History & Culture

A rare musical library in town

The collection is a treasure trove for classical music lovers.   | Photo Credit: arr

As we ushered in ‘Vijayanama Samvatsaram’ yesterday, classical music lovers across the city were a happy lot. They can read articles, books, journals on Carnatic music and listen to rare audio and video recordings of renowned musicians, thanks to Saptaparni, which launched ‘Swara Raga Nidhi’ - Musical Archives library on Ugadi. “The inspiration for preserving the treasures of our Carnatic music came from the late Palagummi Viswanadham,” says Rajani Vakkalanka of Saptaparni and adds, “The maestro didn’t want the books to be confined to individuals and book shelves. He would say, ‘We have this treasure, it should not end with us. It should go to people and we should pass it on to the next generation.” The team at Saptaparni headed by its director Anuradha Reddy decided to take this idea forward and launched the music archives library

V.S. Prabhakar Rao, who has catalogued the 300-books present in the library says, “Some universities offer music as a course and only students studying in such universities can avail the books. For others who are serious about reading core books on classical music and want to enhance their knowledge, this is an ideal place.”

With books such as Sangeetha Sourabham written by Late Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, a book on Thyagaraja compositions, Muthuswamy Dikshitar compositions in four volumes, etc., the collection is a treasure trove. But with books being read online and downloaded for free, will this be a viable option?

“One can sit in a peaceful atmosphere here amidst books and continue reading. The ambience creates the mood,” he says and adds, “It is a humble start. We don’t want to be greedy and accumulate thousands of books.”

If you are done with reading, one can even listen to the audio recordings of legends like M.L. Vasantha Kumari, Voleti Venkateswarlu, Srirangam Gopalaratnam and M.S. Subbulakshmi amongst others.

“There is a big collection of rare recordings in the form of audio cassettes. We are in the process of digitising these audio tapes and it is quite a big project,” smiles Rajani. Nevertheless, some recordings have been digitised.

A user-friendly software SMILE (Saptaparni Musicals Interactive Library and Encyclopaedia) installed by Chamarthi Radhakrishna, a retired scientific officer at Thumba helps music lovers to listen to the recordings. “At present we have the recordings of Carnatic vocalists and instrumental artistes. We will eventually have the Hindustani music recordings too,” says Anuradha Reddy who signs off, “We have taken a small step and hope to take it positively forward.”

Registrations for ‘Swara Raga Nidhi’ (annually: Rs 500; quarterly: Rs. 125) are on and one can avail the facility from Monday to Saturday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

For more details contact: 040-66667707, 66821789.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 6:35:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/a-rare-musical-library-in-town/article4602417.ece

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