In perfect symphony

Ambika Shaligram
Friday, 6 July 2018

An audio-visual presentation explaining the concepts of Western classical music will be held in the city on Sunday. Dr Chaitanya Kunte gives us the details.

Nearly half a century’s research and editing has gone into making Paschatya Sangeet Samdnya Kosh, a dictionary which will explain Western classical music terms and concepts to a layperson. A brainchild of late Dr Ashok Ranade, the book was given finishing touches by Dr Chaitanya Kunte, founder and executive director at Dr Ashoka Da Ranade Archives. An audio-visual programme based on the book, Sur Paschimeche, will be held on Sunday evening, at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha. 

Working on the dictionary
Giving us details about the dictionary and the programme, Dr Kunte says, “The department of Western classical music was started in University of Bombay in 1966 and Dr Ranade was appointed as its first director. He asked for the syllabi being taught at various universities, and researched them. With that he came to the conclusion that without studying another, allied music system, in addition to the one you are pursuing, you cannot truly comprehend the teachings of your own subject.”

Ranade also decided to study Western classical music. But his interest in it was academical, so he began reading books and interacting with international artists. He decided to bring out a dictionary on the music system, because when you are describing concepts and terms, it’s not only beneficial for students, but also for academicians and  performers. 

Dr Ranade also brought out a dictionary on Indian classical music in the ’80s titled A dictionary of Hindustani music. This dictionary was in English, because he thought the book could help those non-Indians who were interested in pursuing Hindustani music. Whereas with this dictionary on Western classical music in Marathi, he hopes that it could help Indians in understanding the genre. 

“He kept up with the research work from 1966-2011, when he departed from this world. The book was 90 per cent complete then. After his death, his wife requested me to complete it. So I worked on the book from 2011-17,” adds Kunte.

Kunte’s contribution
“When I took over the responsibility, I included meanings of some terms and concepts, which were left incomplete. I also included appendices, photos of instruments and notation charts. I also wrote a long note on the evolution of Western music, the important periods and composers. The terminology of Western music has its roots in Latin, French, Spanish and Italian, so I also added pronounciation chart, besides doing cross-referencing for articles and notes etc,” explains Kunte.

The audio-visual presentation
The book was published by Popular Prakashan. It was released in Mumbai alongwith a short audio-visual presentation. A similar presentation will be held in the city on July 8, in which Dr Kunte will talk about various concepts like harmony, melody, symphony and orchestra. “Alongwith the explanation of the terms, I also plan to include some images because music without cultural relevances is incomplete. One aim is to also introduce people how to approach and appreciate Western music. Our music is vocal oriented. And we relate to words, whereas Western music is mainly instrumental. The Indian classical music doesn’t have orchestral music presentation, whereas Western has that. Our music is monophonic, which means we have only one melodic line. So through this presentation, I hope to bridge the gap between two systems,” he explains.

He is aware that a two hour session might not be enough for a layperson to be equipped with the knowledge of Western classical music. So a series of lecture-demonstrations is necessary, but that’s a long term plan, he informs, adding that also in the offing is a website on dictionary with audio-video links. 

ST Reader Service
Sur Paschmiche, an audio visual presentation, explaining concepts of Western classical music has been organised by Popular Prakashan and Maharashtra Cultural Centre, on Sunday, July 8, 5.30 pm at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha, Tilak Road. Dr Chaitanya Kunte will be conducting the presentation

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