Lolita Mayadas on Indian Music

[50 years ago, The Listener 1968 publication featured a fascinating article by N. A. Jairazbhoy on “The Music of the Mughal Courts.” About the same time Lolita Mayadas, who was then the Principal of the Calcutta School of Music, was invited by All-India Radio to record a spoken piece on Classical Indian Music that was well-reviewed by the public media for its informative and succinct content, especially for listeners who were not necessarily part of the cognoscenti. I’ve therefore gone back into my electronic archives and am happy to share at the bottom of this post the contents of Lolita’s dulcet-toned delivery plucked from the air for today’s music-loving public.]

For the record, Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy (b. October 31, 1928 d. June 20, 2009) – although born in England to Indian parents – was educated in India. He went on to become a professor of folk and classical music of South Asia at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the founding chair of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology. He was appointed professor of music at UCLA in 1976, and retired in 1994. He was president of the Society for Ethnomusicology.


Lolita Mayadas
Principal, Calcutta School of Music (1965-75)

Listen now on YouTube to her narration of Introduction to the Music of IndiaIts Origin accompanied by Vocal Examples (18 minutes) – hotlinked here at

For further elucidation, you’re welcome to bear in mind the following basics of Indian Classical Music that Lolita and I  presented to the Winter Music Appreciation Classes on January 12, 2010 at the Southeast Senior Center for Independent Living (SESCIL) in Englewood, New Jersey.

The Basics of Indian Classical Music
The Swara-s and the Saptak
– Description of the Notes and Scales – the seven main notes
– Comparison with the solfege in Western Music


 [This scale is analogous to the Western major scale below]

 C major:

C   D   E   F   G   A   B   C
Solfege: Do   Re   Mi   Fa   Sol   La   Si   Do  

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