This book is written by Shruti Jauhari, a noted Hindustani Classical Singer and a disciple of K.J.Yesudas. The book is an accessible introduction to the various elements of Hindustani Classical Music. To read a language, you need to know the alphabets and the grammar associated with it. In the same way, to listen to Hindustani music, you need to have a basic knowledge of Svar,Raag and Taal One often comes across terms like bandish, gharana, alap, vilambit , taal, etc in the context of Hindustani Music. Unless one has some understanding of these terms, it is difficult to be a discerning listener.
There are very few books written in English that give a sufficient knowledge with out entering the intricacies of the subject. This book belongs to such a category, where a beginner gets a good 1000 ft. view of the various aspects of Hindustani Music. It starts off with a basic history of Hindustani music in India to give a reader some idea about the way music and musical ideas developed . The book then goes in to explaining terms such as Sruti, Svar, Musical Scale, That , Raag, Taal, Laya in an intuitive manner showing the basic math behind it.
There is a chapter that gives an intro in to the basic singing process and tries to provide simple answers to questions like, what constitutes a rendition, what are the parts of a typical rendition, where does an artist get to innovate, what is the role of tabla player in a rendition etc. The book then goes in to a basic description of various gharanas. In the modern world where learning is from a guru whoever is accessible in the city or town that one lives, gharanas might not be relevant. But it is always nice to know the various gharanas and the artists associated with various gharanas. The book also lists some eminent Musicologists and their profiles.
Perhaps the most useful chapter to me in the book is a full fledged description of the prominent raagas and their attributes. Well listening to raagas is one thing but singing or playing is a completely different thing. Unless you are thoroughly aware of the structure of a raag, it is very difficult to play beyond the known composition. Your guru might teach you a few compositions in a specific raag. Playing the given composition is a matter of practice. But soon one realizes the real fun in playing lies in improvisation. I play about 7 raagas on Sitar and I maintain a chart that gives the attributes of these raagas. Sometimes the way that I maintain the chart for a specific raaga is not very systematic. This chapter has taught me a nice way to structure the chart. It has a chart for each of the 25 most popular raagas in Hindustani Music. I doubt I will ever play so many raagas in my life time!, but I guess I will refer to the structured chart given in this book from time to time.