For this musicologist and author, there are good reasons to believe that Carnatic music matters, perhaps more than ever and almost anywhere in the world. So why not perform and teach it in the service of better education for all, for ecological awareness or in order to promote mutual respect in spite of all our differences? And in the process, get “invigorated and better equipped to tackle the larger issues at hand”.
“Thinking and learning in South Indian Music” by Ludwig Pesch, chapter 4 in:
Markus Cslovjecsek, Madeleine Zulauf (eds.) Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training Peter Lang Publishers, Bern, 2018. 418 pp., 29 fig. b/w, 2 tables MOUSIKÆ PAIDEIA Music and Education/Musik und Bildung/Musique et Pédagogie. Vol. 1 pb. ISBN 978-3-0343-0388-0
This book was presented during the 33rd ISME World Conference for Music Education (isme2018.org) on Wednesday 18 July 2018.
About this book
Schools are generally oriented towards discipline-based programmes and therefore students often accumulate fragmented knowledge, disconnected from real life concerns. The eighteen contributors to this work suggest that music offers a highway to developing a more appropriate integrated education. They present a range of views on Integrated Music Education rooted in various cultural traditions, based on several interdisciplinary models and integrated arts curricula, inspired by psychological concepts and referenced to recent teaching experiments as well as original research.
In this innovative book, the reader is invited to go beyond the dichotomy between ‘education in music’ and ‘education through music’, exploring the opportunities put forward by Integrated Music Education thanks to a constant movement from the theoretical roots through a precise description of teaching activities to the benefits for students in terms of integration of knowledge, personal development, and social and cultural belonging. Lastly, there are some new and interesting ideas for training teachers.
Max Mueller Bhavan (German Cultural Institute) in Chennai organised a clutch of cultural programmes and a seminar during 28-30 November 2000 to mark the death centenary of Max Mueller, a great Indologist. Born in 1823, Mueller died when he was 77.
Mueller is remembered for stimulating widespread interest in Indology, mythology, philosophy, comparative religion, linguistics and social criticism. The special cultural relations between India and Germany are largely attributed to his works.
Mueller never visited India. But, had he come to India, he would likely have sought the company of musicians and scholars in the field of the performing arts, considering that he wanted to become a musician and belonged to a family that considered music and poetry a way of life. His first love was indeed music which he would have taken up as a profession but for the unfavourable climate for such a pursuit in his days.
The famous Indologist is best known all over the world for the publication of the Sacred Books of the East (51 volumes), amongst several other works. He was an ardent promoter of Indian independence and cultural self-assertion.
Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, entrusted Ludwig Pesch, a German who has spent years learning and studying Carnatic music, with the task of planning a befitting programme of tribute in Chennai in the wider context of a major German festival under way in India. Hundreds of German artists and scholars are presently touring India but Pesch was to help mount a celebration of a different kind- primarily with and for South Indian participants.
Ludwig Pesch felt that this presented him with an opportunity to highlight the manner in which Max Mueller would have wanted the manifestations and contributions of other civilizations to be recognised, and to explore cultural achievements connecting people from different periods and places. In the event, he sought and secured the cooperation of several renowned performers and scholars, and the students of Brhaddhvani, to be Max Mueller’s guides on ‘a cultural tour’ of South India.
The celebrations began with an invocation and ended with a Musical Journey, both presented by Brhaddhvani’s students.
The morning and afternoon sessions organised at the Max Mueller Bhavan consisted of lecture demonstrations by the artists of four public programmes held at the MMB and at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium.
There were also lectures and lecdems by several eminent scholars in accordance with their chosen fields of specialisation: Dr. K.V. Ramesh (Patronage in South Indian Performing Arts: Evidence from Epigraphical Records); Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy (Harikatha Kalakshepam: A popular multicultural art in the 19th and early 20th centuries); Nirmala Paniker with her daughter and disciple, Kapila (Mohini Attam: About the research conducted at Natanakairali); P. Nanda Kumar (Dance music in Kerala: edakka with mizhavu players of the Natanakairali ensemble); Dr. Prema Nandakumar (References to South Indian Performing arts in early literature); Dr. V.V. Srivatsa (Language in Indian Art); Vidya Shankar (Sanskrit and Music); Rajkumar Bharathi (Bharatiyar’s contribution to the South Indian music repertoire); T.R. Sundaresan with Pakala Ramdas (The beauty of Yati patterns); S. Rajam with disciples and T.R. Sundaresan (Max Mueller’s great musical contemporaries in different parts of South India: Parameswara Bhagavatar, Patnam Subramania Iyer, Ponniah Pillai, Vedanayakam Pillai, and Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar).
Considering that theatre was the original performing art which also comprised dance and music to varying degrees, the first day was entirely devoted to theatre and Harikatha. The second was devoted to dance, and the third to music to reflect the evolution of these arts in their own right.
G. Venu, Founder-Director, Natanakairali (Irinjalakuda) gave the opening lecture-demonstration titled ‘Koodiyattam, the Sanskrit theatre of Kerala: Research, training and presentation in the tradition of Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar’. The story of this small, but famous cultural centre is fascinating and unique in having quietly worked with minimum resources, but successfully so, for the revival of Kerala’s traditional performance traditions over a period of 25 years, this being the silver jubilee.
Source: HOMAGE TO MAX MUELLER IN CHENNAI: PRESENTATIONS OF MUSIC, DANCE & DRAMA Sruti, India’s premier music and dance magazine – Issue 197, February 2001 https://www.sruti.com/febmar01/febn&n2.html17.10.2001
Sittrarangam is discussed in the chapter on Indian theatre architecture together with Kalakshetra and Kerala Kalamandalam in: The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre edited by Ananda Lal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 18-19 http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/470139309
This month [December 2020] marks the 250th birth anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven. In ordinary times, Germany, Austria, and a good part of the world beyond Europe would have been ablaze with celebrations: as the opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, a man whose reputation in some circles would be just as great, remarked: “Before the name of Beethoven, we must all bow in reverence.” However, in India, even without the coronavirus pandemic, there would not have been much of a stir. Beethoven’s name is by no means unknown, and India doubtless has its share of afficionados of Western classical music. […]
Stunningly [a] quote from the Iliad is preceded in Beethoven’s notebook by an excerpt from the Gita that he took to be its central teaching:
“Let not thy life be spent in inaction. Depend upon application, perform thy duty, abandon all thought of the consequence, and make the event equal, whether it terminate in good or evil; for such an equality is called Yog, attention to what is spiritual.”
Beethoven’s contemporary, the composer Franz Schubert, was almost singular in recognizing that the late string quartets were perhaps an expression of the ineffable in human existence and the search of the soul for the transcendent. Listening to the String Quartet No. 14 in C minor (Opus 131) for the last time, just before his own death a year after the passing of Beethoven, Schubert exclaimed, “After this, what is left for us to write.” Opinion would begin to swing the other way many years after Beethoven’s death, but what is singularly striking is that musicologists have been loath to consider how Indian philosophy may have contributed to carving out in Beethoven’s frame of thinking a space for the melancholic longing for the liberation that the Buddhists describe as nirvana and the Hindus as moksha. After the Upanishads and Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharishi and Sree Narayana Guru, India must recognize that Beethoven has given us the music of advaita.