Indian music in performance: a practical introduction


with a cassette recording by

Foreword by


Our friend Roland Viviers has scanned this entire volume and kindly sent us the images which have been reassembled in PDF format. This book is currently out of print and is being reproduced here for educational purposes only:

…all of our gratitude must go to Sorrell and Narayan, whose wonderful book/tape brings at the same time intellectual understanding and artistic enchantment (and is of great help to us westerners to understand some subtleties of raga). This book really doesn’t deserve to be forgotten as it is.

Right-click the following links and ‘save target’:

Indian music in performance: a practical introduction

Part I (PDF~13MB)

Part II (PDF~12MB)

Audio files from cassette by Ram Narayan:

A1 – tuning
A2 – ex.26-32
A3 – text p. 83
A4 – ex.34, 35, 36
A5 – ex.37,38,39
A6 – ex.40

A7 – ex.41,42
A8 – ex.43,44,45
A9 – tabla, p. 118-120
B1 – Bhairav (ex.81,82)
C1 – Sri (ex.85 and all text of chapter 6)

26 thoughts on “Indian music in performance: a practical introduction

  1. Broadly speaking instrument playing can be divided in two stages: first, instrument playing and thereafter, music playing. So far as sarangi playing is concerned, it is a very complex process, in contrast to bamboo blowing or string hammering. It demands unusual balance over lots of unstable factors. It requires great courage to pick up this delicate but challenging instrument.

    This book throws some light for those who prefers to choose the difficult path of playing the sarangi, the sweetest of all the instruments.

    Thanks for the effort put into this.

    – Dr. Kashyap

  2. Thank you kindly for posting Messrs. Sorrell’s and Narayan’s book and recordings. What good fortune for a beginner to find such a treasure! Wish me well in learning the sarangi, truly the most beautiful sounding bowed string instrument I have heard, and well worth the patience and perseverance to learn to play well.

  3. Your dedication and the supply of a treasure of subcontinental music need no appreciation, but many thanks from the core of our hearts. Please keep up.

  4. All music-lovers will appreciate the great recordings and documents you have posted on this site. They are not only wonderful historical pieces but also educational to those of us who are not trained in the art. To encourage further Indo-Pakistani musical (and other) collaboration, perhaps you could invite Air India Radio to submit their vast collection. If the latter does have its own site I would love to learn of it.

    Thank you for all your efforts and may it’s message spread wider.

  5. Yes, AIR has a website:

    They are selling music from their archives and from private donors . The catalogue is rather limited. For example, there is no recording of Malvika Kana who , at her prime in the late sixties was sublime. Also, there is no music of Ustad Imrat Khan, whose Yameni Bilawal on sitar which I heard in their Urdu programme , needs to be made available. It is a real gem. I suppose one could request them to expand their catalogue. Here are the e mail addresses:

  6. can someone please please please tell me where i can find videos or dvds to learning sarangi. i am at a place where no where teaches it. i am willing to pay whatever it takes to get the videos and dvds. can someone please advice me. my email address is

  7. I’ve posted more than a few Sarangi players on Youtube. Search Pt Ram Narayan or Ustad Sabri Khan. From Brit TV in the 1980s.

  8. Thank you. This book has actually gone out of print and to be able to read the book with the audio files is nothing less than amazing.

  9. this is one of those websites which make the best and most noble use of electronic media and i must congratulate and thank the people who keep it alive.
    being a student of Rudra-weena i find the files available on this website as educating as they would be to a student of Sarangi.
    i believe that classical music is becoming a luxury slowly and steadily…..efforts like this one would still try to keep it in the reach of those who earn less but have a deep desire to get acquainted with classical music.
    thanks again and all the best !!!

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  11. Namaste to everyone, Hi Taimur!
    Here’s roland, the “scanner-man” of the Sorrel’s & Narayan’s book.
    So, I’m back on this page, I never had the idea to come since that time, 2007… five years by now.
    I’m very glad that many of you are so happy to read this book. It was a nice job to make the files and a pleasure to offer this to raga and sarangi community and give this book a second life. I’m now just reading it over again, and discover tons of things I did’nt notice nor understand at the time… not advanced enough to catch everything. Now after those years practicing on sitar and then tabla, I can make the most of that reading and its really an amazing musicology book.
    I went to prospect around on the net to check if that book be now available… but it’s still not. That’s really sad, such a valuable book, probably the most comprehensive and clear I red so far about classical raga.

    I wish I come one day to your sub-continent and learn this art seriously in there…

  12. Thank you so much for digitizing this book. I’m lucky enough to have a print copy of it but to have it available on my iPad is wonderful!
    As the book is out of print perhaps the publishers would consider a reprint?
    Although the book is unparalleled in content it does however have one major problem that makes it clumsy and somewhat annoying if it is to be used as an aid to study: none of the examples written out in Western musical notation show the Sargam note equivalent.
    I understand that the book was intended for a Western audience but it would have been more useful, and indeed more true to the instrument and it’s music, if all the musical examples were simply written out properly in Sargam notation and leaving the Western notation to appendices at the back.
    Perhaps it’s just me but Sargam is the perfect way to ensure continuation of this rich musical heritage, not Western musical notation which has many faults and contradictions in it’s theories and conventions.
    But enough of my moaning! This is a wonderful site, thank you once again.


  13. Thanks for taking the trouble of digitising the examples. I heard Ram Narayan in the seventies in germany, got a copy of the book without the casette now I have the examples also. Thanks again.

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