The English version of the magnum opus in the field of Carnatic music, Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini has been published by The Music Academy in Chennai.
The translation project is taken up in 5 volumes. The first volume was formally released on January 1 by the Nobel Laureate Prof. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and copies will be on sale at the Academy.
The Academy will be publishing 2 more volumes this year and the rest by the end of 2012.
The task is beinh handled under the leadership of Dr Pappu Venugopala Rao, Secretary of the Music Academy. An entire team of musicians and scholars have worked on the project.
The members include N Murali, President (ex-officio), Dr S A K Durga, Dr R S Jayalakshmi, T M Krishna, Dr N Ramanathan, Dr Ritha Rajan, R K Shriramkumar, V Sriram, V Subrahmaniam, R Vedavalli and N Vijay Siva.
When it was published in 1904, the SPP as the bok is referred too in short had many firsts to its credit. For the first time, the bulk of the oeuvre of Muttuswami Dikshitar was being published in all its authenticity, for the author was the nephew of the great composer himself.
It was also the first time that the biographies of several great composers were compiled and brought out in book form. Spanning 1700 pages, the work was truly monumental and has impressed scholars, musicologists, musicians and researchers alike.
A statement from the Academy says that 'in a way a treatise which is an authentic representation of Dikshitar School, the author displayed a great deal of openness in his approach by referring to other versions of the ragas and contemporary changes even if he did not agree with the same. Other than descriptions of the 72 melakartas and their Janyas and notations of various compositions in each, the treatise has a detailed theory portion and a readerís guide to understand the various symbols used by the author. He has also taken care to describe every raga from the angle of musicology, musical practices and changes that gives us an extensive understanding of our musical lineage.
The Music Academy embarked on a Tamil version in 1961. This was released in five volumes, the last of which was brought out in 1980. A whole band of great scholars worked on it.
In the English publication, the Academy says that the editorial board has taken great care that the authenticity of the original work and the intent of the author are not lost and both the theory and the notational portions are retained exactly as given by the author. Great care has been taken to ensure that the notations in the work are completely error free. The musicians sang from the original notations while transcribing and then sang the songs once again from the English notations to ensure that the new edition was faithful to the original.
The Board has also added notes after every raga to give clarifications with regards to the raga lakshana explanations, which would help the reader understand them better. Wherever there are differences in the raga lakshana given in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, the version of Muddu Venkatamakhin has been given with a note. If there have been places where the editorial board has felt that there is an error in the original work, such places are marked with an editorial suggestion given as a footnote thereby not changing the original.
It has also been decided that along with the last part of the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini a commentary on the theory and the notational parts of the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini will be published to give the readers a detailed understanding of this valuable work.