1st Edition

Songs of Tagore Poetry and Melody

Edited By Ananda Lal, Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray Copyright 2023
    160 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    160 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

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    Rabindranath Tagore composed over 2000 songs that are revered and sung by Bengalis everywhere. However, they remain mostly unknown to listeners from other communities. This book brings the Nobel Laureate’s unique music — Rabindrasangit — to a global audience, with a lucid introduction by Ananda Lal as well as selected songs in international transcription and English translation. It includes an essay written originally in Bengali by the celebrated filmmaker Satyajit Ray, himself a Tagore student and music composer. Ray presents his thoughts on Rabindrasangit, its nuances, music, history, and usage. Lal has also translated this essay into English for the first time.

    The book also presents for the first time faithful staff notations of all 41 songs in three of Tagore’s major plays — Rakta-karavi, Tapati, and Arup Ratan — providing a thematic unity to the music section. This volume will be of interest to Tagore and Ray enthusiasts and specialists, musicologists, and students of music, theatre, literature, performance studies, and cultural studies. It will appeal not only to scholars but to general readers wanting to know more about Tagore’s songs, as well as directors, arrangers, composers, and singers who may wish to perform or interpret the songs transcribed.

    Prelude. Transliteration. Part One 1. Introduction by Ananda Lal 2. Thoughts on Rabindrasangit by Satyajit Ray Part Two 3. Note on the Music Scores 4. The Songs of Rakta-karabi (Red Oleander) 5. The Songs of Tapati 6. The Songs of Arup Ratan (Formless Jewel)


    Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray need no introduction to audiences worldwide. Nevertheless, readers of this book may like to know that Tagore was the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and composed the songs chosen later as the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. Ray is of course a legendary director in global cinematic history, but he was also a fluent practitioner of Western classical and Indian music.

    Ananda Lal, an international authority on Tagore, theatre and translation, retired as Professor of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His most important publications include Rabindranath Tagore: Three Plays (the first book in English exclusively on Tagorean drama), The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre (the first reference work on this subject in any language), and the research-based CD The Voice of Rabindranath Tagore (on Tagore's own recordings). He has written on the interface between popular Western and contemporary Indian music, and was a regular columnist on rock and jazz for the newspapers The Statesman and The Telegraph, Kolkata. Trained in Rabindrasangit at Indira, Kolkata, he has directed theatre productions and poetry-jazz performances.