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Experiencing Hindustani Raga

Course Instructor: Srinivas Reddy


Course Contents:

Survey of various fundamental aspects of Hindustani raga music, including:

1. A general overview of classical Indian music history.

2. A delineation of basic theoretical concepts relating to raga and tala including arohi, avarohi, raga taxonomy, thāt theory, melakarta system, etc.

3. A review of different raga music genres (dhrupad, khayal, thumri) along with a survey of influential artists of the twentieth century.

4. An exploration of Indian aesthetics (rasa theory) and its relation to the idea of transcendence through art.


  1. Nāṭya-śāstra, Chapter 1 (text and translation) in Ghosh, Manmohan. Natya Shastra. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1951.

  2. Rowell, Lewis. Music and Musical Thought in Early India. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1992.

  3. Neuman, Daniel. “Indian Music as a Cultural System.” Asian Music, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Autumn - Winter, 1985), pp. 98-113.

  4. Beck, Guy. Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. Columbia: USC Press, 1995. (excerpt)

  5. Bagchee, Sandeep. Nād: Understanding Rāga Music. India, Eeshwar, 1998.

  6. Bhakle, Janaki. Two Men and Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. (excerpts)

  7. Rasa Chart in Mukerjee, Radhakamal. “‘Rasas’ as Springs of Art in Indian Aesthetics.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 24, No. 1, Oriental Aesthetics (Autumn, 1965), pp. 91-96.

The specially curated YouTube channel providing sound recordings and video clips is not a part of the list, so it's listed separately.


Learning Outcomes:

Students taking this course will explore raga music as a critical text and an aesthetic experience.

Emphasis will be placed on how theoretical concepts are realized in living musical practice. Overall, students will learn to appreciate the richness and diversity of Hindustani raga music as a global art form par excellence.


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