts, then reading this book is much like it. At some points, it gets a little too technical for a layman, but the way the author goes about it will leave you in no doubt that you are in for an enriching experience here.
From a layman to a musicologist who has dissected kutcheris for years, this book has something for everyone.
While launching the book seven years ago, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said, “What you get from the book is the deeper sense of experience, a better understanding, context and, of course, a kind of commanding view of the history of the discipline.” Nothing could describe the book better. This one is a keepsake in your library for posterity.