HOLY JAZZ: Indian Classical Music

HOLY JAZZ: Indian Classical Music

Author: roderick matthews Write To Author

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 HOLY JAZZ: Indian Classical Music - Kindle eBook by Roderick Matthews

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Indian Classical Music


Kindle eBook by

Roderick Matthews


ONLY Available as Kindle eBook @ 


© 2007 All Rights Reserved


Writers from both East and West regularly describe the raga-based music of India as ‘classical’. If this is an attempt to dignify serious Indian music then it is misplaced, because the ‘classical’ label is not an honour that Indian music is in any need of. The factors that make western classical music ‘classical’ are such that to apply the word to Indian music is simply to ignore the main virtues and unique features of Indian music. Thus the well-meant word becomes instantly either inaccurate or redundant. Or worse, it betokens an inability to see beyond western standards.

In making parallels between Indian and western music the word ‘classical’ might in some ways be applicable in terms of tradition or discipline, or to distinguish serious from popular, but all the correct implications of the word totally ignore the one central basis of Indian music practice - that of dhyana or devotion. The personal, transitory, improvised nature of Indian music combined with its devotional element mean that, if one insists on framing its distinguishing traits in western terms, it would be better described as a form of ‘holy jazz’.

The purpose of this eBook is to explain some of the more significant differences between the Indian and western ‘classical’ traditions and to argue that the word ‘classical’ is an import that Indians would do well to reject.


Roderick Matthews, Historian, Obtained a First from Balliol College, Oxford in Modern History. Studied Medieval History under Maurice Keen. Studied Tudor and Stuart History under Christopher Hill, Master of Balliol College. Studied European History under Colin Lucas, later Master of Balliol College and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. Studied Imperial History under Professor Paul Longford, Rector of Lincoln College.


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