Welcome to our first edition of RagaNet, an electronic journal for a new era. This magazine will be dedicated towards on-going research and exposure of music and cultural arts of India.
It is the only magazine of its kind, we believe, that proposes to teach and keep you informed on the various aspects of Indian arts through literature and recorded material in form of audio as well as video clips. At the present time we plan on releasing four issues every year.
Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish, our founder and chief editor, has for the past 6 decades dedicated and devoted himself towards music of India. He cut his first hit record for His Master's Voice, EMI, India, in 1936. He has since then scored music for over 50 films, sang thousands of songs while also composing and directing music for almost all the popular singers of Indian film industry. His stay in England prompted much demand for his talents where he was regularly featured on Indian TV programs and invited to play music with very popular rock groups including the Beatles. In America, he was invited to teach music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Here he settled.
That was back in 1970. Since that time Pt. S. D. Batish has been hard at work in trying to bring Indian music and culture one more step closer to the West. For the past 15 years he has completely researched every aspect of Indian music and written over 4000 new compositions on Northern and Southern Indian musical forms popularly known as Raga. Beyond that, he has himself recorded this enormous work so as to have it available on cassettes for easy access. His research has also produced many books on history and theory of North Indian music. All this will form the base of our publications and activities.
It is also our wish to incorporate other musics and cultures into our writings. There are very few things in this world that have not been enriched by inter-cultural exposure. As a matter of fact, the primary premise of Indian arts is to portray comprehensively a global view. That is why it is so rich. Even the ragas are named after regions of their origin such as Bhoopali (Bhoopal), Pahadi (Of the mountains), Brindabani Sarang (associated with the brindaban or vrindavan region of India the mythical birth place of Lord Krishna).
Indian music provides a vast reservoir and its potential cannot be denied especially to the western musician. It will input new blood so necessary for reaching new heights. We have an ardent belief that despite scientific and technological progress of mankind much remains to be realized in the various artistic fields. To the West, Indian music remains distant. There are some scholars that have gained a respectful mastery over music and some instruments but the majority of musicians today are ignorant of what makes Indian music tic. Many probably own a good collection of Ravi Shankar records but find it hard to go beyond pure listening pleasure into the understanding and deciphering phase. It is this point of understanding that we will address.
For the benefit of serious musicians and music lovers all over the world, we intend to introduce in staff notation raga scales which will include definition of the raga, its melodic introduction, followed by a composition, with suggestions on how to improvise within it. These most probably will be excerpts from our Ragopedia and Chalan volumes but the information will be presented in an open forum.
Wherever necessary, we will enhance our writing with audio clips, especially in the area of Gamaks (ornamentation) and video clips if it calls for visuals. We are truly blessed to have this capability on the Net. It is what makes RagaNet a powerful communication medium. Our gratitude goes to the all Internet weavers and creators.
We hope you will become a part of what is to come. There is a great deal that depends on your participation. You can help in numerous ways. You can write minor or feature articles, review concerts, do artist interviews, review recordings, inform us of any upcoming activity in your area. Most of all, subscribe to the journal and recommend it to as many of your friends as you think will learn from it.
Although we publish on the net and give you free access to all our writings, we invite donations to support our activity. A yearly subscription rate of $20.00 is requested. We don't plan on making a big issue out of this and we'll let you decide how you support our services.
Finally, I wish to humbly request your forgiveness for any errors and omissions in any of our writings and articles. It is a given that while one tries their best to put their best foot forward and to research all the best resources at our command yet there will always remain grey areas in this inexact science of interpretting historical facts. Do give us your feedback and any corrections should be forwarded to me. I promise to look them over and give them my full attention.