Veda Recitation in Varanasi

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Varanasi has for centuries attracted outstanding Vedic reciters and chanters from almost every corner of India; yet a thorough and systematic description of the principal types of recitation found in the city has not, until now, appeared in print. With an introduction on Varanasi’s Vedic history, this book contains extensive sections on Sakala Rgveda as transmitted by Pandits with ties to Maharastra, the abstruse and indigenous Madhyandina Yajurveda as performed by Brahmans from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and Kauthuma Samavada as preserved by families of immigrants from Gujarat and their pupils. Reference is made also to Kanva Yajurveda of Maharastrian origin, Taittiriya Yajurveda from Tamilnadu and Saunaka Atharvaveda as rejuvenated and sustained by the Maharastrians and Gujaratis. The book gives a full account of Samhita, pada, the various vikrtis, and gana. Tape recordings made on location in VaranasI have enabled the author to supply musical transcriptions of the various recitation modes, which are complemented by complete texts and translations. Comprehensive analyses of the transcriptions refute the long-held notion that Veda recitation from North and Central India lacks "authenticity". To the contrary, the complicated, yet logical, structures of the recitations and chants establish definite links to ancient India. The book contains photographs of leading Vedic pandits and an Index of over seven hundred terms and names.


Wayne Howard (b. 1942) is a native of Winona, Mississippi, in the United States. He holds a B.M. (piano) and B.A. (mathematics) from Belhaven College and an M.M. and a Ph.D. (musicology) from Indiana University. Initial research for this book was carried out during 1970-71, when he was a Fullbright Scholar assigned to Banaras Hindu University.


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Bibliographic information

Veda Recitation in Varanasi
x+400 pp, illus, Biblio, Index, Notes,