Paolo Pacciolla

Cosmogonie musicali: Rappresentazioni dell'universo nella musica indiana

The distinction between mārga (mārga samgīta) and deśī (deśī samgīta) music is a constant of Indian treatises on music. Mārga from the root mārg, to hunt, to follow the traces, means ' path'; deśī derives from diś, to indicate, it means 'local'. Therefore, mārga samgīta is the music that constitutes the ' path', deśī samgīta is music of 'local' character. This distinction brings immediately to the mind the opposition between classical or aristocratic arts , and primitive or popular arts, but has much more to do with the function of music than with aesthetical factors. The binomial can be reduced, in a more appropriate way, to the dichotomy profane / sacred-art. The 'path' to which refers the term mārga is that one of an inner way of sacred or spiritual knowledge, that connotes also other spiritual paths like yoga mārga, jnana mārga, bhakti mārga. For this reasons mārga samgīta it is considered vimuktida. As every 'path' also this one is constructed around a vision of the universe, and this is expressed theoretically in the treatises and practically through the forms and the structures on which music develops. Following the criteria of Indian musicology and the point of view of the living tradition of the musicians, the lecture proposes to bring to light some images of the universe veiled in the structures of mārga music, with particular reference to the music of Hindustan.