Offering a broad perspective of the philosophy, theory, and aesthetics of early Indian music and musical ideology, this study makes a unique contribution to our knowledge of the ancient foundations of India's musical culture. Lewis Rowell reconstructs the tunings, scales, modes, rhythms, gestures, formal patterns, and genres of Indian music from Vedic times to the thirteenth century, presenting not so much a history as a thematic analysis and interpretation of India's magnificent musical heritage.
In Indian culture, music forms an integral part of a broad framework of ideas that includes philosophy, cosmology, religion, literature, and science. Rowell works with the known theoretical treatises and the oral tradition in an effort to place the technical details of musical practice in their full cultural context. Many quotations from the original Sanskrit appear here in English translation for the first time, and the necessary technical information is presented in terms accessible to the nonspecialist. These features, combined with Rowell's glossary of Sanskrit terms and extensive bibliography, make
Music and Musical Thought in Early India an excellent introduction for the general reader and an indispensable reference for ethnomusicologists, historical musicologists, music theorists, and Indologists.
Lewis Rowell is professor emeritus at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.