IN a relevant analysis of the khayal vocal styles, here comes a unique and systematic analytical approach in the study of Hindustani music to provide some very original insights. The author, a musicologist working as Repertoire Analysis for Indian Archive Music Ltd, New York, has applied to stylistic analysis a metaphor which he previously discovered by taking ideas from plastic arts to the study of khayal styles. The metaphor involves looking at the total phenomenon of creativity in khayal styles as a meld of three facets – an architectural facet, a sculptural facet and an ornamental facet.
Though the author discusses leading individual vocalists and gharanas of khayal vocalism, he presents stylistic perspectives on the music of 19 contemporary and modern khayal vocalists who represent some of the major stylistic traditions and covers nearly a hundred years of vocalism. The vocalists are classified into five stylistic legacies based on their history of tutelage and the stylistic tendencies evident in their music – Agra legacy, Gwalior-Agra legacy, Jaipur-Atrauli legacy, Kairana legacy and the Patiala legacy.
Historically the progression from dhrupada to khayala, and khayal to thumari itself represents a steady relaxation of the atmosphere in classical music. Till the 20th century, thought aloofness was the dominant feature, over the years, the introduction of lively elements like thumari, tappa, bhajanas and folk music into the genre have enriched it greatly and sustained the interest of succeeding generations of audiences.
The author claims that the book is an effort of over five years of research involving painstaking analyses of over 500 recordings and the essays on individual vocalists have been sequenced chronologically according to the date of birth of the musician. For instance, after describing the Agra legacy, which is virtually defined by the music of Ustad Faiyyaz Khan (1886-1950), the Agra vocalism retained dhrupada not only as a pedagogical description but also as a part of its repertoire. The gharana is known for its full-throated and aggressive vocalisation inspired by some streams of dhurpada vocalism.
This book will essentially be enjoyed by vocal singers of Hindustani music.
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