9781681374789

Finding the Raga An Improvisation on Indian Music

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781681374789

  • ISBN10:

    1681374781

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2021-03-30
  • Publisher: New York Review Books

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Summary

An autobiographical exploration of the role and meaning of music in our world by one of India's greatest living authors, himself a vocalist and performer.

Finding the Raga is more than a book that tries to make sense of Indian classical music and of how Indian music challenges Western notions of what music might be. It is a work of self-inquiry, as might be expected from Amit Chaudhuri, a musician who is also a novelist; a novelist who is also a critic and essayist; a trained and recorded performer in the Indian classical vocal tradition who was also, once, a guitarist and songwriter in the American folk-music style and is now a composer and recorded performer of experimental music. Each one of these undertakings and selves signifies turns at different points in his life, and each turn and change of direction brings a fresh perspective on music, writing, and what it means to take on and do these things. No category—Indian, Western—is a given in this book. Partly a record of one of the most important turns in the author’s life, toward North Indian music, and of its long aftermath, Finding the Raga is also part autobiography set in 1970s Bombay, part essay, and part detailed analysis of how we might grasp the conceptual underpinnings as well as the experience of music. It explores the different ways in which music relates to the world—whether it’s through representation or evocation, as in Western music, or through the raga being sung at different times of day and in different seasons, as in Indian music—and also tries to understand what the act of listening involves for individuals and cultures.

Author Biography

Amit Chaudhuri is a novelist, essayist, poet, and musician. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in Calcutta and the United Kingdom, where he is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia. Chaudhuri's works include three books of essays, the most recent of which is The Origins of Dislike; a study of D. H. Lawrence's poetry; a book of short stories, Real Time; a work of nonfiction, Calcutta: Two Years in the City; and two volumes of poetry, including Sweet Shop. He has made several recordings of Indian classical and experimental music, and the awards he has received for his fiction include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Indian government's Sahitya Akademi Award. His most recent novel, Friend of My Youth, was published by NYRB in 2019.

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