For centuries shrutis are considered as an enigma in Indian music. Researchers attempted to demystify the enigma by interpreting three seminal texts on Indian music, namely: Naradiya Shiksha, Bharata’s Natyashastra and Sangita Ratnakara of Sharangadeva. However, none of these attempts led to conclusive and convincing understanding of shruti. With thorough scrutiny of the original text from the above-mentioned three treatises, this monograph titled, `The Doctrine of Shruti in Indian Music’, comes up with a conclusive proof for equal temperament twenty two shruti paradigm of Bharata. Apart from that it provides a comprehensive frame-work of hundred and ten shrutis called `shruti-Punja’ model or `Shruti-Megha’ model that may be useful for computational Indian music. This model integrates concepts of shruti from Naradiya Shiksha into the Bharata’s paradigm of equal temperament twenty two shrutis. This may open up the possibility to explore new musical spaces, new consonances, new dissonances, new melodies and harmonies to take Indian music forward.
As discussed throughout this monograph there are certain concerns among musicologists about the nature and significance of shruti in Indian music. Some of the scholars are concerned about the textual interpretation of Natyashastra or Naradiya Shiksha. This monograph thoroughly scrutinizes the original text from Naradiya Shiksha, Natyashastra and Sangita Ratnakar and through conceptual analysis tries to fine-tune our understanding about shruti.
This monograph concludes with five important insights about the concept of shruti in Indian music. Firstly, it provides clarity about the five types of shrutis mentioned in Naradiya Shiksha and their applications. Secondly, the monograph conclusively proves that Bharata’s octave has strong foundations in Vedic swaras that eventually resulted in twenty two shrutis.
Thirdly, the monograph conclusively establishes Bharata’s paradigm of equal temperament twenty two shrutis with thorough analysis of Bharata’s original text from Natyashastra. Bharata’s `Shruti Nidarshanam’ experiment as thoroughly discussed is a conclusive proof of the equal temperament twenty two shrutis. I have also developed a software program to simulate the Shruti-Nidarshanam experiment to arrive at the conclusions presented in this monograph.
Fourthly, an attempt has been made to integrate Narada’s paradigm of shrutis with Bharata’s paradigm of shrutis to develop a frame-work called Shruti-Punja or Shruti Megha. Finally, this monograph attempts to accommodate the latest findings of the empirical and computational research in the above-mentioned Shruti Punja model.
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I would be happy to receive your comments and observations to take the discussion forward on Indian Music.
With Warm Regards,
Dr. Vinod Vidwans
Professor and Chair,
FLAME School of Fine & Performing Arts,
FLAME University, Pune, India