Great start: Hyderabad to get its first music library

The Saptaparni Cultural Centre has an ambitious plan

We have libraries for books and videos. And now, Hyderabad will soon have its very own music archive — with more than 1,000 hours of Carnatic music to start off with — streaming for free and open to all.

The oldest recordings are of performances and tapes from 1948. The idea first came up back in 2013 when Anuradha Prasad, founder of the Saptaparni Cultural Centre, thought of archiving music events that took place at the venue.

“So, renowned musician Palagummi Viswanatham had a lot of books, music and information about music... he had passed them on to us. We simultaneously also recorded the events that were taking place at our venue,” says Anuradha. But the move to expand this library and to include more hours of music was conceived much later, in 2015.

“TAG Digital Archives associated with us in 2015. They have a very user-friendly software and the data solutions that they bring are fantastic! While they will provide us with the 1,000 hours of Carnatic music, we will be sharing with them our music, i.e. events that we plan to cover and record,” she adds.

The TAG Digital Archives are based out of Chennai, part of the city’s Music Academy. The Academy itself has over 10,000 hours worth of priceless recordings.

And some parts of the digitized archive were actually donations — about eight thousand hours! And thanks to the archive here in Hyderabad, which will be launched on January 10, those interested in Carnatic music can now listen to as many artistes and their renditions as they want.

“This will also be the first public archive in the city. Most music colleges do have archives, but they are not easily accessible by the public and that is a problem,” says Anuradha.

R.T. Chari, who is part of the TAG Archives organisation says, “It’s going to be a humble start. We will begin with 1,000 hours of music, but the people at Saptaparni will be taught to convert, edit and index their recordings and include it in the archive. We will match every 500 hours of their music, with our music. So by the end of five years our aim is to have at least 10,000 hours of music.”

As of now the archive will have only Carnatic music, but they plan to expand soon.

“We plan to add Hindustani classical music and Telugu light classical music as well. Apart from that, we will also collect music recordings from various performances that take place in the sabhas around the city. The number of listeners in the city are plenty and we hope that we can contribute to their knowledge.”.

The need to digitise

As the world continues to adopt computers, there’s a real need to effectively digitise humanity’s history and its cultural contributions. The music we have managed to create is top on that archiving agenda. Some of the most famous songs ever are now either rotting away in cassettes or are not available on itunes. A digital archive, solves those problems and makes sure a track from the 50s is still available, 50 years from now.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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